Visit of Mother Yvonne to the three FMA communities of Gujarat!

The animators along with a few sisters of the three FMA communities of Gujarat warmly welcomed Mother Yvonne accompanied by our Provincial Sr. Ritha Dora Thomas and the Province Secretary Sr. Supriya Noronha at the Vadodara Airport. Mother was warmly welcomed with floral tributes offered by the animators of Auxilium Baroda Sr. Rita Lobo, of Pushpanjali, Dakor Sr. Sunanda Solanki and of Jag Prakash Kanya Chatralaya, Pansora Sr. Nayana Vankar.

Auxilium Baroda was blessed with the visit of our beloved Mother

General Mother Yvonne Reungoat. The entire educating community awaited her presence with great longing in their hearts. The students of the Gujarati medium school adorned with colourful attire welcomed Mother Yvonne in the traditional way. They performed ‘aarati’(Indian ritual).and placed a ‘tilak’  (a mark on the forehead) that symbolized the blessings of the Almighty and the well-being of our Mother.

The animator Sr. Rita Lobo then officially welcomed Mother with a shawl and the headmistress Sr. Philomena Lobo welcomed her with a bouquet of flowers. The students of the Gujarati medium School displayed a variety of dances to the tune of Garba, Rajasthani, Adivasi and Maharashtrian music. The lively presence of young people, students, teachers, Sisters, women and support staff added joy to the occasion.

After the solemn welcome ceremony our dear Mother Yvonne was invited to address the gathering. She began by thanking them for the grand welcome given to her and for this joyful day. She also said that she felt at home. After this, Mother entered the Chapel for a moment of prayer. She placed a lighted lamp at the altar as a mark of her radiating presence that lights up our lives. Mother Yvonne was then taken to the refectory where she expressed her sentiments of joy to be with the Sisters.

In the afternoon around 500 women from Baroda,Dakor,and Pansora

gathered for the Women’s Day Celebration at Auxilium Baroda. Mother Yvonne Reungoat was the chief guest for the occasion. The theme for the day was “Celebrate the achievements of women”. Mother was treated to a lively lezim performance by the SHG (Self Help Group) women. She was felicitated with a shawl and a bouquet after which she was given a glimpse of the Gujarati culture through dances and songs. She was thrilled to see the women dancing. There was a short musical enacted by the SHG women of Dakor that depicted the achievements of women in different fields.

Mother Yvonne was then invited to speak to the women. She began by appreciating the gift of their womanhood and for being part of the Salesian Family. She spoke about the importance of women and praised them by saying: “you are beauty, a perfect person in the world; you are the source of inspiration and hope for your children and for society.  You have the power to change and make a difference in the world.” She expressed her joy for being part of the Women’s Day Celebration for the first time. She joined the women in their traditional Garba dance.

In the evening Mother Yvonne participated in the solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Apostolic Administrator of Baroda Rt. Rev.Bishop Stanislaus Fernandes.and concelebrated by the Salesians of  the Don Bosco Parish,Makarpura,Baroda. Present and Past Teachers, Parents of the Sisters, the   Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa’s Sisters), benefactors and well-wishers joined us for the Holy Eucharist and thereafter for a sumptuous dinner.

On the 9th of March, the students of the Gujarati and English medium

schools staged a combined programme to showcase the culture and traditions of Gujarat. The programme began at Mother Yvonne was solemnly led in procession seated in a chariot.  What a grand sight it was to see her and the entire crowd watching her riding in the chariot. The atmosphere was so colourful, joyful and attractive. The students dressed in multicoloured  ‘chanya cholis’ welcomed Mother Yvonne with dance, music and flowers.

The procession was very meaningful and symbolic.The group of studentss dressed in violet holding a decorated thali filled with flower petals showered on  Mother Yvonne was a sign of our acceptance of her among us.The girls adorned in their green festive dresses were holding ‘manjiras’(small hand cymbals) that brought out a rhythmic note which heralded the arrival of the guest. Another group dressed in yellow holding ‘kalash’( a metal pot) a symbol of abundance and source of life. The group dressed in orange with bamboo sticks performed the ‘dandiya raas’ ( Gujarati dance ). A group of girls dressed in pink were holding beautiful ‘diyas’ (lamps) that represented ‘self’.

After the procession Mother Yvonne was led to her seat with the live music of ‘Bhumgal’, a typical long instrument.

Mother Yvonne was then felicitated by Tr. Mary Sunil who welcomed her with a shawl . Ms. Kriti Gulati and Ms. Barot Tanya the head girls of English and Gujarati medium schools welcomed Mother with a bouquet of flowers.

Our little children of the primary section graced the occasion with a welcome dance. This was followed by the lighting of the lamp by Mother Yvonne,Sr. Ritha Dora Thomas,our Provincial, Sr. Rita Lobo, the animator, Sr. Philomena Lobo, the headmistress , a teacher, a student and a past pupil. 

Bhavai is depicted in the symbolism of the cultural dances and

expressions which are so intrinsic to the land of Gujarat. It educates the masses and conveys messages with humour. Through a well enacted drama, the Bhavai Mother Yvonne was given a glimpse of Gujarat and its culture. The students presented five main dances: Garbha, Dandiya Raas, Panihari, Tipni and Hudo which were performed very gracefully and meaningfully. Each dance had a prop and a symbolic meaning, props like a wooden temple, pots, long sticks, dandiya sticks and umbrella were used.

Mother Yvonne was invited to address the gathering. She began by thanking all  for the grand welcome, appreciated the culture that is rich in human values and praised the children for their performance.

She stressed on the role of girls which is very important in the social

world for the future of life, for the future of peace and solidarity. She urged them to be true to the words inscribed on the school building ‘to love one another’. She emphasized that we live our differences in daily life,the difference of culture, languages, religion etc.,  and to build a new society, a new world is the responsibility of the parents, teachers and Sisters.

She urged the students to study well and to build up their personality through education by learning and living values in the school. We are a family and asked them to get connected with other Auxilium schools in the world and share their experiences.

Mother Yvonne made all present to repeat these words: “The secret of happiness is to make others happy everyday”. She encouraged Auxilium School to become a great light in Baroda and it will be a light if each one’s smile and eyes radiates joy. Mother concluded her speech by once again thanking all for everything.

Mother Yvonne reached Pushpanjali, Dakor at 11.30 am and was welcomed with garlands by Sr. Sunanda Solanki, the animator of Dakor

and Sr. Melna, the animator of the SMI community, breaking of a coconut and a group of women carrying ‘kalash’ on their heads on either side of the pathway.  She was surrounded by the Sisters, students, boarders, teachers and support staff of Dakor, Salesian Fathers, the SMI Sisters, and the Sister Disciples commonly known as ‘behenjis’.

The children dressed in attractive costumes led Mother General in procession dancing to the tune of an Adivasi- Rathwa song. At the entrance she was welcomed by a triple aarati and was then taken to the chapel for a prayer moment to invoke God’s blessings.

At 12.30 pm there was a solemn Holy Eucharist at the SDB Parish Church of Christ the King celebrated by the Archbishop of Gandhinagar diocese Rt. Rev. Thomas Macwan. The concelebrants were the Vicar General of the Ahmedabad diocese,  Fr. Rocky Pinto, Fr. Isaac Arackaparambil Rector of Dakor, Fr. Mayank Parmar  Rector of Kapadvanj, Fr. Pravin Makwana Rector of Narukot, Fr. Brian Boothello Rector of Chhotaudepur and other Salesians. The prayer dance performed by our boarders prepared us for the Eucharistic celebration.

During his homily the Archbishop thanked Mother General for the Sisters who serve generously in Gujarat. He emphasized that the FMA have a special charism which gives life and meaning to young people, empowering and making them feel that they are children of God.He said that our first call is to love God totally and unconditionally and prayed that God may bless our congregation abundantly.

After Mass all were invited for a sumptuous lunch with Mother Yvonne. She spoke to them cordially thanking them for their presence and assuring them of her prayers. She also mentioned that there exists a very good relationship between the Fathers and the Sisters and therefore it is a good sign for vocations and for the people around. At the end Mother presented a gift to our Archbishop as a token of  love and appreciation and a memento to each one present. The Salesians presented flower pots to Mother and thanked her for her visit.

The cultural programme began at 3.30 pm. Sr. Sunanda Solanki the animator officially welcomed Mother Yvonne with words of appreciation and thanks after which she gave a brief history of the origin of the house of Pushpanjali.

Sr. Sunanda welcomed Mother Yvonne with a shawl and Sr. Elphina Rodrigues presented a bouquet. Mother was given a glimpse of the Gujarati culture through song nad dance. The SHG women too danced to the tune of ‘lerilalal jai Gujarati’. Mother expressed her thanks and appreciation for the entire programme especially the item by the SHG women.  We are all a family of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello where we live in love and joy. She assured all of her prayers and entrusted them to the care of Our Blessed Mother.

At 5.45 pm Mother Yvonne was welcomed with flowers, ‘kumkum’, garlanded by Sr. Nayana Vankar  Animator of the community and a shawl presented by Sr. Anita Dushing.  She was led in procession from the gate to the stage with a variety of lively dances performed by the school children, tuition children and the boarders of Jag Prakash Chatralaya, Pansora. They were draped in gorgeous costumes beautifully decked to add colour and beauty to the occasion. The dignitaries were felicitated with floral tributes. The presence of all the groups: tuition children, boarders, school children and Self-Help Group helped us to give Mother Yvonne a true picture of the mission in Pansora. The enthusiasm among those gathered was great. There was a lot of joy and happiness seen on their faces.

Mother addressed the gathering and began by thanking the community and those present for the beautiful welcome and love they showed her. She explained to the children how Don Bosco is still present in their midst in the Sisters and teachers.  She also told them that they are a big Family where they need to love and care for one another. She looked at each one present and captured them in her heart.

As a token of love, appreciation and gratitude to Mother General Sr. Yvonne Reungoat,Sr. Nayana presented a gift on behalf of her community.