From Carmel to the Persian Gulf: the mission of the Indian sisters

by sr. Rose Celine

The testimony of the nun who introduced the meeting with Pope Francis in Manama: “We are committed to the ministry of prisons, we visit hospitals, the sick and families in need. And in a world that is changing by leaps and bounds around us, we educate young people from migrant families to follow Jesus ”.

Manama (AsiaNews) – Together with the contribution offered to dialogue between religions, the trip that Pope Francis made in recent days in Bahrain was a precious opportunity to learn about the vitality of the Catholic communities that bring together migrants in the countries of the Persian Gulf. In this regard, we propose below the testimony given before the pontiff on Sunday in Manama during the meeting with priests, religious and pastoral workers by an Indian nun, sr. Rose Celine. In the text you recount the experience in Bahrain of the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, an active congregation founded in India in 1870 by bringing together the Carmelite charism with the mission of teaching. Since 1969 the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel have been present among Catholic migrants in Kuwait. And since 2003 they have also carried out their ministry in Bahrain with the School of the Sacred Heart and support for the pastoral activities of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.

I am Sister Rose Celine, I would like to offer a summary of our life and our mission. The Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel, the first of the Carmelites to be an active missionary Congregation, were pioneers in the education of girls and in the formation to the faith. We began our missionary journey in the Kingdom of Bahrain on January 3, 2003, after our foundation in Kuwait. Bahrain, known as the “land of smiles”, welcomed us warmly.

The compassionate and merciful love of the Father impels us to commit ourselves to the service of our people. We are witnesses of the abundance of God’s mercy that warms the heart and rekindles hope in the lives of many. We are committed to the ministry of prisons. In particular, we spend time with the inmates, sharing the Word of God, counseling and praying with them.

Our presence here is a unique sign of the fact that God gathers us wherever we are and leads us in new and unknown ways towards our goal, lived under the motto “Only God is enough”. We sisters are involved in the different groups of the Church, one of which is the Legion of Mary. The weekly meetings offer us a great opportunity to grow in our spirituality through prayer and communion. Together with the Legionaries, we visit hospitals, the sick and families in need.

We see that the world around us is changing by leaps and bounds. This rapid change is raising new challenges, and much of what was familiar to us is entering more ambiguous terrain. However, we respond creatively to the needs of this time, bringing us change, hope and transformation both inside and outside our community.

To help young people today we are engaged in the catechetical ministry, helping students in their formation in the faith, so that they may be able to respond to the rapid changes that surround them and face the new challenges that arise. We offer them opportunities by organizing quizzes, talent shows and various other activities to improve their leadership, communication and creative thinking skills. Every year we prepare students and adults to receive the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation.

Our Foundress, the venerable Mother Veronica, left us a legacy that springs from her experience of God as her All. Following in his footsteps, we Sisters promote among the members of Fiori del Carmelo (an association of lay people for our students) a deeper faith and the following of Jesus. We teach and share the charism of Apostolic Carmel through various activities and moments of meeting, educating young people to live and transform the world with human values, of truth, justice, love, peace and excellence.

In addition to all these activities with the different national communities, we participate in the meetings of the Parish Council and all the events of the Church. During the pandemic, we helped priests to continue celebrating the Eucharist in different languages.

Our Mother, Queen and beauty of Carmel, is our model and encourages us to put ourselves at the service of the Church and her people. As far as possible, let us radiate the joy of the gospel in and around us.

(with the collaboration of Nirmala Carvalho)

Photo: VaticanNews

From Carmel to the Persian Gulf: the mission of the Indian sisters