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Sister Ann Moyalan: A Profile

Posted by Kelly McDaniels

February 15, 2023

I was born on 19th July 1949 in Perambra, Trissur District, Kerala as the sixth child of seven siblings. My parents, Ouseph Moyalan and Rosamma, were devout Catholics and brought us up in faith and a prayerful atmosphere. They lost four of their children in their young age which put them in a deep sorrow. I was baptized on the seventh day and was named Annu, in honor of St. Ann. My sister Celina, ten years older than me, was a source of inspiration and support for me. The birth of my youngest brother, Paul, brought a lot of happiness to the family. I grew up in a multicultural, multi religious atmosphere.

I studied in a government school up to class seven and completed my high school from Presentation Convent Girls High School, Vellikulangara. I had to walk five miles daily to reach my school. Recalling my vocation story, I remember Sister Mary Piusha, whose gentleness and kindness attracted me to be a Sister like her. During English class, I came to know about Missionary Sisters, whose life made a lasting impression on me. I wanted to be like one of them. I heard about the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Mokama, Patna, Bihar, from Sosamma, the younger sister of Maria Palathingal SCN. Although I completed my high school in 1965, I had to wait two more years to get permission from my parents to enter religious life. Meanwhile, I studied Hindi with the hope that one day I would go to Bihar to be a missionary. Seeing my determination and perseverance, my father’s heart melted and he agreed to meet the SCNs, Teresita Theruvankunnel and Sophia Kalapurakal who had come for recruiting in Kerala.

With great joy in my heart I left home on 13th June 1967 for Mokama along with six companions. It took five days to reach Mokama, changing trains at Madras and Calcutta. At Mokama railway station we were greeted by Sister Teresa Rose Nabholz in Malayalam “Swagatham”. We were warmly welcomed to Nazareth Convent, Mokama on 17th June 1967.

Early life as SCN:
As a candidate, I had to learn many things like languages (English, Hindi), food habits, praying, singing, talking, celebrating, etc. I could speak my mother tongue – Malayalam – for a week. Later on, with the help of senior candidates, I learned to write down a request for supplies, a list of sins before going for confession, and so on. With great effort I learned to speak, read, write and pray in English within a few months. I enjoyed and benefited much from my candidacy, pre – novitiate and novitiate programs. Ample opportunities were given to us to develop our own leadership skills and talents. As a second-year novice I was sent on a six months’ community cum ministry experience to Nazareth Academy, Gaya, which helped me to understand SCN life better. At the end of the community experience, I received a positive, encouraging evaluation from the Sisters, which boosted my self-confidence. During these initial years, I was greatly influenced by Sister Teresita Theruvankunnel, my Candidate Director, Sister Patricia Mary Kelley (Pat Kelley), Novice Director, and Sr. Lawrencetta Veeneman.

Sister Ann Moyalan

I took my first vows on 2nd July 1971 in Mokama along with my two companions, Teresa Madassery and Janice Rathappillil. The joy and excitement of that day coupled with the realization that I am chosen by God to be His bride, made a lasting impression on my mind. Seven years later, after completing nurses training in Holy Family Hospital, Delhi, I made my perpetual vows, along with six of my companions, on 28th May 1978 in Mokama in the presence of many SCNs and parishioners. I experienced deep joy and gratitude in my heart.

First mission:
My first mission was Nazareth Niketan, Chatra, where there were many tribal families. I assisted Sister Rose Marie Lakra, involving myself in the pastoral ministry. Sister Ann Roberta, one of the pioneers, was the superior of the local community and took good care of us. Local people appreciated her for her kindness and gentleness. Jesuit priests from Hazaribagh used to come offer Mass on Saturdays and Sundays for the people.

Sister Rosemarie and I lived in the villages from Monday to Friday, visiting the families, sharing their joys and suffering, praying with them, and eating the food placed before us. I would like to share one of my memories of my mission life in Chatra. Having spent the night in one of the villages, we proceeded to another village, after drinking a cup of milk offered by the family. Both of us walked the whole day, resting occasionally under a tree. We reached Mardanpur village at 8pm. On the way, we had nothing to eat or drink except some water. Rose Marie joined the conversation where as I fell asleep out of exhaustion. I was awakened at midnight and had a plate of rice and curry. I was delighted to have some food after twenty-four hours.

Sister Martha Louise Walsh, Sister Ann Moyalan, and Sister Natalie Maria Champ

Staying in the SCN convent Nazareth Niwas, Bangalore, I completed my pre-university studies from Mount Carmel College in 1974. This was a time of exposure to outside world values, surrounded by many challenges to follow Jesus, and having to discern about my own vocation in the context of our Superior leaving the Congregation. I experienced the powerful protection and faithfulness of God guiding me at this time.

Nurses’ Training:
Thinking that medical profession would help me to minister to the women, I wanted to pursue a career in nursing. General nursing studies took me to Holy Family Hospital, Delhi, from March 1975 to March 1978. There was great satisfaction in reaching out to the people in need especially at times of sickness and death. During this period, I was elected as the spokesperson for the Nurses Association. After finishing my general nursing studies in Holy Family Hospital, Delhi, I came to Nazareth Hospital, Mokama to complete the midwifery course in 1979. In order to update my skills, I was sent to the College of Nursing, in Chandigarh for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Post- Basic) from May 1992 to 1994.

My brother’s death:
My only brother, Paul, was working in Mumbai when he was killed in a train accident on 9th April 1979. This incident brought about a big crisis in my life as there was no one to take care of my parents. After spending a month with them, having gone through a “family discernment,” I returned to Mokama. My sister, Celina, and brother in-law, John Melepuram, assumed the responsibility of caring for them till death. I experienced deep peace and inner freedom to follow the Lord.


Sister Ann Moyalan sees patients at the mother and child clinic in Chaibasa, March 1981

Jharkhand: 1979- 1983:
I was appointed as In-Charge (supervisor) of the Health Centre and the Coordinator of Nazareth Niwas Lupungutu, Chaibasa, Jharkhand, from September 1979 till March 1983. Ho tribal community suffered from poverty, illiteracy, superstitious beliefs, and lack of basic facilities like roads, electricity, water and health services. Through awareness programs, we could bring a lot of changes in their life and situations. We collaborated with the Jesuit Fathers for non-formal education. I had become their “Ale Dei” (our big sister) and was given their title “Anna Purty”, a rare honor given to any non-tribal. This remains as my best community life experience where we loved, trusted each other, shared our lives, prayed and depended on God. Our lives were simple and free and we attracted young women to our Congregation.

Sister Ann Moyalan performs arati in Mokama during her missioning ceremony for her new ministry in Belize, May 1983

Belize: July 1983 – August 1985:
As a part of the General Assembly decision, I volunteered to go to Belize as a missionary to work with the SCNs there. As a registered nurse and midwife, I was appointed by the Belize Government to take charge of the Community Health Center, in San Antonio, Toledo District with an outreach program to the interior villages. The people were called Maya Indians. This ministry was very challenging as there was no proper transport facility. At times, I travelled by helicopter from British army, or rode on a horse, or walked for days to reach far away villages for the health/immunization programs. Sundays were special as there was Eucharistic celebration in the parish or in the village churches. SCNs John Loretto as a pastoral Sister, Irene Locario as a teacher, and I as a nurse served the people with dedication and love. I grew to love the people and their culture and felt very much at home in Belize. This was the time when SCN Higinia Bol got attracted to the SCN way of life.

Sister Ann Moyalan in Belize

Formation Ministry:
After two years of ministry in Belize, I was called back to India for ministry in the formation program. After a few months of preparation & orientation, I was appointed as the Director of Candidates and Coordinator of Nazareth Convent, Ranchi, in December 1986 and continued this sacred journey till January 1991.

My sickness and miraculous cure:
In 1991, I developed vertigo with severe headache and vomiting as a result of a neck injury I had from diving in 1984. I became bedridden and was totally dependent on others for my physical needs. Although I was treated, there was no improvement in my condition. The neurology department in All India Medical Institute, Delhi, told me that I have to live with this condition all through my life. Finally, I took refuge in the Lord, cried & prayed for a miracle. Encouraged by Sister Celine Arackathottam I attended Charismatic Convention in Bangalore, later on a charismatic retreat in Potta, Kerala. Finally, Jesus touched and healed me physically and spiritually and gifted me with NEW LIFE.

Jharkhand: 1996-2003:
In February 1996, I was appointed as the Director of Mahila Kalyan Kendra, Lupungutu, and Zila Mahila Samiti, Chaibasa, for a second time to continue the campaign against witch hunts in West Singhbhum, Jharkhand. In spite of the risks involved in challenging an evil system existing within the rural community, Zila Mahila Samiti took up the most difficult job of organizing people through awareness programs, forming women’s Self-Help Groups (SHG) in the villages, networking with education institutions, Government/Non-Governmental organizations and people from all walks of life. Finally, a bill was passed in the Parliament of Jharkhand Government against the Witch Hunt practiceThis was a landmark victory which brought about systemic change in the society.

Sister Ann Moyalan

My next appointment took me to Delhi, from July 2003 to 2012 to carry on the ministry to the marginalized, women and children living in the slums of Delhi. Many children did not attend schools but engaged in child labour, antisocial activities, pickpocketing, etc. Once again, awareness programs, non-formal education and skill training were started and completed with very good transforming results. The last two years I worked as the Coordinator for Justice Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Delhi, as member of the advisory committee to Minority Commission, Delhi Government, and as an active member of Advocacy Network at the national level. These were great experiences which have expanded my outlook on religious life and ministry opportunities.

In March 2013, I said yes to the SCN mission in Musunuru, Andhra Pradesh, to minister to the people through social pastoral and health programs. This mission was tough as I did not know the language or the people. One of the main issues existing in the villages was child marriage. Under the banner of Preranalaya, Social Development Centre, a campaign was started and within few years child marriage was controlled in the villages and the girls could continue their studies. We, the Sisters, reached out to the people in their need, prayed and shared their meals. Finally, I started to pray over and bless the people in God’s Name with a realization that, “this is what for which I left home in 1967”.  After seven years of challenging, fruitful ministry, I left Musunuru with joy and gratitude to God and to people.

Sister Ann Moyalan

Delhi Once again: Answering the need of Bangalore Province, I am back in Delhi with open mind and heart that God may fulfill God’s plan in and through me. I cherish these fifty-two years of my SCN life. I am amazed at the faithfulness of God and the love and support I have received from my Sisters and people. With Mary my Mother I sing the Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”.

Thank you,
Ann Moyalan SCN


Interested in reading more Marie Menard Committee stories?
Click here: https://nazareth.org/tag/marie-menard/




  1. Stella

    I had written a comment but it disappeared. Thank you, Ann for sharing your faith journey and life with us. Though I had known much of it from you, it was interesting to read through once again. I was in great admiration, looking at your young, beautiful face in early 70’s and 80’s. God has worked miracles in and through your beautiful life and dedicated service. May the Lord continue to bless you and your ministry and manifest His unconditional love through your life’s journey.

    • Ann Moyalan

      Thank you Stella for your affirming words

      • Mary. K. A

        Truly inspiring mission journey. Feel lucky that I was your candidate in Ranchi and experienced much of your motherly care. Feel proud of you🙏… Thinking of you fondly.

  2. Stella

    Thank you, Ann for sharing your life and inspiring stories of your faith journey. As I was reading through your profile, and looking at your young and beautiful face, I was in admiration and had to stop for a while. You are a beautiful person and God has worked miracles in and through your life. May God continue to manifest His unconditional love through your life and dedicated service.

  3. Maria Brocato

    Dear Ann, thank you for sharing your beautiful story. You were such a blessing for us in Belize. Remember trudging over a hill and stream to visit a mother and new baby?

    • Ann Moyalan

      Yes- Samson, who was baptized thrice. At present, he is a young man with family. I treasure my time in Belize.


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