Sr M Ordilia BS

Members of the Community

Convent building

Student Candidates with the directresses

Youth ministry

Literacy class for the slum children

Skill training-tailoring

Silchar is a small town in the Cachar District of Assam. It is an important commercial centre. In 1957, the Holy Cross Parish was founded by the Holy Cross Fathers.  At the same time a residential Khasi medium school was started by Fr John Martin csc for the Khasi children. Realizing that English was necessary for higher Education, the medium of instruction was changed to English in 1966. The Holy Cross Fathers realized that they needed the assistance of Religious women to run the school. Hence Msgr George Breen csc, Prefect Apostolic of Halfflong Prefecture, requested the then Superior General Mother Macrina asking the services of Bethany Sisters in the new mission at Silchar. In response, three Sisters, Sr Sylvine, Sr Hariette and Sr Audrey were sent there to start a second house in the North East. The sisters arrived on 26 June 1966 and were given accommodation in the Church campus as the convent was not ready.  By 20 November 1969 the ground floor of the new convent was blessed and inaugurated by Mgr Breen. Gradually a double storied structure was constructed by the Congregation. In the latter years this became the Provincial House.

As decided at the time of the Sisters’ arrival, the sisters assisted in the English medium section. Sensing the imminent departure of the foreign clergy and due to the uncertainty of the availability of the right kind of personnel, it was decided to hand over the management of Silchar Holy Cross School which was up to class VI, to the Bethany Sisters in 1970. Sr Sylvine was appointed principal. She served from 1970 to 1972 and from 1973 to 1980. Other Principals included Sr Evangeline, Sr Ida, Sr Jyoti, Sr Rose Celine, Sr Canisia, Sr Edleburgh, Sr Febronia, Sr Saritha, Sr Chrisette and Sr Caron. The School was upgraded in the subsequent years and in 2008 it was upgraded to Higher Secondary.

In the year 1969, the diocese of Silchar was erected. Most Rev. Denzil D’Souza was appointed the first bishop.
The Holy Cross Girls Hostel was started for the Khasi girls from the interior villages studying in the Holy Cross School, Silchar. Right now there are 86 girls. Besides teaching in the school, all the sisters were engaged in the mission in Khasi villages. They would go with fathers, catechizing, and giving health and hygiene classes, attending to the sick and preparing the people to receive Sacraments. In the late 1980s sisters started visiting the slums. Gradually the slum work took some shape and literacy classes were conducted in four places. The slum apostolate got well organized since the 1990s. It continues to function even today. Right now there are 6 Bethany promotional schools in these slum areas.

Realizing the need of empowering women and girls through skill training, a tailoring and embroidery unit was started in 1990 at Rangirkhari and later it was brought to Holy Family Convent campus and named ‘JAGRITI’. In recent years it is again shifted to one of the slums, making it convenient for the women to attend these tailoring classes. The supervision is done by the Sisters.

Ministering to the prisoners was always a passion for the Bethany sisters.  They visit the prison and conduct programmes for the inmates. Sr Isabella was also conducting skill development classes for women.  Holy Family Convent, Silchar always had a nurse sister who besides giving health and hygiene education, took great pain to make medical care available to the less privileged. Holy Family Convent, served as a transit house not only for Bethany sisters but also to the religious from other congregations.

As Silchar is central to Tripura and Mizoram, Holy Family Convent was chosen as the Provincial house. It remained so till 1999 when the Provincialate was shifted to Guwahati.
The successive superiors after Mother Sylvine were Sr Evengeline, Sr Joy, Sr Jyoti Sr Justina, Sr Shareena Sr Hedwige  Sr Febronia, Sr Sabina D’Souza, Sr Saritha, Sr Shwetha, Sr Chrisette, and Sr Ordilia. At present the sisters are perpetuating the cause for which this mission was started.  13 candidates are pursuing their class XI and XII at the Holy Cross Higher Secondary School.

Year of  establishment: 11.06.1966


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