Hospital Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis
..‘‘You are precious in my eyes...I love you’’ (Is 43:4)
I , Sr.Preethi Kolenchery, was born on May 31st,1973, in a village called Pallukunnu, Ernakulam District, Kerala State, in India.
The sweet memories of my childhood remain afresh always, living with five brothers and a sister were very enjoyable and experienced uniqueness in everyone’s personality. I always remember my father being very strict with himself and all the children, hardworking and generous towards the needy whereas my mother was very prayerful, kind and caring. I, add again “we, children never used to have supper without completing our evening Prayers and the Rosary”. I have witnessed the struggles of my parents to educate seven children, to bring them up according to the status of the society of that time. Being an ordinary farmer, my father along with my mother could persevere in everything they did. I gratefully thank God whenever I think of them. “Trust in God and Trust in yourself’’ is the motivation, they have poured on me.
The ‘Kolenchery Family’is blessed with many Religious Fathers and Sisters. I see often my cousin brothers and sisters who are religious, visit my family whenever they come for home holidays. I truly believe, God calls us to religious life in many ordinary ways and various occasions. The way I entered our Congregation was through my uncle who is the Priest in St.Pallottine Religious Congregation. As my Uncle arrived for his home holidays, I expressed my desire to become a religious Sister in any of the missionary Congregations like the many of my cousin Sisters in North India. He was very happy to share about the ‘‘Medical Sisters of St.Francis’’ at Raipur and he knew the Sisters very well. I was so excited, within a week I got ready with certificate from Parish priest, buying some new dresses, saying bye to my friends. It was touching, the previous day of my coming, my father quietly called me in a room and said it is your decision to become a Sister not my will, when you feel you can’t manage it, “ our front door is always open for you…you are welcome”.
Not knowing what was in front of me, I courageously stood by my conviction and I always Trusted God and responded to His call and joined the Congregation on September14th, 1992.
My religious formation period of one year candidacy, one year postulancy and two years of novitiate were the remarkable signs of personal and Psycho-spiritual growth in my life. I always felt at home and enjoyed the older and younger Sisters Company, sharing and caring and learned many things for the future. My Sister in-charges of the formation period were the instruments for shaping and molding force in my religious life. Having experienced personally God in all the events of my life both in joys and sorrows and doubts and difficulties, with conviction I committed my life to God on January 28th, 1997. After having six years of temporary vowed life, I totally said ‘Yes’ through my Final profession on May 19th, 2003.
In 2001, I finished my study for Bachelor’s degree for Social Work, and worked for one year of the work of this area. For one year I was In-charge for Candidates. And I studied further for the Master’s degree of Social Work and worked for a project of Child Focused Community Development Project for two years. Then I attend a program of “Mission Orientation” in 2008, intending to be a missionary in Tanzania.
My missionary life in Tanzania has it’s own joys and challenges. I can’t count on them. It’s a joy for me to live for, with, by and among the poor people at Kemondo ,Bukoba Diocese, Tanzania. I noticed that the biggest disease in Tanzania is not HIV/AIDS or Malaria, but it’s for being unloved, unwanted and uncared orphan and poor children and youth who have lost their right to live, education and health. And in all these situations by being one with, supporting and empowering them in all their felt need as a loving Sister, I witness God’s visible sign of love is the real joy in my missionary living. It’s a challenge to live in an unknown place, people, language, multi-cultural and inter-cultural situations in which I commit my Franciscan way of life intentionally.
My prayer and community life is the source and strength of my living the daily Gospel with the people as an active Franciscan contemplative. I’m proud to be a member of our rich International Franciscan Community. As I continue to love and serve God’s people, may I be an inspiring channel of God’s love to everyone, I pray.