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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Greetings from India, 2

le nipotine di sr Anil
les nièces de sr Anil

Greetings from India, 2
Saturday, April 2
Today, twelve CMC’s nuns celebrate 25th anniversary of their Consecration, and ten more nuns their Golden Jubilee. The night before the sisters prepared a small show, complete with a band and many more entertainments! Beautiful dances, with beautiful traditional Indian music. The celebration of jubilees of religious profession is an important occasion to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of a positive answer to His call to the consecrated life. The bishop who did preside over the celebration was very friendly in his words. After a great lunch with the celebrating nuns and their families, we leave driving towards Cochin. We make a due stop at Thrissur where lived the first saint of their Congregation, Sister Euphrasia, who carried on a mystical life enriched by continuous prayers.
Sunday, April 3
A day dedicated to visit the families of the sisters who have lived and live in Central Africa. We meet very united families of great faith. Each family asks us to have together a moment of prayer in the room or in the larger living room where they keep the holy images. We begin with a visit to the Sister Vincent’s tomb which is at Karnukutty. She had been a few years in Central Africa: a woman of great wisdom and spirituality. Then we move on to Sr. Anil family where we meet three gorgeous children, then Sr. Paulsy and Sr.Payton families. In every home we are greeted with great warmth, and with a lot of food! In the afternoon we continue our visits beginning with Sr. Julitta family. Sr. Julitta left Central Africa few years ago. She is still the Sister we knew: simple person with a very calm attitude. We end our visitations going to a convent where we find Sister Divya, a veteran of Central Africa.
Monday, April 4
In the morning we go to Ernakulam, ancient center of Cochin, where we visit the cathedral and a beautiful church dedicated to St. George, one of the very important list of saints of Kerala, along with St. Joseph and St. Thomas. We go around for some shopping in stores which are a celebration for our eyes because of the dramatic colors! After lunch a quick visit to a factory for the production of rice and a plant for biogas production. Returning to Angamaly, we meet Fr. Jacob, who worked many years in Central Africa. After a visit to the Novitiate of Kalady, with him we leave a 4.00pm towards the mountains arriving around 7.30pm at the convent of Chiturapuram at an altitude of 1,500 meters, where we find a nice refreshing air.
Tuesday, April 5
Today we keep busy visiting this region, carpeted with the tea plantations. The hills offer beautiful views, with trees and green everywhere. There are also some dams, and we, lucky enough, can take a ride on the elephants! They swing a lot, and uphill they too ... go better downhill! Eventually we reward them with a cob of corn and a few pineapples of which, very intelligently they eat first the fruit and then the leaves that gently they take with their proboscis! In the evening we arrive at Aluva, the General House of the Sisters CMC: we receive an amazing welcome, and after a great dinner, we held a meeting with their Council to discuss the opening of a second House in Central Africa, at Carmel in Bangui.
Wednesday, April 6
After a very short night, we celebrate mass in the Syro-Malabar rite. It’s a very nice ceremony, with lots of songs. We of course don’t understand much, but I have to say that at least we could answer some “amen”. After the celebration we leave immediately: direction south, towards Changanassery. Here in a house donated by a local benefactor we meet the former Mother General, Sr. Santa.  After we have eaten something (we never miss food!), we go with them on a boat on the lake Vambanat, a large one where the blue of the water get lost with that of heaven, in a beautiful frame of coconut palms. Then we leave for lunch at the provincial House of Changanassery, where we meet Sr. Vandana parents.  We return to Angamaly where we stop in order to buy fabrics for the liturgical vestments of our altar boys in Bozoum. After dinner, we find ourselves with Sisters Anil, Payton and Paulsy for a nice game of cards where basically one was the player!
Thursday, April 7
The moment of leaving is here. After Mass and breakfast, we really have to say goodbye. And we do it with a bit of sadness! The exceptional welcome and, above all, the opportunity to learn something of this wonderful world that is the Kerala and India, to meet the Congregation of CMC’s Sisters and our Brothers Carmelites, force us to thank the Lord for these gifts! Around noon we move from Cochin to Mumbai (Bombay). Here Sr. Paulsy’s brother has a Hotel (the Grand Hotel). He makes us welcome at the airport, and carry to the hotel. After taking few minutes of rest we go for a tour in the city. It is impressive to see the traffic, the buildings and the skyscrapers under construction. There is also a lot of poverty and misery that we didn’t see in Kerala, and here instead is a strident contrast. After seeing the "gateway of India" (an arch built in 1911 during the visit of King George V) we return, but our way back to the Hotel it takes a long time because there are queues everywhere! After a little supper we go to the airport, but here comes a surprise: Fr. Mesmin can't leave because he doesn’t have the transit visa for France! Fortunately I can call the hotel and they come to pick him up, while from Arenzano our Friars are activated to make him fly the next day through another route. So I leave alone, and after more than 9 hours I arrive in Paris just in time to catch the flight to Bangui, where I arrive on Friday evening, along with Fr. Anastasio who did join me in Paris. Thanks India. Thanks Kerala. Nice Country, nice people, nice food!

le suore che festeggiano 50 anni di vita religiosa

la noce moscata
la noix de Mouscade

cattedrale siro malabarica a Ernakulam

St George, Ernakulam

il succo della canna da zucchero
le jus de la canne à sucre

plantations de thé

Gateway of India, Mumbay


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