July 16, 2021 is a red lettered day in the annals of the history of Bethany. We inaugurated the Pre-centenary decade of the Congregation enthusiastically with the theme, ‘Open Wide the Door; Let Him Enter Now’ on July 16, 2011.

The event that preceded the centenary was the Symposium on our beloved Founder conducted by Sr Mariette BS, the General Councillor and the Secretary of BES online on the 6th July 2021.Rev. Fr JB Saldanha spoke on RFC as the Compassionate Pastor; Sr Lillis articulated RFC as the Founder and Mr Stephen Quadros highlighted RFC as an educationist.




















Other key events in preparation of the Centenary were a) Housing Project-constructing 100 plus houses for the deserving poor across the country. b) Preparing 1000 Christian leaders as Bethany Champions. C) The unforeseen COVID–19 pandemic stretched Bethany’s ministries to cater to the migrants, homeless, jobless and etal.

The immediate spiritual preparation was a nine day novena conducted by each community.The proximate preparation was the triduum in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord. The North, South and Silchar provinces took the lead to reflect on the spirituality of the Annunciation, St Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus and the Bethany Spirituality respectively.

On 15th July we had a thanksgiving Eucharist celebrated online by his eminence Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai archdiocese and the president of the conference of the Bishops of India, participated by the sisters all over.

The homily he preached had a message on the Gospel passage of Jesus coming to Bethany. Bethany was a home where there was peace and unity, where Jesus experienced love.Our founder gave the name ‘Bethany’ and tried to make the members of the Congregation instruments to recreate the atmosphere of Bethany not only in the convent but also in their apostolic fields.

On 16th July 2021, feast of Mount Carmel, the Centennial celebration commenced at 9.30 am. Most Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, the Bishop of Mangalore was the main celebrant. Rev. Fr Vincent Monteiro the parish priest of Bendur, Rev Fr Paul Melwyn D’ Souza, OFM Cap, Vicar for Religious and Rev. Fr Praveen Martis SJ, Principal, St Aloysius College representing the Aloysius Community concelebrated at the Eucharist. Sr Shanthi Priya the General Councillor welcomed the gathering.

Breaking the Word of God, the Bishop said that Martin Luther King the great champion of the human rights had a dream to unite the children of the white and the children of the black. God has a dream.In order to realize this dream God draws simple fragile human beings into his plan.
Our Founder Servant of God Fr Raymond Francis Camillus Mascarenhas as a parish priest of Bendur was drawn into the plan of God. He perceived that he has received a call within a call to be the Founder of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany. And he laid it at the foot of our Lady of Mount of Carmel. Suffering and persecution is a part of the project of God. Bethany’s story is studded with so many gems or kisses of suffering.

At the end of the Mass Sr Cleopha, the Administrator of Mother House read out the Papal blessing and that of the Nuncio. Sr Lillis the Assistant Superior General proposed vote of thanks and announced a short break before we commenced the stage programme in Msgr Raymond’s Memorial Hall.The documentary ‘On Wings of Love’, on the life of the Founder was relayed during the interval period.

The Cardinal’s felicitation message to Bethany Sisters was displayed.The highlights are: When Msgr RFC Mascarenhas was inspired to found this new religious Institute,he sensed the spurring of the Spirit in the hearts of not a few to dedicate themselves fully to the Lord and he offered them the possibility of dedicated discipleship in community. His prayerful wish was that God would continue to bless Bethany with many good vocations and that the sanctity of the Founder be recognised and he wouldsoon be raised to the honours of the altar.

Themelodious Centenary symphony was beautifully enacted with gentle steps by our junior sisters that set the tone to the joyous and meaningful celebration.Sr Mariette welcomed the gathering.Rev. Fr Paul Melwyn, OFM, Cap congratulated the Bethany Sisters for their spiritual leadership of 100 years.

Delivering the centenary message Rev. Sr Rose Celine reminisced gratefully the wonders God had done in the life of the Founder, the pioneers and the members of the congregation through the support of spiritual mentors, benefactors, collaborators and civil society for a century. She recognized the great support given by the bishops of Mangalore diocese, the mother Diocese of Bethany, beginning with Bishop Paul Perini, SJ and various other Bishops.

“And Now We All Know ... RFC and Bethany” a book authored by Mr James D’Souza, a close associate and admirer of the Founder was released by Fr Vincent Monteiro. The Centenary Souvenir was released by Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha.

Sr Medela, the second senior most member in the Congregation and Sr Lillis, the Postulator of the Cause of the Founder, who worked incessantly for 12 long years were honoured. The former Superiors General Sr Jyoti and Sr Wilberta were honoured by Rev Sr Rose Celine and Sr Rose Celine, the present Superior General was honoured by Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha.

Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha in his presidential speech applauded Sr Rose Celine and the Sisters for the achievement of Bethany’s 100 years.A Congregation which is united under one cause and one mission has been kept together by the Lord Himself by choosing Msgr RFC Mascarenhas as the Founder and certainly God’s grace has been at work.

The Bishop thanked the Sisters for what they have been in the diocese of Mangalore, in the other 63 dioceses or in the whole church and in the different continents. He wished that Bethany carries forward this mission in different newer ways in these challenging times and inspire many more.Sr Cecilia Mendonca, the provincial superior of Mangalore Province articulated the gratitude of Bethany to the dignitaries and to all present.
Let our post-centennial pledge and prayer be: Let Bethany continue to grow in number and merit, flower in virtues and sanctity and bear fruit in abundance for the extension of God’s kingdomin newer paths yet to tread on.

News by :Sr Hilarita BS,Bethany Mother House


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