The Centenary Convention consisting of 117 blossoms of Bethany Congregation came to Bethany Mother House, Bendur,  to be renewed by Jesus under the mantle of Queen and Mother of Bethany, bearing the banner of Consecrating youthful hearts to Jesus. The inaugural lamp for a five days’ convention was lit by Rev Fr Maxim Noronha, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangalore, on 29th December 2019 at Bethany Mother House Chapel, Bendur. In his homily, Fr Maxim Noronha said, “Following Jesus needs a total dedication without condition.” He further added  that we need to encounter the God of life every day of our life. ‘Because of the young religious’ he said that the Church has a future and that the young religious are the future of the Church. Around 250 Sisters including the 117 Junior sisters from 7 Provinces, 37 volunteers, and Tertians attended the Inaugural Mass and the function.

Sr Rose Celine, the Superior General, launched the convention by unveiling the logo with the theme: ‘Consecrating Youthful Hearts to Jesus’. Sr Lillis, the Asst. Superior General and the Convener of the Convention, welcomed the participants and guests. Sr Rose Celine, in her presidential address congratulated 117 Junior sisters of Bethany for dedicating their lives for the cause of the reign of God. She invited them to learn much from being together during the Convention. Speaking on the occasion she invited them to dedicate their gifts, talents, energies, body, mind and soul to God. The greatest gift, she said, that God has given is, the Religious Vocation. She called upon them to discover the deeper meaning of Consecration and to assimilate the way the Charism and Spirituality lived in the Congregation. Above all, she emphasised the need to let their  love for JESUS the beloved grow. Sr Sahana, the MC of the day, invited the junior sisters of the Mother House Community to welcome the guests through an action song. The Junior Sisters of Northeast Province presented the Centenary Theme song with their melodious voices.

The first day began with Mass celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Aloysius Paul D’Souza followed by prayerand worship organized by the Bread of Life Prayer Ministry group led by Bro Dunn, and the team consisting of Brothers Sunny, Jude, Srinivasand Kevin. The Junior Sisters were  rejuvenated, reformed, reconnected, renewed and recommitted to the Lord through the worship, their testimony, devotion, adoration and healing session.

The Second  day: The Eucharistic celebration was held at St. Sebastian Church, Bendur. Fr Vincent Monteiro, the Parish Priest, officiated at the Eucharist. The day was devoted to joyful living of our Consecrated life.  FrAlvito OCD called upon the Junior Sisters to make Jesus, the Word of God, the centre of their life. Sr M Shalet D’Souza BS (MP) spoke on Evangelical Poverty, Sr M Priya Rose BS (SP) enlivened our Consecrated Chastity and Sr M Sahana BS (BP) reaffirmed the spirit of Redemptive Obedience. Thereafter, we got into a reflective and soul searching group discussion conducted by Sr M Surekha BS, and moderated by Sr M ShanthiPriya, the General Councillor. We are indebted to our Sisters, the resource persons of the day, for their expertise and experiences that made us renewed of our consecrated once again.  Sr Dymphna BS (MP)

The third day was dedicated to Building Cultural Communities. Fr Peter Mascarenhas was the resource person who invited all of us to appreciate and celebrate our community life with diverse cultures. The afternoon was a day set aside for a pilgrimage – visit to St Sebastian Church, Bendur, Great Carmel, Kankandy, St Joseph’s Seminary, Jeppu, Milagres Church, St Aloysius College Chapel, Cathedral, and Tannirbhavi Shrine. “We felt blessed by our Fr Founder as we walked in the places where he walked… Thanks to our Junior Directress and all the volunteers for accompanying ussays,” Sr Swati BS (MP)
The Fourth day was an awesome day with our beloved Founder, made it possible for us by Sr M Mariette BS, the General Councillor, who made the participants feel at home with the beloved Founder. The Junior Sisters were reconnected to the Founder and his vision by giving the 10 commandments as the message of Fr Founder to the younger members of Bethany.  “The input session made me feel I ‘m very much dear to our Fr Founder and he is dear to me and I am convinced of his intercession always.” said Sr Clarita BS (BP).

Sr Rose Celine, our Superior General, enlightened the participants of the Convention to Affective Maturity. She invited them once again for an in-depth search, to be in touch with their feelings, emotions and called upon the juniors to uphold the values of Christ, their Eternal Spouse.

Charism in action was presented by each province from 2-30 pm to 5.00 pm. Sr Rose Celine our Superior General, Sr Lillis the Convener of the Convention and all the General Councillors graced the occasion. We had our sisters above 75 as the special guests of the day. And the session was moderated by Sr Lilitta BS, the General Councillor. “We remembered our Fr Founder and his dream for Bethany. We did remember all the sisters who toiled hard to bring up Bethany in their younger days. I am encouraged to live my life in Bethany.” voiced Sr Angelina Pao BS (NEP). The day came to and end with recitation of the Rosary as we walked in procession from the Mother House Chapel to the Bethany Heritage Park and to the Founder’s Cottage Park.

The Fifth day was a day of continual canticle of praise and thanksgiving. Rev. Fr Pius James D’Souza OCD, the Episcopal Vicar for Religious in the Diocese of Mangalore, was the main celebrant of the Eucharistic celebration. Like the 10 Virgins, our young maidens with their lamps lit in their hands marched towards the altar to renew their Consecration. I am sure the top most feelings in their hearts were one of the disciples of Emmaus: “Weren’t our hearts burning within us while Jesus was talking to us?”  Thereafter Sr Eula (RoshniNilaya) enlightened our young blossoms on the Theology of the body according to the Document of John Paul II.  Sr Ruth Mao BS (NEP) drew their attention to the God of mission and called on our young blossoms to be a Bethany Missionary. Sr Edleburgh, Sr Mary Diki (NEP) and Sr Daisy Mani (SP) were in charge of the debate on Social Media: A blessing to young Religious to pursue one’s goal conducted intra- province wise, was moderated by Fr Richard, the Director of Canara Communication Centre, Mangalore.  This debate offered a platform to express their views and learn how to be safe in the use of social media.

The Valedictory Function was anchored by Sr Edleburgh and Sr Elizabeth Ucchoi BS (NEP) at 8.30 pm. Rev Sr Rose Celine, the Superior General, along with her Councillors and Sr Joy, the Provincial Superior of NE Province, graced the occasion. While the juniors of Southern Province led the group into the presence of God with their beautiful steps, it was the juniors of North East Province who added colour to the programme with their diverse cultural rhythm. Five juniors representing the provinces of MP, BP, NP, WP, and EP shared their experiences of the Convention and appreciated the major superiors for such an historic event. Sr Lillis, the Asst. Superior General and the Convener of the convention, thanked all those who made the convention a success. Sr Rose Celine appreciated and thanked everyone for the success of such an event.  Finally the junior sisters with lighted lamps pledged to be more rooted and committed to Christ and His mission. The valedictory function and the convention ended with the Superior General greeting all the  Volunteers and the Junior Sisters individually with a Face of Jesus and a rosary each/ thus the historic event came to its close at 10.30 pm.

May this Historic event help us all especially our junior sisters, to live a radical witnessing life after the example of Jesus the Eternal Spouse. May their life be a continual canticle of praise.

Let Bethany Grow.
Let Bethany Flower.
Let Bethany bear fruit.

Compiled by Sr Surekha BS (NEP)












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