Call is an invitation from the Lord. It enables the enthusiastic youth coming forward, leaving once own kith and kin, land and language, culture and customs to respond to the divine invitation. It is a process of, ‘transformation’ growing into the likeness of Jesus and an on-going dynamic process.

A Driving Force -  Sr. Victorine Maliekal, Guntur, A.P. India
My yes to the Lord as an young adult . . .

 

I was born on February 16th, 1937 at Meladoor in Trichur district to devout Catholic parents Thomas and Mariam. Many priests and very many religious have come from this village of Meladoor to the service of the Church. Fondly called as Annie, I was the 9th of 10 children- two boys and eight girls. Two of my elder Sisters joined the Clarist Congregation in Kerala and two of them in JMJ Congregation.

Inspiration to join religious life:

When I was nine years old, I had an attack of typhoid fever and was hospitalized for a couple of weeks. Two C.M.C Sisters used to work in this ward. They used to treat me with great love and affection. Later on I understood those Sisters were bringing Florence Nightingales Light, and healing touch to the broken people, and used to embalm their broken hearts, while bandaging their broken body. As a small girl, I was very much inspired by these Sister Nurses.

A thought flashed in to my small mind… “To become a Sister Nurse” – Tiny seed was put in my heart. When I was studying 10th class, had a retreat in our school directed by a C.M.I father who spoke about the religious vocation to the students.

The points which impressed me were:

- If he and she can become a missionary why not I?

If you get married you might become the mother of 8 or 10 children; whereas if you become a religious sister teacher or a nurse you can become the mother of hundreds and thousands of children. These points impressed me very much.

Besides my own four religious sisters particularly Sr. Vincent and Sr. Martin who were already in nursing profession were a great inspiration and a magnetic attraction for me to join the religious life.

Joined the Society of JMJ:

After much prayer and discernment, I revealed my desire to my parents to join the Society of J.M.J. My parents said to me that out of our eight daughters we have given four of them to the Lord and that is enough. But I was sure that my parents will not make me sad! After much prayers and repeated requests, finally my parents gave a green signal.

On 24 th June 1958, I entered the JMJ Society. After two years of Novitiate in Bangalore I made my first vows with the name Sr. Victorine on 29 th January 1961 and came to St. Joseph's convent, Guntur. I was asked to go for General Nursing training which was my long cherished dream and thus became a nurse in its full sense. I made my final vows on 29 th January, 1966. I rendered my service in St. Joseph's General Hospital till 1969.

Mission in the vineyard of the Lord:

I rendered my fruitful service in the apostolate of Health Care in Raigarh- North India, Karuna Nivas Convent, Bhilai for many years. I took care of two leprosy colonies and self help projects. This was the most thrilling experiences in my life. I started with various income generating projects like candle making, basket making etc. for lepers which helped the livelihood of 300 lepers families to rise to the zenith of light and joy and bid good-bye to their traditional profession of begging.

Self fulfillment:

When I look back to my track record of 50 years, I am very much pleased…..because I had the wonderful opportunity to be of service to the sick and suffering. Well, much water has flowed out under the bridge during the past 50 years of my existence in the Society.

Now at the evening of my contented life of 70 years, I feel that “Eternity will not be long enough to “Thank” the good Lord for the gift of my religious vocation and for having answered blindly His call to follow Him more closely in the Society of JMJ.

"Life is worth living I only know how to live it"
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