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THE COMPASSIONATE PASTOR

JULY 2015

Content

Editorial Board
Managing Editor

1.

Editorial

Sr M Wilberta, BS

2.

Vision

of

R.F.C.

Mascarenhas

On

Consecrated Life to Wake Up the World


- Sr Namrita BS

Chief Editor
Sr M Lillis, BS

3.

He Clothed Mother Earth with Green Attire


- Sr Shalet Mendonca BS

4.

A Seed that Dared to Die - Sr Anitha


Stephen BS

MEMBERS

5.

Servant of God RFC Mascarenhas, a


Wounded Healer - Rev Fr Thomas C.D., O.P.

Rev. Fr Joseph Martis

6.

Mr Ivan Saldanha
Mr Edmund Frank

7.

Sr M Virginia, BS
Sr Mary Naulak, BS

- Sr Marie Ange BS

From the Horses Mouth - On Our Saint in


the Making - Mgr Raymond F C Mascarenhas

Sr Miriam, BS
Sr M Jessy Rita, BS

The Sprouting of Religious Vocation Within


Me

- Mr James DSouza
8.

Favours Received

Inspiring sayings of The Servant of God


Raymond FC Mascarenhas
Be a child of prayer. May all your thoughts, words and actions,
be an unceasing prayer to Our Lord. Do this, and then everything
will be well with you.
***
A fervent religious does each one of her duties, perfectly well,
without distinguishing between big or small.
***
All the little things you do such as an act of charity, an act of
humility, patience, or a Hail Mary said well, will purchase you life
everlasting.
***
Anything done for the Missions is very pleasing in the sight of
God.
***
As many talents and gifts God has given us, so many are our
obligations to Him. However, sometimes honors and offices are
given in a religious community to those less qualified and not to
those who are better qualified.
Sometimes God prefers us to sacrifice our talents, rather than
make use of them, for a higher purpose.
***
Never go for recreation with a sour face.
***

EDITORIAL
The Masterstroke of the Compassionate Pastor
I am counting on you to wake up the world,
since the distinctive sign of consecrated life is
prophecy, said Pope Francis addressing the religious
on the occasion of the declaration of the Year of the
Consecrated Life.
I find it an occasion to focus on the masterstroke of Servant of God
Raymond Mascarenhas namely, the founding of Bethany, an indigenous
religious Congregation.
Mgr Raymond Mascarenhas, a visionary far ahead of his time, believed
that religious men and women, if captivated with the spirit of the Gospel,
could wake up the world. That was his dream when he founded a new
indigenous Congregation with four lady teachers, 95 years ago at Bendur,
Mangalore, on July 16, 1921. His action sprung from an inner urge to
wake up the world by preaching the Gospel to the peripheries. Being a
prophetic compassionate pastor, what he conceived and shaped had
prophetic characteristics which enthralled the local community.
Recently I came across the following news item on Bethany founded
by Mgr Raymond published in the bulletin of Mangalore Catholic
Association, in January 1935:
The Bethany Sisters- It is refreshing to note that the Bethany sisters
are not confining themselves to beaten tracks. Industrial education,
teaching of tailoring, making of Church vestments, and a weaving
establishmentare some of the activities they are engaged in. . The
development of this Congregation of sisters is indeed a remarkable
achievement. It is growing like the proverbial grain of mustard seed. Let
us hope that this congregation will spread its network over the whole
district and help to bring education to the doors of the Catholic villages
and promote rural reconstruction which is the great need of the day. Our
community owes Rev. Mgr R F C Macarenhas a deep debt of gratitude for
inaugurating and developing this Congregation.
After 95 years, one finds that this small undertaking of Mgr Raymond
has spread its network not only all over India but to the continents of
Africa and Europe as well. The Congregation has 1382 professed members
3

hailing from all over India striving together to wake up the world through
numerous creative ministries. Undoubtedly, it is the flowering of the
Charism of Mgr Raymond who planted this seed in the Immaculate hearts
of Jesus and Mary.
While considering the contribution of Mgr Raymond to the Universal
Church by founding an indigenous Congregation, it is worth noting that if
he had not dared to take up this venture, many less educated girls of
South Canara, Kerala and Goa would not have a chance to become a
religious. The institutions he set up especially for the rural people became
cradles of religious vocations.
Mgr Raymonds zest in promoting religious life in general is visible in
the support that he rendered to Fr. Faustine DSouza of the Archdiocese
of Goa, in founding the Congregation Holy Family of Nazareth, Sancoale,
Goa. The first batch of novices of this Congregation was trained along
with Bethany novices in Mangalore. The retreats that he preached to the
students of St. Agnes, Bendur and the sisters of cloistered Carmel spotlight
Mgr Raymonds endeavors in the promotion of religious Congregations.
This issue of Compassionate Pastor gratefully acknowledges the
outstanding contributions of Mgr Raymond in promoting religious life.
The article of Sr. Namritha highlights the profound reflections of Mgr
Raymond on Consecrated Life. The brief reports on the Platinum Jubilee
celebrations of the two Bethany schools in South Canara and Dharwar
expound the endeavors of Mgr Raymond to spread Catholic education to
the remotest areas. Mr. James DSouza, an eye witness to the virtuous
life of Mgr Raymond has two short articles to express his deep sentiments
of love and admiration for the person and his writings. Rev Fr. Thomas
CD, OP depicts him as a compassionate healer. Sr. Shalet Mendonca
illustrates the eco- spirituality of Mgr Raymond and indicate that Mgr
Raymond considered Bethany his masterstroke as a tree planted by the
running waters. Sr. Anitha Stephen speaks of Mgr Raymond as a seed
that died so as to bring fruit. The personal testimony of Sr Marie Ange is
an inspiring one. It tells the reader how a simple encounter can spark a
religious vocation.
May the articles of this bulletin inspire the readers to make their life
sublime.
Sr Lillis BS
4

VISION OF R.F.C. MASCARENHAS ON


CONSECRATED LIFE TO WAKE UP
THE WORLD
Sr Namrita BS
Introduction
Throughout the history of the world, religious men and women have
played a great role to wake up the world by shedding light on obscure or
ignored passages of the Scripture and called the people to live according
to these truths. They knew the pulse of their day, the historical situation
they were in. Jesus asked his people that they should know how to interpret
the present time (Lk 12:56). Servant of God, Raymond Mascarenhas
primary task was conferring revelations to the people of his time. He felt
anointed by the Spirit of Jesus. He found incentives for his missionary
vocation in the prophets and above all in Jesus. Servant of God, Raymond
Mascarenhas impressive passion was to become identified with Jesus in
all things (Lk 4:18-19). The love of God, devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Mary and care and concern for his neighbor was his lifetime passion, the
very reason for his service to humanity. He was clairvoyant, creative, and
enterprising. God granted him a strong sensibility in facing the evils of his
time. He thus founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower
of Bethany, precisely to fulfill his desire of marching ahead in the service
of humanity. Consequently, to wake up the people from the ignorance of
education, teaching and learning. He wakes up the parents from the
reluctance of educating the girl child. His apostolic zeal also led him to
dedicate himself with a special interest to the spiritual renewal of all
forms of Christian life (families, laity, priesthood and religious life), to
wake up the agents of evangelization everywhere and promote initiatives
to meet the most pressing needs of the people. Eventually, he conceived
the idea of founding a Congregation (Bethany) with the double aim of
making religious consecration possible for many young girls and in doing
so, he prepared apostles to transmit the Good News of Christs Kingdom
to all parts of the country.1 Servant of God, Raymond Mascarenhas was
an instrument in the birth of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy
Family of Nazareth.2
1
2

Violette DSouza, Unless the Seed Die (Mangalore: Bethany Publications, 1981) p. 28.
F. 123.13/11 Bethany Generalate Archives.

I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that
you should keep them from the evil one (John 17:15). We are to be in the
world but not of it-to be separated internally, not externally (John 17:16).
We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration of our
spiritual power. Consecration (being dedicated to Gods service) is our
part; sanctification (being set apart from sin and being made holy) is
Gods part. According to Raymond Mascarenhas, a person consecrated to
God is the one who will serve Him and imitate Him as closely as possible.
A consecrated person is an imitation and a reproduction of Christ.3
In the first part of this article I have tried to present in brief the term
consecration and the purpose of this consecration to God. This study is
an attempt to understand the Vision of RFC Mascarenhas on Consecrated
Life to Wake up the World. My focus here is on his unadulterated vision
on consecrated life as he lived, taught, and directed Bethany Sisters, his
spiritual daughters including the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy
Family of Nazareth. An earnest effort has been made to show how the
Servant of God, RFC Mascarenhas is an authentic missionary, one who
was well aware of the need of the people of his time, connecting all the
perspectives of mission by awaking the whole world to proclaim the Reign
of God. Thus, he dedicates himself and his spiritual daughters to the
service of humanity by being in the world but not of it.
1.1 Consecrated Life: The Term Consecration
To consecrate means to dedicate,4 to set apart, sacred5 or
dedicated for a special purpose, to make sacred. The term consecration
signifies the action of consecrating; setting apart as dedicated to the
deity; dedication with religious purpose or the state of being consecrated.
Vatican Council II in its document Lumen Gentium uses the word
consecration in the sense of total self-gift. Christ is consecrated (Jn.17:19)
and sent by the Father into the world (LG. 28).6
The people of God are consecrated to form a holy priesthood (LG.10).
Bishops, priests are consecrated for the service of sanctification, teaching
and preaching (LG. 21, 28). Lay people are consecrated by the Holy Spirit
(LG. 34) in baptism and confirmation. In fact the world itself is consecrated
3
4
5
6

Bertha BS, From the Lips of the Founder (Mangalore: Bethany Publications, 1981) p. 168.
I.B. Sykes (ed.), The Concise Oxford Dictionary, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978) p. 215.
Ibid., p. 215.
Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Promulgated by His
Holiness Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964 (Here after cited as LG) no. 28.

by God (LG.34). Further Vatican II calls it, being set apart and tradition
has called it flight from the world,7 or renunciation from the world
predominantly through the practice of the evangelical counsels, which is
radically different from the renunciation of the world.
Consecration expresses the dynamic religious aspect of belonging
entirely to God. Hence, consecrated men and women are called to be
always joyful. It is the joy of freshness, the joy of following Christ, the joy
given by the Holy Spirit, not the joy of this world. However, in the following
pages I shall try to illustrate the term consecration as precisely understood
and noted by Raymond Mascarenhas.
1.1.1 Religious Consecration
Raymond Mascarenhas calls religious consecration a state of
perfection. Further he says that the imitation of Christ is the best way of
moving along the way to perfection. By perfection he means practicing
the teachings of Christ, mainly, love of God and the love of neighbor which
is the entire law of perfection. Love of God and the love of neighbor8 is the
fundamental insight for consecration; the religious is one who offers herself
wholly and entirely to the service and worship of God. A religious thus
clings to God, adheres to God.9
On the other hand, the word religious is derived from religion which
means, the worship and homage which is Gods due. They leave everything
for the love of Christ. This speaks about religious consecration as the
profession of the evangelical counsels. RFC Mascarenhas rightly quotes,
the religious has to practice the virtues of poverty, charity etc. for they
are the means that leads one to perfect the love of God.10 In addition, the
visible sign of religious consecration is the profession of the evangelical
counsels, namely: consecrated chastity or celibacy for the Kingdom of
God, poverty and obedience. These three evangelical counsels are
indispensable to religious life.11 In fact the evangelical counsels are of
divine origin as they are found in the Gospel teaching (Mk 10:21) and in
the life of Christ. They are the divine gift and inalienable elements of the
Church. This authenticity is very much reflected in the teaching of Raymond
Mascarenhas. He was an expression of the living signs of the Gospel. He
7
8
9
10
11

Basil Cole and Paul Conner, Christian Totality (Bombay: St Paul Publications, 1990) p. 30.
Bertha BS, From the Lips of the Founder, p. 175.
Ibid, p. 174.
Ibid. p. 174
Ibid, p. 175.

has emerged as one of the champions to show that consecrated life takes
its original inspiration from the message of the New Testament, of following
of Christ who was chaste, poor, and obedient.
1.1.2 Following of Christ
Raymond Mascarenhas outlook on religious consecration is a response
to an invitation of Christ. You lack one thing; go sell, what you own, and
give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come,
follow me (Mk: 10-21). For him religious life is a training school for
heaven; a religious is just a holocaust to God, for he or she devotes her
or his whole life to God. It is a total self-oblation to Christ who followed
the Fathers will completely. In addition, our Fr Founder, Raymond
Mascarenhas assures us that all our offerings will thus be made more
fruitful and draw down upon us a torrent of blessings and graces.12 In
fact, our consecration is unitary as it is expressed in two ways: both
dedication to God and others. This dedication to others is expressed in
our mission, which is a basic part of consecrated life.
On the 1st of February 1942 in one of his talks to his spiritual daughters
he mentions: the Kingdom of heaven in Bethany are like virgins inhabiting
this holy house.13 These virgins are of two categories-wise and foolish.
Each one of them had a lamp with them. The same could be said of an
authentic religious whose oil can be her rule of life and vows to light up
her path.14 Like the wise virgins who had oil with them, he expects the
religious to fill their hearts with oil. The oil is going to be perfumed with
the oil of charity, which includes love of God and love of neighbor. When
Mary Magdalene anointed the feet of the Lord with oil, the perfume
pervaded the whole house. Likewise, the saints were on their watch to fill
their vessels with perfumed oil to spread the fragrance to the entire Church.
We are called to be fervent religious, ready to wake up ourselves so as to
wake up the world. Wake up the world from the slumber of laziness,
sorrow, suffering, and transform it into a world of love, peace and joy.
This can be done by being faithful to our commitment, to our mission;
thus, we can be a blessing to all if only we constantly hear Christs
summon15 to serve humanity.
12
13
14
15

Bertha BS, From the Lips of the Founder p. 176.


Ibid, p. 159.
Ibid, p. 159
Ibid, p. 25.

Servant of God, Raymond Mascarenhas is a wonder of the past, a


historical phenomenon in his own right, and a direct challenge to all those
who slumber in their life of commitment. He not only encouraged and
prepared his spiritual daughters to consecrate themselves totally to Christ
but also encouraged and became an instrument in promoting vocations
as well as directing them towards religious life. Awakened by the Spirit of
God he encouraged religious vocation in the family. But he never pointed
out where to go, wherever God calls you, there you go, was his mind.16
Surely, this statement applies to Founders own experience with the
Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. A few letters
from their documentation express that RFC Mascarenhas, fully aware
that one day they would be going out of Bethany Novitiate to found a new
Congregation of their own in Goa, received four of their novices into
Bethany Novitiate to prepare them for the religious life. Padre Faustino de
Souza writes in his letter dated 29th February 1960:
I consider that Bethany Father is our Father also. We can never forget
his favors towards us and also those of Sr Magdalen (who was the novice
directress) will ever be remembered and which can never be repaid by
us. I always pray for Father, Sr Magdalen and for the Bethany Convent at
least 5 times a day.17
Even many letters from the Genesis of the Congregation of the Sisters
of the Holy Family of Nazareth states that not only Bethany Sisters train
them in their own novitiate, in Mangalore, but with special permission
from Rome they deputed two of their sisters to accompany the Goan girls
back to Sancoale and help them to start their novitiate along proper lines
and so continue to attend to their ongoing formation.18
Sr Mary Pia, S.F.N. writes:
On that day the above mentioned girls came back as the 1st four
founding Sisters as Sisters Joana, Josephine, Nativity and Edith. They
took up the residence at Sancole in the ancestral house of the great
Apostle of Ceylon, Ven. Fr Joseph Vas (Now St. Joseph Vas). The choice
of Sancole is explained by the fact that at that time Fr Faustino was the
parish priest in this village. A few days later he had brought the four
16

17
18

Olinda Pereira Detached - But there when needed, The Compassionate Pastor, no. 10 (July
2013) p.16.
Padre Faustino De Souza, A 115. 2/39, Bethany Generalate Archives.
Carlos Merces de Melo S.J., In the beginning was the Father, 50 Years (Goa: Golden Jubilee
Souvenir of the Sisters of Holy Family, 1935-1985) p.15.

sisters from Mangalore. Mgr. R F C Mascarenhas, the founder of the Sisters


of the Bethany Congregation, and four of his sisters accompanied our
four pioneers and saw them installed in the quarters which were to remain
as the mother house of the Congregation.19
In addition, a number of other letters do bear witness to his noble
task of encouraging vocations to consecrated life. He thus awakens the
men and women of his time and even now invites all of us for a farther
horizon of living our call to participate in the following of Christ.
2. Evangelical Counsels and Consecrated Life
The evangelical counsels are advisory directives of Christ found in
the Gospels for the following of Christ and for the pursuit of charity and
considering the social set of the Church, three counsels - chastity, poverty
and obedience are selected as evangelical counsels.20 On the other hand
consecrated life is a gift which the Father has given to the Church by
means of the Spirit so that, in faithfulness to the Gospel, the most
characteristic traits of the life of his Son Jesus, the chaste, poor and
obedient one (Mt. 8:20; Phil. 2:8), and the unfathomable riches of his
mystery (Eph. 3:8), might be present in the world and might draw everyone
toward the Kingdom of God. According to RFC Mascarenhas, evangelical
councils contained in the New Testament have been an inspiration to
innumerable Christians who had the desire to follow Christ. As a response
to the gift of God, the vows are a triple expression of a single yes to the
one relationship of total consecration.
2.1 Witnessing to the Gospel
RFC Mascarenhas being a true promoter of the Gospel value affirms
this truth in one of his letters to the Right Rev. Dr Paul Perini, SJ, mentioning
on the importance of this truth. He writes;
But what I find particularly satisfactory about the increase of vocations
is the fact that the increase has followed in the wake of the invitation to
Bethany to serve in the Mission; and readiness on our part to accept it
under proper condition; This invitation I mentioned as one of the two
things which make me feel that the Blessing of Providence rests on this
work.21
19

20
21

Carlos Merces de Melo S.J., In the beginning was the Father, 50 Years (Goa: Golden Jubilee
Souvenir of the Sisters of Holy Family, 1935-1985) p.15.
Antony Barnabas, Religious Consecration (Mysore: Dhyanavana Publications, 2005) p. 33.
R.F.C. Mascarenhas The Letters of Fr RFC Mascarenhas, No. BHAB. 14/13, Bethany Generalate
Archives.

10

Nevertheless, he was empowered by God in the wake up of Bethany


even before anyone thought of waking up the world. Of course, to venture
into the task of serving in the mission of the Church was the need of the
hour. He strongly felt that the love of God must be made visible and
experiential in the midst of the then society.
2.1.1 Chastity: Loving Response to the God of Love
According to Fr. Founder only those who have been transformed to
some degree can be agents to wake up the world. Transformations usually
relie on the ordinary formative episode of our lives. Their life shows an
extraordinary degree of uniqueness, imagination and pristine individuality.
The Chapter II, rule, no.12, 13,22 of the Constitutions of the Congregation
of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany, speaks of how the vow of
chastity invites the religious to give her total self-gift of heart, body and to
renounce the companionship of marriage, natural motherhood, and human
family. Consecrated chastity thus appears as a joyful and liberating
experience. Chastity is a loving response to the call of the Lord of love. A
follower therefore renounces everything and lives in a new vision of life,
in order to follow Christ closely. In a new sense and in this new joy he or
she finds hundreds of brothers and sisters and houses instead of only
one.
2.1.2 Poverty: A Voice to Wake up the Voiceless
The profession of the evangelical counsel of poverty intrinsically
includes the mission of witnessing, and love for the poor. With reference
to the vow of poverty, RFC Mascarenhas pertinently says that, Jesus, the
King of kings and the Lord of lords was born poor lived poor and died
poor. He practiced poverty before He could preach. In the Sermon on the
Mount this was the first beatitude. The simple apostles, the poor people,
the sick and the unwanted were the ones who heard him speak,23 while
the rich pharisees, and the teachers of the law hear Him only to criticize
Him. The mission of Jesus that he proclaimed in (Lk.4:18-19) is indeed
for the whole world. Therefore our mission is to wake up the world from
ethnic hatred, violence, religious atrocities, and create a global
consciousness and a sense of interconnectedness of the whole planet
and its solar system including human beings.
22

23

Constitutions of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany (Mangalore:
Bethany Publications, 1971, Nos. 12, 13.) p. 7.
Bertha BS, From the Lips of the Founder, p. 92.

11

RFC Mascarenhas was not born poor by Indian standards, but he


made himself poor in order to identify with the people Jesus loved the
most. In one of his conferences to Bethany sisters he would express in
cataloguing the blessings of poverty, and how it is the highest expression
of humility. Poverty, he would say, is the first class ticket to the heart of
our Lord which always went out to the poor and the humble.24 We are
thus called To live locally but think globally.25
2.1.3 Obedience: Freedom to Redeem the World
God sent his Son to redeem those under the Law (Gal. 4: 4-5). Our
love for Christ who became obedient unto death (Phil 8:8) invites us to
share in the life of Christ. We thus imitate Christ who did His Fathers will.
Jesus has declared, Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is
my brother and sister and mother (Mt 12:50). In the life and ministry of
our Fr Founder, we see how obedience unfolds in the interpretation of a
mystery at the discovery of a mission and responsibility. At a time when
few girls were educated, he read and responded to the signs of the times.
His final goal was to transform the society, to commit himself to do justice
for the earth and the Church. For him, his good pleasure was a concrete
reality.26 Before any undertaking he would spend hours and days praying
to discern the will of God or seeking to find out, what our Blessed Mother
has to say about it.27 Our vow of obedience frees us to search the will of
God, as RFC Mascarenhas proved it by his life. Thus, our ministry as
religious is to read the signs of the times and understand the need to
transform the existing social and economic situations particularly of the
poor and the marginalized.
3. Set Apart for the Service of Humanity
The path marked out and followed by the Servant of God Raymond
reveals with special clarity the radical nature of his commitment to
humanity. We are set apart from the world (John 17: 14-15). This is the
meaning of being holy and living a holy, righteous life. Being in the
world also means we can enjoy the things of the world such as the beautiful
creation God has given us, but we are not to immerse ourselves in what
the world values, nor are we to chase after worldly pleasure, rather worship
24
25

26
27

Violette DSouza, Unless the Seed Die, p. 74.


Catherine M. Harmer, Religious Life in the 21 st Century; A Contemporary Journey into Canaan
(Mumbai: Pauline Publications, 1995) p. 118
Violette, DSouza, Unless the Seed Die, p. 72.
Ibid, p. 72.

12

God. Jesus true followers have not only been crucified to the world, but
also raised to new life and sent back to free others, to offer a new hope
of salvation. Therefore, we are called to be men and women of valor and
be prophetic and capable of waking up ourselves from the slumber of
our ignorance, self-centeredness, selfishness, and our spiritual lethargy.
RFC Mascarenhas was awakened to reveal to humanity the compassionate
love of the Father. Thus, he sends out his spiritual daughters to the whole
world as Christ sends his disciples to the entire world. The Founders
vision was the Reign of God that Jesus came to proclaim. He was also
inspired to send the sisters to the remotest parts of Karnataka to have the
Gospel preached to the poor. Consequently, with great zeal they moved
out from a sheltered cocoon place to the realities of life, offering themselves
to the service of Gods people.28 Indeed we are chosen by Jesus and
anointed by the Spirit; feel called to carry on today this admirable missionary
and prophetic action. We live authentically when we live in Christ Jesus.
Hence, we must keep our gaze fixed on Christ, imitate him, and be so
steeped in his Spirit, and say along with St. Paul, that it is no longer we
who live, but Christ who truly lives in us.
Conclusion
To live a dedicated life is to commit oneself to all the realities of life.
The wake up call given by Pope Francis to all the religious men and
women, in this year dedicated to consecrated life, amounts to a call to
conversion.29 Therefore we are called to renew, recharge, and revitalize
the consecrated life. Indeed, a lifestyle of good work requires awareness
of the times, discernment of the good, choice of a course of action and its
execution. Hence, we need to wrestle with our feelings concerning our
own inner voices beckoning us to plunge into action. Indeed, Servant of
God, Raymond Mascarenhas, our founder himself is a prophet whose
immediate vision and mission was the introduction of a social revolution
that called for a deep spiritual awakening and wellbeing.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Annette BS, To Proclaim Your Love - Bethany in Karnataka, Goa,
Maharasthra 1950-2010 (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2013).
Barnabas Antony, Religious Consecration (Mysore: Dhyanavana
Publications, 2005).
28
29

Annette BS, To Proclaim Your Love (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2013) p. 2.
John Sagaya, A Challenge to Live, Word & Worship 48, no. 1 (Jan-Mar 2015) p.1.

13

Bertha. BS (Ed.), From the Lips of the Founder (Mangalore: Bethany


Publications, 1981).
Cole Basil and Conner Paul, Christian Totality (Bombay: St Paul Publications,
1990).

Constitutions of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of


Bethany (Mangalore: Bethany Publications, 1971).
Harmer Catherine M., Religious Life in the 21st Century; A Contemporary
Journey into Canaan (Mumbai: Pauline Publications, 1995).
Sykes I.B. (Ed.), The Concise Oxford Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1978).
Sagaya John, A Challenge to Live, Word & Worship 48, No. 1 (Jan-Mar
2015) pp.1-3.
Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964).
Lillis BS and Tressilla BS, A Champion of Education MGR Raymond FC
Mascarenhas, The Compassionate Pastor, No. 08 (July 2012) pp. 11-26.
Holy Bible: The New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition for India
(Bangalore: Theological Publications for India, 1993).
R.F.C, Mascarenhas The Letters of Fr RFC Mascarenhas, No. BHAB. 14/13
(Managlore: Bethany Generalate Archives).
Pereira Olinda, Detached - But there when needed, The Compassionate
Pastor, No. 10 (July 2013) p.16.
Pia Mary, S.F.N. and Merces De Mello Carlos, The Genesis of the
Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Golden Jubilee
Magazine.
RFC Mascarenhass Letter to Right Rev. Dr Valerian J. DSouza, Bishop of
Mangalore, 31 August 1928, No. A 101. 3/11 (St. Sebastians Church,
Bendore).
The Post-Synod Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata on the Consecrated
Life (25th March 1996).
DSouza Violette, Unless the Seed Die (Mangalore: Bethany Publications,
1981)
De Souza Faustino Padre, Sancoale, Goa (Congregation of the Holy Family
of Nazareth Publications, 1960). A 115. 2/39.
14

HE CLOTHED MOTHER EARTH WITH


GREEN ATTIRE
Sr Shalet Mendonca BS
Introduction
For centuries it has been seen that giants of spiritual life have found
that exposure to the beauty of the earth is a way to experience Gods
presence powerfully and closely in ones life. This Eco-spirituality is a
contemplative attitude that makes one open and docile to Gods presence
in every human being, every event and in everything in nature. It puts us
face to face with God through His creatures. Recognition of and respect
given to His creation becomes praise and honour to the divine artist Himself.
An authentic environmental spirituality can rise from a genuine experience
of God in nature. It teaches that divine life extends to all reality, and that
cosmos is an integral part of Gods self-revelation. It emerges from the
awareness of the immanent presence of God in His creation.
The present ecological crisis clearly indicates that environmental
protection is one of the pressing needs of the time. Many have contributed
their share in restoring the vigor of Mother Earth. Raymond Mascarenhas
is second to none in his approach to nature and through it to its creator or
rather in seeing the beauty of God in nature and enhancing it by his
contribution through a green revolution. He was a prophet and ecologist
of the 20th century. The wonder and awe that he experienced in beholding
the beauty of God is indeed marvelous. Here I wish to highlight Msgr RFC
Mascarenhass enormous contribution to create God consciousness as
well as social consciousness in the use of earths resources and
transforming the Mother earth.
Why an Eco-Spirituality?
We are desperately in need of eco-spirituality today in order to restore
a sense of sacredness to Gods creation. The best way to treat creation in
the way God intended human beings to do is to develop an integrated
spiritual approach to creation. This would help in developing a
contemplative attitude to Gods presence in the universe. Since, all things
came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into

15

being (Jn 1:3), this becomes easy access for us to see Gods presence in
His creation. There can be no respect for our place in the environment
and the environments place in us without a spirituality that teaches us
reverence for the cosmos in which we find ourselves. At this juncture it
must be said that in the heart of RFC Mascarenhas there was deep respect
and love for nature because of his great love and admiration for his Creator
and Lord.
The Earth is Precious to God
In the Priestly creation account, each and every part of the creation
is seen by God as good. God called the dry land earth, and the waters
gathered together he called seas. God saw that it was good (Gen 1: 10).
The command be fruitful and multiply was first given to the creatures of
the sea and the birds (Gen 1:22) as a gift and blessing. In the climax of
his creation, God makes even a greater blessing to human beings: Be
fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living
thing that moves upon the earth (Gen 1:28). Finally in the second creation
account, dominion given to human beings is presented as a command to
till and keep the earth. Thus it is clear that God is the sole author and
owner of everything that exists, visible and invisible. In His work of creation
God did not simply make the world, but He chose the creation and
established a relationship with it. As the sovereign creator and sustainer
of the universe, Gods personal will is at work in creation. We see also
that God has created human beings to relate, to till the earth and keep itas beautiful as God created it or rather, enhance that beauty. But today,
humanity seems to dominate the earth and gradually exploit it, leading to
destruction because of his/her selfish interests. If we want to have a
peaceful existence on this planet earth we need to protect and use the
God given resources with responsible freedom for the common good of
all members of the earth. True respect for the environment requires seeing
all of creation as a reflection of God the Creator.
Gods earth is a loving earth, patient, nurturing and self-giving. The
earth is precious to God and to us His creatures. God was the first to
appreciate the worth and the wonder of the earth. And He is inviting us to
do so. Our founder has wholeheartedly hearkened to Gods call and seeing
16

the present condition of mother earth his heart is moved to pity and he
left no stone unturned in his efforts to transform the mother earth by
bringing newness in creation and making it a blooming garden of God
once again. Founder took the example of Jesus in his approach to nature.
Naturally his spirituality began to be molded on the lap of mother earth.
Place of Nature in the Life of Jesus
Jesus the Son of God was no doubt an ecologist by the fact that he
made himself one with the mother earth. Jesus was an ordinary human
being who walked on this earth, crossed the rugged mountains and deep
valleys, the dreadful desert, and was familiar with plants, trees, flowers
and fruits, birds and animals of the locality and at home with the varied
seasons of the year and with extreme climate. As a son of the soil, at
Nazareth, he was in close touch with all that the Palestinian landscape
offered. From birth to death he was moulded by the Palestinian earth, air,
and water which stand revealed in all his preaching and teaching. As a
little boy he would stand on the hilltop of Nazareth observing the Roman
roads where troops marched or people walked and merchants carried
their goods on camels. He watched valleys and other hills around, the
fields where the sower would sow, pick up weeds or reap at various
seasons. His eyes never escaped the little bird that flew around which His
heavenly Father fed in abundance from the grains in the fields. He admired
the beauty of the flowers that His heavenly Father clothed which did outshine
Solomon in his regal splendor. Jesus used these childhood observations
and examples when he explained the truths of the kingdom in parables,
fables and stories.1
Just like Jesus, the founder, in all his teaching and instructions to the
sisters, would often take examples from nature. His penetrating insight
brought forth in his listeners love and reverence for all created realities of
God. He loved nature and often used the imagery of nature to explain
how the divine presence is everywhere, and how everything is connected
in Gods loving care and arms. Once when it was raining heavily and he
told a sister who was standing by: When you look at the showers of rain
falling down on the ground and making it fertile, think of the showers of
graces God sends on you and thank Him for them.2 Again on another
1
2

R.J Raja, Eco-Spirituality (Bangalore: Seva Sadan Training, 1997) p. 43.


Bertha BS (ed.), From the Lips of the Founder (Mangalore: Bethany Publications, 1996) pp. 306-307.

17

occasion, in his exhortation to the sisters on the 20th anniversary of the


foundation of Bethany, he compared Bethany to a garden, Marys garden
of loving choice and said: another point to be taken into consideration is,
Mary herself is the gardener. She waters the plants with celestial waters
of grace.3 He further made the sisters reflect whether their roots make
use of this water of grace or whether they turn away from the heavenly
moisture. And again he says describing Marys delight in Bethany how
happy will she not feel, when Jesus will say to her Look Mother, your
plant yields sweet flowers, the perfume of which entices me, the beauty
of which attracts me.4 Yes, we are beautiful flowers in the garden of
Bethany. Therefore it is our bounden duty to defend against the injustice
done to the entire cosmos. Ultimately, he compared Bethany to a tree,
and on the 30th anniversary of Bethanys foundation he said Let it increase
(crescat)-let it flower (florescat) and let it bear fruit (fructuescat).5 This
evinces his deep encounter with God through creation and that he was
naturally drawn to find God in nature.
RFC Macarenhas - a Man of Green Revolution
Environment is a sacrament of God, a sign of Gods enduring presence;
God is everywhere means that He is present in our environment from
inside it. The United States Bishops document Renewing the Earth, (08
January 2001), mentions that creation is from God and reveals God, and
can be a sign and revelation for the person of faith, a moment of grace.
This statement clearly brings out the sacramental character of Gods
creation.
RFC Mascarenhas a man of vision and a lover of nature saw the
immanent presence of God in creation, and in his exhortation, he advised
his daughters to respect and protect mother earth. He was a great lover
of nature and always encouraged people to love nature and conserve it.
He saw a great deal about every tree, every plant and he treated nature
with great respect and care. He further advised the sisters never to cut a
tree but to plant more. Even with the little land that Bethany owned at
Bendore he would encourage the sisters to cultivate a garden which would
3

4
5

M Lillis and M Miriam (eds.), To You My Daughters (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2014)
p. 464.
Ibid, p. 465.
Ibid, p. 477.

18

be useful in various ways besides beautifying nature. This clearly indicates


that he was a man of green revolution.
Further we have a greater example in what he achieved at a place
called Gurpur, about 18 km from Mangalore. It was around1932, when
the founder received a plot of 50 acres of land as dowry of a sister from
Mangalore city named Sr Dulcis Rego. It was nothing but a barren hill
without human habitation. On February 11, 1932, Rev. Fr Raymond
Mascarenhas, Founder of Bethany opened a branch house here and named
it Rosa Mystica, and called it Marys garden, as a token of his love for our
Blessed Mother.
Rosa Mystica- A Proof of His Eco-Spirituality
True to the title, the founder did turn the barren hill into a flourishing
beautiful garden which today is a feast to the eyes of the beholder. Under
the guidance of the Founder, unlike in other places, sisters began at Rosa
Mystica, agriculture instead of education, as per the need of the place.
Inspired by the Founder, the young sisters and housemaids worked hard
and co-operated with him to make it a garden of delight. The initial
items of cultivation were maize, ginger, pulses (togari), paddy, papaya,
chickoo and sugarcane. Gradually, coconut seedlings, grafted mango
saplings and cashew seedlings were also planted. They planted, they
watered and God gave the increase. At a time when religious life meant
to be in neat dress, praying piously in the choir and doing only whitecollared jobs, here were a group of simple nuns moving about in the field
directing and guiding workers as also planting, watering and doing other
chores to the consternation of some and the appreciation of others. 6 He
chose the saplings and when the pits were dug he himself would
sometimes get down into the pit and plant them. Founders love for the
nature was such that even at his old age he would remember the place
where he planted the particular saplings and knew every tree by name
and location.
To substantiate this I would quote Sr Esperie : Fr Founder was 84
and he came to Rosa Mystica to attend the vestition ceremony. After the
ceremony when father came out he noticed that two or three drumstick
trees were missing from their places in the compound. His keen sense of
6

Theresine BS, The Story of Rosa Mystica, Platinum Jubilee Souvenir, 1932-2007, p. 23.

19

perception and attention to details at this age is to be admired. He asked


me, Esperie, who cut the trees? I accompanied father till the chaplains
cottage. There again he noticed another tree was cut. He said, Here
there was a matti tree. Tell them not to cut such trees. In case it dries up
or needs to be cut, another sapling must be planted.7 This indicates his
union with God was combined also with love and care for His creation.
Today a birds eye view of Rosa Mystica today shows a beautiful piece of
land of 61.37 acres of land studded with different institutions in carefully
planned spots, perched splendidly on the hill top across Gurpur River. A
grotto of our Blessed Mother at the convent gate give the feelings of
welcome by the beautiful lady at the Rose bush. The once haunted barren
land is today a place teaming with life in the midst of beautiful greenery
all around. This is the realization of the dreams of our Founder.
Eco- Spirituality Implies Manual Work
Our planet earth is one of the most beautiful creations of God and He
entrusted it to you and me to cultivate and enjoy its fruits. Our body is
made up of this earth. Thus to love the mother earth is to love manual
work. Fr Founder always believed in doing manual work and instilled in
the Bethany Sisters to take up agriculture wherever possible. In his speech
on the occasion of the celebration of his Twin Jubilee he said, Let us not
be ashamed of manual work. Let us take the example of the Holy Family
and do manual work. I hope Bethany will outlive all these prejudices against
agriculture and manual work.8 Thus his very vision was that every sister
would work with the poor, the less marginalized and inspire them to use
their own land and God given earthly resources to cultivate what they
needed for their daily sustenance. He took an active interest in agriculture
as already mentioned.
On another occassion, speaking of the land at Gurpur he wrote a
letter to the sisters at Lisieux Convent, Puttur, If any of you are willing,
come and remain here. If you come, you must know how to dig, plough,
to take latiche udak, also to cut stones and build. Send me your application
soon.9 Thus he invites the sisters to interact with nature and preserve
and beautify nature. And in this beauty find the beauty of the creator.
7
8
9

Esperie BS, Bethany My Joy and My Crown (Mangalore: Bethany Publications, 2003) p. 38.
Ibid, p. 59.
Letter of Msgr RFC Mascarenhas, September 16, 1931, Bethany Generalate Archives.

20

Practical Solutions in Developing Ecological Consciousness


Since the environmental problems are human made, solutions to this
must come from us. From our value system we construct our attitudes,
and our life style depends on this. Environmental spirituality calls for
changes in life style and attitudes. Therefore, ecological consciousness
among us is necessary to safeguard the universe. It should challenge the
mechanical perception of the world. Cultivating an apt ecological
consciousness would help us to acknowledge the whole creation as an
expression of Gods love and our need to care for it. It should help us to
give up our greed and selfishness to enable us to be sensitive to the
harmony that exists in the community of earth. We are challenged by a
clarion call which resounds in our hearts to refresh and bring new life to
mother earth. If our founder were to revisit the world today he would say
the following to us:
1.

Train yourself in Faith Aspects


Our faith in God as the creator must define our relation with our
environment. It must be seen in our attitudes and in our living. In
living out our faith actively we need to train and attune ourselves
spiritually.

2.

Re-read Scriptures in Ecological Perspectives


Our reverential attitude towards earth stems from scriptures. However
we need to be careful not to read them taking out of their context. In
our efforts to free ourselves from our anthropocentric and
dominating attitudes we must read the scriptures through an
ecological eye. So far we read the scriptures keeping human person
as the centre, from now on let us read keeping God and His creation
as the centre.

3.

Faith in Action
To respond to the problems of environmental crisis we must exercise
our faith in concrete actions. Viewing crisis as an opportunity brings
our faith in action. Faith should prompt us to get involved in the planetsaving deeds. Besides praying psalms, put the psalms into practice.

4.

Leading an Eco-sensitive Life-style

21

A new way to relate to this bountiful but fragile planet is to adapt an


eco-friendly life style. As Christians we must acknowledge our
responsibility and reorient our life. Let us never be forgetful of the
fact that we are co-workers with God in protecting and restoring His
creation entrusted to us.
5.

Change in Consumption Pattern


First priority must be avoiding the unnecessary use of material.
Persons in this regard have to take personal responsibility. Many
aspects of life like clothing, food are to be monitored. Clothing should
be simple as per need and not as per the passing trends of fashion.
Food should be taken for our need and not for greed

6.

Avoid use of Plastic


Use of plastics is very hazardous for environmental health as well as
for individual health of humans as well as animals.

7.

Plant a Tree
Finally I would say our founder would be happy if each one could
plant a tree not for beauty or shade alone but plant it with pride
because a single tree can absorb approximately one-tenth of carbon
dioxide during its life time.

Conclusion
Recalling the title of our founders life story given by Sr Violette Unless
the Seed Die, I would say that he was a seed that fell into the bosom of
the mother earth and died that all may have a renewed life, spiritually,
ecologically and psychologically bringing forth fruit abundantly for the
kingdom. Hence, let us love, sing and glorify God being together with all
His creation. Love all of Gods creation, the whole and every grain of sand
in it. Love every leaf, every ray of Gods light. Love the animals, love the
plants, and love everything. Finally if we love everything, we will perceive
the divine mystery hidden in His creation. To conclude I would quote the
invitation of Pope Francis let us be protectors of creation, protectors of
Gods plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the
environment. Let us also be the passionate lover and protector of animals
and the environment and be responsible guardians of creation.

22

Bibliography
R. J. Raja, Eco-Spirituality (Bangalore: Seva Sadan Training, 1997).
Bertha BS (ed.), From the Lips of the Founder (Mangalore: Bethany
Publications, 1996).
M Lillis and M Miriam (eds.), To You My Daughters (Bangalore: Asian
Trading Corporation, 2014).
Esperie BS, Bethany My Joy and My Crown (Mangalore: Bethany
Publications, 2003).
Theresine BS, The Story of Rosa Mystica: Platinum Jubilee Souvenir,
1932-2007.
Letter of Msgr RFC Mascarenhas, September 16, 1931.

THE COMPASSIONATE PASTOR


Published twice a year, in July and December. No subscription. Donations
will be gratefully accepted to meet the expenses of printing, mailing
and the process of Canonization. Donations and offerings may be sent
to the address given below. Cheques/drafts may be made in favour
of: Cause of Msgr Raymond FC Mascarenhas. We invite you to
share your experiences for possible inclusion in this bulletin.

The Vice- Postulator


Cause of the Servant of God Raymond Mascarenhas
Bethany Convent, Kankanady Post
Mangalore 575002
Karnataka, India.
Managing Editor

23

A SEED THAT DARED TO DIE


Sr Anitha Stephen BS
A journey of thousand miles begins with a tiny step. Similarly a
small seed gives rise to a mighty tree. This has come true in the life of
Bethany, especially through the instrumentality of the Servant of God Mgr
RFC Mascarenhas. In the Gospel of St John we read unless a grain of
wheat falls into the earth and dies it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears
much fruit (Jn 12: 24). Here, Jesus speaks of the grain of wheat falling
into the ground and dying and producing much fruit. It brings forth the
idea of Jesus passion, death and its result the Resurrection. Through His
great sacrifice, sin is conquered and the Fathers love for humanity is
manifested. Therefore death is nothing but the glorification of the Father.
This great sacrifice tells us that falling into the ground and dying is the
only way for a fruitful living. Every seed has the potentiality for growth in
it, which is God given. We are called to sow the seed of love in the hearts
of others; sowing the seed of love with a friendly smile, a kind gesture, a
warm welcome, a little support, a little encouragement to the neglected
will slowly lead to the growth of Gods kingdom in others.1 That is what
our Lord Jesus Christ has done and taught us. And the same method is
followed by many great saints and personalities. Mother Teresa took a
daring step in her life, to work for the poor, seeing the miseries of the
people in the slums of Kolkata, had to strip herself of a comfortable and
secure life. She is known as the saint of the gutter, friend of friendless,
angel of mercy and the hope of the destitute. 2 John Bosco recognized
and loved and served God in the street urchin, whom he befriended.
Francis of Assisi jumped down from a horse to kiss the leper.3 How can
we forget the great deeds of our beloved Founder the Servant of God Mgr
RFC Mascarenhas? As iron is fashioned by fire in the oven, so in the fire
of suffering and under the weight of trials, he had to sacrifice himself.
Our Founder had shown to his spiritual daughters through his life
that pain and suffering is the key to real joy, without it there is no life. His
life was like that of a seed which has gone through continuous death and
1
2
3

Cf F Santhumayor, The Power of the Word (Orissa: Amar Vani Biblical Centre, 2007) p. 141.
J Moniz, No Greater Service Mother and Mahatma (Bandra: St. Paul publications, 1998) p. 60.
L G Lovasik, Saint Francis of Assisi (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co, 1980) p. 9.

24

brought life to others. Like the seed which is fallen on the ground to break
forth into life in hundred fold, our Founder had to die to himself in many
situations to begin the Congregation of Bethany in order to help many
young girls to do Gods work. He gave birth to Bethany in the face of
warm appreciation and bitter criticism. Along with Founder it is good to
look at the heroic steps of the younger four candidates who willingly gave
up their family, their sweetest, deepest and tenderest of human ties and
broke themselves for the sake of the kingdom. Founder recommended
the four into the hands of our Blessed Mother saying O Blessed Mother,
protect these children whom you have entrusted to me in all confidence,
for the extension of your Sons Kingdom. And the four under her care
multiplied into thousands to work in her Sons kingdom. I believe that our
beloved Founder continues to bring his spiritual daughters into the care
of the Blessed Mother. He took heroic step, to leap into the unknown
future to begin this mission under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Now
Bethany has grown into a sturdy tree in Gods garden, like a tree planted
near running streams, irrigated by the waters of sorrow and afflictions.
It is inspiring to listen to the words of our Founder who remarked Bethany
is the garden of our Lady, and I am only the gardener for the time being.
This statement is thought provoking to all of us. As the world is craving
for recognition, name and fame, here, our Founder walked anti clock
wise and showed the world the great virtue of humility and simplicity. It is
an apt time to examine our lives - how I magnify my little deeds in order
to get recognition, name and fame. Here RFC Mascarenhas becomes the
great teacher especially for all those who hunger for recognition. 4
Aristotle says suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great
calamity with cheerfulness not through insensitivity but through the
greatness of the mind. This was true in the life of our Founder. He became
a father and a doctor to the poor and needy who were suffering due to
small pox and cholera. He enjoyed being with people and liked to engage
in pleasant and uplifting conversations. In the event anyone became sick
or suffered bereavements at home, he was always at hand to comfort
them. Even at midnight there would be a knock on his door and he would
hurry to the bedside of the dying and sorrowing family. The bond was
such that they never hesitated to go to him when in need. The name of Fr
4

Cf Violette DSouza, Unless the Seed Die (Mangalore: Bethany Publication, 1982) pp. 33- 37.

25

Mascarenhas is still fresh in the memory of many. People at Udyavar on


the occasion of his departure described him as a good shepherd, who
sacrificed his life for his flock. 5 After Founders death one of his
parishioners from Bendur reminisced, It requires no efforts of the
imagination for us who knew and loved him, to go back in spirit to those
bygone days and see Father Mascarenhas walking along the crooked
streets and hidden alleyways where there was so much poverty. We can
still see him entering the homes for those in need and bringing them the
smile of his love and charity. A Compassionate person does not stand
still or ignore problems. We see in Founder a man who never turns away
when someone is in need. With compassionate heart he put his sympathy
into action and work to ease the suffering of others by helping to pay the
rent of families who were about to be evicted by their landlords, sought
work for the unemployed who were at their wits end, found homes for
children of indigent families, and when no schools were willing to receive
these children, he himself opened new schools and orphanages.6
Founder was like a seed which was broken while hearing the remarks
of the people Fr Mascarenhas sisters will die when he dies. This
statement must have pierced the heart of the Founder. Suffering due to
lack of resources, poverty, ill health and criticism of the people in and out
of the church, became part of Bethanys growing process, a sure sign
that it was the work of God.7 What a painful statement it was for him!
When the young sisters were stricken with Tuberculosis and were dying,
what might have been the agony of our Founder? Is it not the painful
experience of the seed which falls to the ground and dies? It was his
undaunted courage and deep faith in the Lord that sustained him to face
the bitter criticism and the raging anger of the people.8 Even when beset
by the difficulties and anxieties caused by lack of funds or other problems
he always spoke with kindness. This is very obvious when Sacred Heart
High School building at Kulshekar which was almost completed collapsed
in heavy rain. The sister headmistress gave the Founder the distressing
news, but his kind and calm reply was: My child, if the Lord does not
want it, we do not want it either. Let us see what he wants from us. Let us
5
6
7
8

Cf Violette DSouza, Unless the Seed Die, pp. 17- 19.


Ibid, pp.74- 75.
Ibid, p. 36.
Ibid, p. 19.

26

offer him the collapsed building, brick by brick. He was never discouraged;
rather he went into his bed room, sat at his desk, put his head in his
hands and stayed there praying for an hour. Finally He looked up and
asked about the extent of the damage of the building. He was told that it
was beyond recovery, that everything was a big pile of destruction. When
the sister pointed out to him that the bills on the collapsed building were
still due for payment amazingly the Founder smiled and said, We always
draw from our bank in heaven. Our Lord and Blessed Mother are very rich
and their wealth is ours for the asking.9 His filial trust in our Blessed
mother is astonishing that he used to tell the sisters when we feel weary
of lifes problems, let us pick up the rosary and pray it meditatively. 10 His
deep faith in God is noteworthy all through his life especially when he was
in the work of creating a parish. When he was in financial distress one
would see him praying before the tabernacle or saying the rosary, expecting
in full trust that his need would be taken care of. He proved that he who
knows how to suffer can dare everything. Founder had adapted and made
his own, the saying of his favourite saint, Teresa of Avila: Raymond and
a couple of rupees can do nothing; but Raymond, a couple of rupees and
God, can do everything. 11 Therefore he could say, I have planted Bethany
by the running waters, waters of sorrow and affliction have continuously
nurtured Bethany. What an agony he had during the Second World War,
since money and food was rationed. 12 But his confidence in God was
outstanding. As the farmer faces several setbacks to harvest the yield so
the Founder faced the same in his life.
The measure of Founders sacrifice is the measure of his love. Like
St Paul he constantly drew attention to the fact that the suffering of the
present time is not worth compared with the glory to come. And he
never tired of reminding his spiritual daughters that when we suffer we
are sure of being close to Jesus and our Blessed Mother. 13Towards the
end of his life when surrounded by many controversies and subjected to
a great deal of humiliations, the thought of his sorrowful mother standing
on Calvary at the foot of the Cross strengthened and consoled him. To
9
10
11
12
13

Ibid, p. 77.
Ibid, p. 71
Ibid, p. 23.
Ibid, p. 86.
Ibid., p. 95.

27

one of the sisters who wrote to sympathize with him a year before his
death, he replied: dont worry, my child, about my sufferings. It is true
that I am going through very difficult times, but I am not alone. I am at
the foot of the Cross on Calvary with my Blessed Mother. Who can say
these precious words at such a distressing situation? It is only the one
who is attuned to God and who has strong faith in God who can utter
these holy words when he or she is going through agonizing situation.
There was nothing in this world that he really desired, except God. 14
Deprived of all human consolations he sought comfort in prayer before
the Eucharistic Lord and his Blessed Mother.
Mgr RFC Mascarenhas is a great model for each one of us. He
teaches that every Good Friday is followed by an Easter. So his life
challenges us to die to our selfishness, self righteous attitude, individualism,
likes and dislikes and so on and become other centered persons. That
will bring hope, life and happiness to the other. Therefore, like the seed,
I am called to die to myself in order to give life to many. When we endure
patiently, it builds up our character, purifies our hearts, expands our souls,
and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the
children of God; and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation,
that we gain the education which will make us more like our Father and
Mother in heaven. In the hour of trial faith brings light, while suffering
and weakness make it evident that we do not proclaim ourselves; we
proclaim Jesus Christ as Lor (2 Cor 4:5).
Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which
guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who
suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather,
his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness
which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. In
Christ, God himself wishes to share this path with us and to offer us his
gaze so that we might see the light within it. Christ is the one who, having
endured suffering, is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2).

14

Violette DSouza, Unless the Seed Die, pp. 71- 72.

28

SERVANT OF GOD RFC MASCARENHAS, A


WOUNDED HEALER
Rev Fr Thomas C.D., O.P.
The theme of the wounded healer is central to understanding the life
of Jesus. He made his wounds-both-physical and mental- channels of
healing and salvation for humanity. In and through his wounds he saved
us. This we proclaim on every Good Friday. United with Jesus, every
Christian is called to convert the wounds he/she is privileged to experience
into opportunities of healing and grace.
In many of the Biblical personalities we can discover such grace filled
moments. In the life of Abraham we can see two special moments when
he took painful decisions- wounded decisions- so that there might be
greater areas of growth and peace. Separating from Lot was in view of
more peaceful existence as the two families were growing in numbers.
Sending away the slave girl with her son, with his son was a painful
decision in view of peace in the family - that his wife may be at peace and
relaxed. In Moses too we can see a similar moment when he was told
that he would not step into the Promised Land, but rather he would be
given an opportunity to view this land from mount Nebo. He did not curse
God for being so cruel, rather he only praised God for being just and
faithful (Dt 32, Ex 15). He was a wounded man- not really completing the
work of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. But his wound was
a healing wound.
In the New Testament we have Peter being warned that he would fail
but after his rising, his getting up, he should be an instrument for
strengthening the brethren. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to
have you (Lk 22:31). Peter is asked to convert his weakness into an
opportunity of strengthening his companions, in a spirit of understanding
and supporting, keeping in mind that he himself had fallen and the Lord
was very kind and understanding. St Paul also experienced that call to be
a wounded healer. When a thorn was given him to keep him humble, he
made three attempts to get rid of it, but the Lord told him that he was not
taking away the thorn, rather his grace was enough for him (2 Cor.
12:7). In other words the Lord was helping Paul to be a wounded healer.
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So, we are in good company of people who were wounded healers. Mgr
Raymond Mascarenhas too was truly a wounded healer.
The Book of Hebrews tells us something about the faith of great
people. These all died in faith, not having received what was promised,
but having seen it and greeted it from afar and having acknowledged that
they were strangers and exiles on earth (11:3). Having seen it from afar
they were satisfied and were at peace.
Mgr Raymond Mascarenhas wanted some real changes in the life of
the Church. There were also many other holy men and women who wanted
changes and growth in the Church. St John XXIII was one of them. He
called for the II Vatican Council, in order to renew the Church. The Council
is Gods answer to the dreams of these people. But before the beautiful
renewal plans of the Council were brought in, Raymond died. But, he saw
these from afar and rejoiced. He wanted to give importance to local
language, local culture and spirituality, local religious Congregation adapted
to the needs of the people and the place.
But, to be able to see from afar and be satisfied needs courage and
faith. One has to be a wounded healer. He knew that his waiting, his
attempts, his dreams would bear fruit, because he had shared in the
vision of the Lord.
In founding a new religious Congregation in view of the needs of the
local Church he had to wait in patience for the full realization. Here again,
he saw from afar and rejoiced. He was a wounded healer. There was
healing in his wound of courageous and peaceful waiting.
As disciples and daughters of this great visionary, every Bethany Sister
is invited to share in this experience of being a wounded healer. They
should have plenty of opportunities for seeing from afar and waiting
regarding their mission, the areas of apostolate, community organization
and personal matters. It would be a pity if they miss a privileged opportunity
and grace to be a wounded healer, in imitation of their father and founder.
May this great holy man, be raised to the honours of the altar at the
earliest.

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THE SPROUTING OF RELIGIOUS


VOCATION WITHIN ME
Sr Marie Ange BS
The Servant of God, Mgr RFC Mascarenhas started Bethany Convent
and Primary School at Mudigere in 1951. My parents had settled there
after they moved from Belthangady, my birth place. They shifted me
from Government Primary School and admitted me there to Class II. Along
with some other children, I too was selected to welcome our Fr Founder
as he was going up to the stage on the inauguration day. Dressed in a
white frock with a plate of flowers in hand, I was made to stand along
with other children. He came along with some sisters and eminent
personalities, smiling. He was clad in a long, black cassock, a specially
patterned black cap and had long, flowing, white beard. It was a grand
sight for us to behold!
As the gathering gave a thunderous applause, we strew flowers on
him, as a sign of warm welcome. Some of the tiny flowers got stuck in
his long, flowing beard. Seeing that, we children began to laugh. He too
joined us in our laughter, and took notice of me. When he reached the
spot where I was standing, he stopped. He lifted me up, kissed me and
blessed me and placed me down. Oh, what joy I felt then!
Adjacent to our class room, there was a chapel. Above the tabernacle,
the sisters had fixed a big and a beautiful picture of Bethany Saints, with
Jesus seated on a chair. Mary was sitting at His feet, on a stool, gazing at
Jesus. Martha stood close to Jesus, with a basket in one hand and pointing
another hand at Mary. Lazarus could be seen through the window, busy
writing. Everyday at prayer time and during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
once a week there, I used to gaze at that attractive and beautiful picture.
I used to tell Jesus to make me sit at His feet like Mary. It was this picture
and the incident of welcome to Mgr Raymond which created in me a
desire to be a Bethany Sister. This desire grew in me, year after year.
Later, I learnt that, that picture was selected by our Founder to be kept
and honoured in every community of our Congregation.
What I am today, I gratefully attribute it to that desire, which made
me join this Bethany Congregation, founded by my beloved Mgr Raymond
F C Mascarenhas. May God raise him soon to the honours of the altar, is
my earnest prayer.
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FROM THE HORSES MOUTH


ON OUR SAINT IN THE MAKING MGR RAYMOND F C MASCARENHAS
Mr James DSouza
Emotion had the better of me for a moment as I wrote I shed a tear
for you.for I know what you missed. It was addressed to revered
Superior General of Bethany, Sr Wilberta while thanking her for the
complimentary copy of the book To You My Daughters which she had
sent me.
To begin with, her comments in the Foreword to the book I did not
have the privilege of seeing him had moved me to tears, while a couple
of days later I came across a similar regret expressed by the Assistant
Superior General, Sr Lillis, in her editorial to the July issue of The
Compassionate Pastor. My thoughts went back to the year 2010
commemorating the 50th death anniversary of the Founder, at the end of
every lecture that I delivered at the Provincial Houses, both in Mangalore
and in Bangalore, the hundreds of Bethanyites aspirants, postulants,
novices, professed sisters et all that came to hear me from all parts of
the two provinces, flocking around me chanting in a chorus Tell us more
about our Founder; tell us more about our Founder. It was overwhelmingtheir insatiable hunger for more and more knowledge on the holy man
that made me accept the reality that my humble attempt at satisfying this
hunger, even partially, through my writings on the great man over the last
five years has been trifle inadequate, as is evident from an e-mail I just
received from the superior of one of the houses in the Foreign Delegation
based in Europe wishing me speedy recovery from my present illness
and waiting to read your articles in the Chronicle for more and more real
knowledge to increase our love for our Founder.
To be in his presence was sheer bliss! Yes, that is what you missed,
or, was it? No, wait a minute. Let us go down to Bethany Motherhouse
to Mgr Raymonds cottage which had been his residence for nineteen
years, the cradle of all his thoughts and activities as also the crucible for
his sorrows and tears.
This cottage has a main entrance facing North and a side - door
facing the East that leads directly to his office-cum-bedroom. I almost
always used this side-door whenever I went to meet him. At the main
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entrance
all
footwear remains
outside indicating
the sacredness of
the place. Enter, and
a large life size
cut-out of Mgr RFC
greets you and you
drop to your knees
with the profound
feeling of having
encountered the Mgr Raymonds cottage which had been his residence for
nineteen years, the cradle of all his thoughts and
person you came to
activities as also the crucible for his sorrows and tears.
see, in flesh and for
real. Such is the power and the charisma, the depth of holiness that
radiates from him and envelopes you (Something I witnessed and
experienced seventy five years ago). Then the bedroom - and the feeling
is ecstatic as if some supernatural spirit is surrounding you; his allpervading presence everywhere and in everything you encounter, as if
you expect to see him any moment; maybe at his book- shelf looking for
some book or file or just relaxing on that large antic of an easy-chair (I
have glorified this room in two of my writings published already).
Through the side-door, look towards the Generalate building, and
there you see the full-size, snow- white figure staring straight into your
eyes and you are elated with joy and animated with self belief that you
hear yourself whispering Thank you and Good-bye, Father,` and a `God
Bless you` from him in response. And you return asking yourself loud
wow what is it I have missed?
Am I contradicting myself? I would eagerly solicit my readers views
on this article and the very delicate, very emotive but beautiful subject I
have touched upon. It could be the basis for another piece on the subject,
God willing. The unwritten message, if not caught your imagination already,
is my earnest desire, knowing the mindset and aspirations of the young
members of the Congregation that each one of them is afforded the
opportunity to visit the Bethany Mother house to get a feeling of their
Founder as out-lined or caricatured by me in this write-up. It is, however,
heartening to learn that this is happening already.
Meanwhile, may our beloved Servant of God, Mgr RFC continue to
intercede for us and May God Bless you all.
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FAVOURS RECEIVED
Job Obtained
We prayed through the intercession of Fr Founder to grant a
good job to our nephew Vijay. He has received this favour in November
2014.
From the bottom of our hearts we thank God and our Founder for
his intercession. In gratitude we have offered Holy Mass.
With grateful hearts we remain ever faithful
Sr Susheela BS and Sr Luisa BS

Thanks for Good Result


I Noela T. Correia, a student of Presentation Convent High School,
Margao, scored distinction in my S.S.C exam through the powerful
intercession of Servant of God, RFC Mascarenhas. My heartfelt thanks
to him.
I pray to God to grant him the honours of the altar soon.
Noela Tereza Correia
H.No. 828/I, Mugalli
Sao Jose de Areal
Salcette, Goa.

Permanent Visa Obtained


Our God is great!... Finally good news... I got permanent visa to
stay back in Australia. Thank you so much for upholding me in your
valuable prayers.
Gisha
Australia
(Sent via email)

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CONTRIBUTORS
SR NAMRITA BS
Sr Namrita BS hails from Ernakulum, Kerala.
She was involved in teaching and formation
ministries ever since she completed Bachelor of Arts
(B.A.)degree at St Agnes College, Mangalore, and
Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) at St Ann's College,
Mangalore, respectively. She obtained a degree in
Theology (B.Th) from Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore and a Master`s
degree in Spirituality from Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune. She has
also done Canon Law for one year at St Peter's Pontifical Institute,
Bangalore.
Sr Namrita was Pre-novitiate directress at Nazareth Home, Bajpe,
for four years and Novice Directress at Rosa Mystica Novitiate, Gurpur,
for two years. Presently she is Assistant Tertian Directress, at Rosa
Mystica Tertiate, Gurpur, Karnataka.

SR SHALET MENDONCA BS
Sr Shalet Mendonca hails from Belman, Karnataka. She holds a
Bachelor's Degree in Theology from St Joseph's
Inter-diocesan Seminary, Mangalore, and Master's
Degree in Ethics from KU Leuven University, Belgium.
She did Formator's Course for three consecutive
summers under the Institute of Formation,
Bangalore.
Sr Shalet has worked in the fields of education
and formation. She was Asst. Novice Directress and Superior at Bethany
Novitiate, Bogadi, for three years and as Directress for the three months
Juniorate Programme at Bethany Motherhouse, Mangalore.
Presently, she is pursuing Doctorate Degree in Eco-Spirituality at
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, Berkeley, USA.

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SR ANITHA STEPHEN BS
Sr Anitha Stephen BS, hails from Kerala. She
obtained a Bachelors Degree in Arts (B.A) at Roshni
Nilaya, Mangalore and a Bachelors Degree in
Theology (B.Th) from Institute of Mater Dei, Goa.
She has done the Formators Course under the
Institute of Formators, Bangalore.
She has rendered services as a clerical staff in the school and as
Assistant Pre-novitiate Directress. At present she is doing Licentiate
in Missionary Spirituality at Urbaniana University, Rome.
Mr James DSouza is a devoted elder and
octogenarian admirer of the Servant of God. He knew
Mgr Raymond as a young boy and was his altar
server at Bendur Church for long; later too he had a
lively contact for a long time. Mr James DSouza
exerts every effort to make Raymond known to the
people. Now living in Bangalore he contributes much
to the Cause of Mgr RFC Mascarenhas and is eager to see Mgr
Mascarenhas raised to the altars early. His enthusiasm is unique.
Sr Marie Ange BS was born at Belthangady, but
her family migrated to Mudigere in her childhood.
She has been an educator all her life and served as
Headmistress in many schools in Karnataka. She
was also a councilor to the Regional Superiors for
fourteen years. A gifted writer, she contributes to
several newspapers and magazines in Konkani and
Kannada. She has published a book of Kannada poems last year. At
present she lives at Bethany Motherhouse, Mangalore spending her
time in praying, reading and writing.

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