Sr Maria Jyothi’s Dream Project ‘Veronica Vihar’- A Home For Differently-Abled Adults Launched
- Sr Maria Jyothi’s (Apostolic Carmel Nun) Dream Project ‘Veronica Vihar’- a home for Differently-Abled Launched at Infant Jesus School Grounds, Mary hill on 22 April 2019 at 9.30 am.
Mangaluru: Quoting Mathew 19:14 from the Bible- “Let the little children come to me, for their’s is the Kingdom of Heaven”- You can call her the saviour of the differently-abled children and adults, having started the FIRST Institution for the special children in Dakshina Kannada, named St Agnes Special School, Bendore-Mangaluru in 1970.. Cardinal Newman had said, “Lead Kindly Light”- and this line is arguably creditable to Sr. Maria Jyothi AC, who by her actions explains the name, which is so rightly given to her. “Jyothi” means “Light, and “Maria” is taken from the name “Mary”, the mother of Christ. A person with a spirit of patience, understanding, perseverance and above all a personality that spreads love in the entire community, and also with her beaming smile Sr Maria Jyothi AC has won the hearts of many people. In fact, the thing that appeals most of us about Her is her soft voice and to complement that, her warm and compassionate smile on her face.
A very simple lady with a gentle poise, pleasant, yet persuasive, with humility as her strongest weapon, Sr Maria Jyothi AC possesses an overwhelming sense of concern for the people around her. As a great pillar and backbone of St Agnes special school, she has spent most of her time caring and nurturing the special children, with Christ as her constant guide. She is a part of an intricate plan, a precious and perfect unique design, called Gods special woman. She is loved by one, loved by all, loved by small, big, thin and tall; a savior to the poor, the sick, and the needy. The rich look up to her for her modesty. She is indeed, a woman of substance, with love for her neighbor so immense.
Having given immense service at St Agnes Special School, and retiring from the helm of affairs at the school as its Head, she was transferred to Vijayamari Convent/Mary Hill, Mangaluru, where she rendered part-time services at the Vijayamari Technical Institute. But she had one more project in her mind, a yet another dream project of hers to be completed, to serve the Differently-abled, and give them a Home Away From Home, with better facilities- and this dream project was ‘ VERONICA VIHAR’- a residence for the Differently-Abled Adults. And Her Dream Project came True when it was inaugurated today, Monday, 22 April 2019 at the Infant Jesus School Grounds, Mary Hill, Mangaluru.
Yes, the special Children/adults are also a blessing, and not a curse, and for that matter, the Apostolic Carmel Sisters have shown their love and respect to these special children/adults ever since they started the St Agnes Special School in 1970, in educating the mentally challenged Children. With the Motto “In Love We Grow”, the AC Nuns have drawn out the children with special needs from cold isolation into a warm atmosphere of love and understanding and provided them with the training necessary for their integral growth and development. They equip these “Special Ones” with skills for daily functional and value-based living and help them “Earn While You Learn”.
They have created an awareness in society, that the differently-abled children are a blessing and not a curse, and that they deserve the same rights, opportunities and happiness as anyone else. Then arose an anxious and distressing thought- “After we are gone, who will look after our Children”? that would haunt the parents of these special children. True to their calling, the AC Sisters decided to open a residential care centre at the Vijayamari Convent for the differently-abled adults, where the inmates were taken good care of with love and concern. Since the present Care centre was small, they decided to open a 30-bed facility, so that more can avail of the tender loving care offered by the AC nuns and their able staff, and live a life of dignity till the end.
Thus the “VERONICA VIHAR”- a Home Away From Home for the Differently-abled adults was born on 22 April 2019, which will accommodate nearly 30 plus inmates, with 24-hour staff supervision to attend to their personal needs, emergencies, exercise programmes, nutritious meals, medication management, laundry, assistance with mobility, and social and recreational activities of the inmates. All this, the differently-abled adults will find in a serene and loving environment called “VERONICA VIHAR”, a nearly Rs 3 crore project, which was launched today.
The building was inaugurated by cutting the ribbon by Sr M Carmel Rita AC- the Provincial Superior of Apostolic Carmel Congregation, joined by Chief guest Michael D’souza- NRI Philanthropist, Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza- Bishop Emeritus-Mangaluru; Dr Santhosh Kumar Shastry – Past Lion District Governor; Sr Maria Jyothi AC; and Master Manju, a differently-abled youth. The inaugural ceremony of the ‘Veronica Vihar” began with a prayer song, followed by prayer service led by Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza- Bishop Emeritus, Mangaluru diocese, joined by Fr Valerian D’Souza- Former Parish Priest of Moodubelle Church, and later, both the Bishop and Fr D’Souza blessed the building premises with Holy Water. The welcome address was delivered by Sr Carmel Rita AC.
In his address to the audience, Michael D’Souza said, “We need to treat and respect the differently-abled persons equally without any discrimination because they are also the children of God. We need to commend Sr Maria Jyothi AC for all her efforts in creating this unique and wonderful place for the special folks- her dreams have materialized with this dream project. Her initiative of starting the first school for the special children has gained name and fame, and many have followed in her footsteps and have started such institutions for the special children. Sr Maria Jyothi’s dedication ad benchmark has influenced many others. But in order to run such institutions finance is important- therefore my humble request to those having little extra wealth to share it with these needy special folks. Any contribution, big or small will make a difference in the lives of these special ones”.
Bishop Emeritus Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’souza in his speech said, “Veronica Vihar is no doubt a gift from God to Mangaluru society and the Special ones. The Apostolic Carmel Sisters who have been in the forefront in education, have also been doing yeomen community service to the needy and special folks. Their contribution to society needs to be appreciated and they need to be encouraged through our generosity. This Vihar needs support and goodwill, therefore be kind enough to share part of your wealth by donating to this project, so that the Sisters could take good care of the inmates with love and concern. May God bless this Home and protect everyone who dwells within it”.
Dr Santhosh Kumar Shastry speaking complimented the great efforts put in by Sr Maria Jyothi AC, and other AC Sisters in building this spacious residence for the differently-abled adults. “There are people in the world who see a problem and walk in the other direction, and then there are people who stare the problem in the face, ask God for guidance, and obediently respond to the often long and tough, but amazing road ahead. The Apostolic Carmel Congregation belong to the latter. We the citizens should lend our helping hand to these Sisters in their projects which are serving the needy and differently-abled ones. Let’s support these sisters to make a difference in special peoples’ lives”.
Mementos/gifts of appreciation were handed over to the Architect/Engineer Christopher Noronha, and the contractors/laborers. The vote of thanks was proposed by Ms Jane Jacob, a resident of Veronica Vihar, and Ms Vidya Shenoy, the Secretary for this Project compered the programme. A large number of benefactors, AC nuns and well-wishers attended the celebration.