Seventy-five years ago, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth began their first foreign mission. To celebrate our presence in India, we will follow the journey of our Pioneer Sisters. Over the next year, you will read the story of how six SCNs traveled from Nazareth, Kentucky, to set up a hospital and serve those in need in one of the poorest regions of a newly independent India.
Our story continues as the Sisters near their destination and report on their closing moments at sea.
Feast of St. Francis Xavier
December 3, 1947
We were happy to receive your lines yesterday telling us that our radiogram had reached you. We also heard the good news that our three companions are in Bombay; however, they are not likely to reach Mokameh before Christmas which we greatly regret. Our ship is due in Madras tomorrow morning and in Calcutta on the eighth. It is hard to believe that our destination will soon be reached – we’ll miss the sea.
The others will add a note to this. Love to all at Nazareth.
Devotedly in Jesus and Mary,
(Signed) Sister Ann Cornelius
Your note received yesterday made us very happy. The radiogram really made good time, as it left the ship at 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 23. Most of this trip has been very pleasant. The heat in spots has been intense but we have good facilities for taking care of our clothes, except our caps. I’m coming dangerously close to the end of mine. We feel we will reach Mokameh – I mean Calcutta on Our Lady’s Feast Day. Every land mark on this trip has been some Feast of our Mother, so we feel She is looking after us in a special manner. We are praying she will bring the rest of our family in before Christmas but it doesn’t look too hopeful now. We have been very fortunate in receiving mail at all ports except Cochin and these letters have meant so very much to us. Knowing that you and our people have heard from us and know we are all right is a great relief. Really, nothing could happen to us with our Blessed Mother on the job as She has proven She is. Just one more thing I must tell you before I leave space for Sister. I think the Community had better redouble their prayers for Sister Lawrencetta. The night after we left Bombay she gave out prayers “that we will get lots of attention tomorrow.” I told her I knew we were going to miss all the attention we got before leaving, but I never thought we would pray out loud for it. Anyway, the cargo got taken care of and Sister gave out prayers in thanksgiving for the attention. Love to all the Sisters.
Devotedly in the Sacred Heart,
(Signed) Sister Crescentia
During our stay at Colombo we went on a sight-seeing tour and saw some very pretty places. All houses, or homes, are bungalows, no matter if they are three story mansions. The Catholics have the second largest population; the Hindus are first and Moslems third. The Cathedral (also) had a statue of St. Sebastian, so there is great devotion to your patron in this section of the country.
The Good Shepherd Sisters in charge of the girls’ section of the adjoining school (2000 girls) gave us a very hearty welcome to India. The Provincial was most gracious, giving us the French kiss and a very cordial invitation to have dinner and stay with them while in port. But since the car was waiting for us we did not accept. They have an American Sister at a nearby convent. Since we could not go to see her we talked to her over the phone. She is a New Yorker. The Provincial reminded me a great deal of you.
We are sorry to hear of Sister Mary Agnes’ death and wonder if she is the first to die since we left. The letter mailed November 24 we received at Colombo, December 2, just eight days – very good time.
December 4 Arrived at Madras – our last stop before Calcutta – this morning at nine. Will probably reach our last port on Sunday or Monday.
Love and greetings to all. All are well and happy.
Sincerely in Christ,
(Signed) Sister Lawrencetta