The Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany, Mangalore, commonly known as ‘Bethany Sisters’ celebrated the opening of the Centenary Year of its foundation on 11 July 2020 at Bethany Mother House Chapel with a thanksgiving Eucharist officiated by Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore Diocese. It was concelebrated by Rev Fr Vincent Monteiro, the Parish Priest, Bendur the parish in which the Bethany Congregation was founded and Rev Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ, Rector of St Aloysius Institutions.

Sr Rose Celine BS, the Superior General carried the Jubilee candle symbolizing 100 years of life and mission of Bethany and a hundred lamps by five Sisters to the Altar of God. Sr Lillis, the Asst Superior General in her introduction reminisced that the Congregation was founded at St Sebastian Church, Bendur, Mangalore on 16 July 1921 by Servant of God Msgr Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas under the patronage of Mary with four pioneers Mother Martha, Sr Clare, Sr Lourdes and Sr Gertrude who were teachers. She invited the assembly to thank the Lord who showed His approbation for the indigenous Congregation by bringing numerous vocations and presently blessing it with 1381 sisters, serving in 61 diocese in India and abroad.

The Bishop in his homily underscored the holy life led by Servant of God Msgr RFC Mascarenhas, the Founder of Bethany Congregation and the Bethany Educational Society ® who being a priest of the Diocese of Mangalore, founded the Congregation to respond to the needs of the times to educate the rural poor and empower women. He appreciated the Sisters for being the Crown and Joy of Bethany bearing abundant fruit in 187 communities spread over 9 countries through their consecrated life and apostolic service.

After the Holy Eucharist, Sr Rose Celine BS the Superior General voiced the song of Magnificat for the faithfulness of the Lord over 99 years for nurturing the sapling of Bethany planted by the Servant of God RFC Mascarenhas, tended by the flowing waters of grace and fortified by trials and tribulations. She prayed that the Founder a far sighted visionary, zealous missionary, compassionate pastor, an ardent lover of the poor and courageous prophet of our times be raised to the honours of the altar.

She paid her respects to the spirit filled valiant women pioneers for their faith surrender and missionary zeal. She expressed her gratitude to the visionary leaders of the Congregation who kept the Charism and Spirit alive as per the signs of the times, the senior sisters for their unmatched dedication in the service of God and the younger sisters for their vitality and vibrancy. She recounted the goodness of all the ecclesiastical authorities, religious and lay collaborators, benefactors, well-wishers and families of the sisters.

Sr Rose Celine recalled the various projects undertaken in preparation for the Centenary:

  • Decadal preparation made prior to Centenary by way of spiritual rejuvenation;
  • Starting of Perpetual Adoration in 2018 in response to the Last Will and Testament of our Fr Founder
  • Housing project in progress for 100 poor families across the country
  • Preparing 1000 youth for Christian leadership as Bethany Champions
  • Launching into frontier ministry of combating human trafficking and unsafe migration; reaching out to COVID – 19 pandemic victims
  • Promoting alternative system of medicine

Seeking God’s blessings she solemnly declared the Centenary year open and launched the Centenary Logo in the presence of Bishop of Mangalore Diocese Fr Vincent Monteiro, Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ, Sr Lillis, Sr Shanthi Priya, Sr Mariette and Sr Lillita the General Councillors, Sr Jyoti the former Superior General, Sr Cicilia Mendonca the Provincial Superior of Mangalore Province, Sr Cleopha, the Administrator and selected representatives of the provinces of Bethany Congregation.

The centenary logo was well explained by Sr Philomene Saldanha and Sr Reena Juliet. After the unveiling of the Logo, the choir presented a melodious centenary symphony. Sr Christine, the Procurator General handed over the key to one of the families to mark the special housing project of the Centenary.

Most Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha wished the Bethany sisters on this great occasion and recognized the contribution of Bethany to the society and the Church as its effective apostolic arm. Sr Mariette, the General Councillor proposed the vote of thanks and Sr Lourdes anchored the programme. 

Sr Lourdes BS
Bethany Mother House

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