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Women show the way forward for church

Two congregations in Patna have set a new example of the participative Church

The ritual of coming together as partners. The ritual of coming together as partners.
  • Malini Manjaly, Patna
  • India
  • February 23, 2011
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Two women congregations in Patna have set an example regarding the participatory nature of the Church through their joint efforts working in the health sector for the past 10 years.

The Medical Mission Sisters (MMS) and Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCN) jointly manage the Kurji Holy Family Hospital in Patna, capital of the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

The MMS sisters started the hospital in 1939.

The congregations celebrated the 10th anniversary of their partnership on February 21 at a ceremony atteneded by more than 90 women Religious, major superiors and Archbishop William D’Souza of Patna

The two congregations joined forces in 2000 and five years later became equal partners in the management and administration of the hospital.

“After Vatican II, the Church envisaged a participative Church around the world and you have realized it as partners in God’s mission,” said Archbishop D’Souza.

He said that such partnerships will help build communities.

The prelate said the hallmark of partnerships is to reach out, branch out, and to open services to all people.

MMS provincial Sister Irene Fernandez said “only women congregations can do this and live this paschal mystery.”

Former administrator of the hospital Sister Joan Matheikal called the partnership  a "first in the history of Indian Church.”

The 300-bed hospital has a day-care ward for poor patients. It also offers nursing and para-medical courses and has a community-care centre for HIV/AIDS patients.

The hospital has 530 employees and 191 students on several courses.

SCN provincial Sister Sangeeta Ayithamattam said, “we strive to be women who live our spirituality with a passion for possibilities.”

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