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Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre: Celebrating a Decade of Dedication

Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre celebrated their 10th anniversary on 15th June 2024, with the theme “The Heart and the Hands”. For the past decade, they served vulnerable members of society, including migrant families, tribal communities, slum dwellers, and at-risk adolescents. Sr. Monica Suchiang ibvm, who have just finished as their Director, gave  a beautiful Gratitude Note that was published in their June Newsletter. We are also publishing it here in full.

I must say, it is gratitude – an abounding sense of gratitude – that overwhelms me as I stand before you this evening. Gratitude for the incredible journey we have shared over the past decade. This journey began with the inspiration of late Sister Cyril Mooney. Her life exemplified selfless dedicated service to the vulnerable sections of society. Sister Cyril’s legacy continues to guide us, and I would like to place on record my profound gratitude to her.

It was Sister Anita Braganza, formerly the head of the Loreto Sisters’ South Asian Province, who entrusted me with the mission of carrying forward Sr Cyril’s vision ten years ago. Initially, I felt overwhelmed, like a small boat facing a vast ocean. But then, I realized I wasn’t alone. Each of you, with your unwavering support and dedication, became my compass, my sail, and my anchor. Your steadfast support became the strong winds that filled my sails, guiding me through the roughest waters. Together, we have journeyed, navigated challenges and celebrated milestones over the last ten years. What an amazing journey! What an amazing company! What an amazing partnership it has been — all for the welfare of our vulnerable brothers and sisters in society and for the greater glory of God.

For philanthropic programs to reach larger grounds and assist more vulnerable sections of society effectively, they need formal, institutionalized, and specialized attention and handling. Therefore, in 2014, we established the Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre (KMWSC) as a non-governmental and non-profit philanthropic organization registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961. Since then, it has been an eventful journey for all of us at KMWSC. Eventful, because of the many challenges we have faced.

I recall wrestling with scanty resources, handling numerous legal procedures, navigating societal indifference and criticism, and many more obstacles. Together, we have persevered and continued to serve our mission. Every challenge made us more ingenious and innovative. Every hurdle made us more determined and hardworking. Every instance of societal indifference and criticism made us more self-effacing and resilient.

The journey has been eventful, not only because of the challenges we faced but also because of your constant support and assistance and God’s boundless blessings. Together with you, we have been able to transform challenges into opportunities for furthering our service wherever required of us. Throughout this journey, we have experienced numerous instances of joy and fulfillment as well. We have witnessed lives being transformed, dreams being realized, and hope being restored.

Our intervention in society (through programs like educating underprivileged children, empowering vulnerable women, providing healthcare services, rescuing trafficked women and children, and caring for the women in red-light districts) has helped us to script many stories of success and triumph. Every such story has been our reward. Every such story has been a cause for celebration. Every such story has affirmed the impact of our intervention in society. Every such story has remained a source of further inspiration for us to continue our service with greater passion and commitment.

Therefore, joy and gratitude, for us, has not been an outcome of our work; it has been an intrinsic part of our mission and our journey. It is this joyful journey that we are celebrating with you. As we celebrate this momentous occasion, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the dedicated team of staff and volunteers who are the lifeblood of KMWSC. Your steadfast commitment fuels every philanthropic mission we embark on. For your invaluable contributions, now may I invite you, the entire KMWSC team, to join me on stage for a well-deserved round of applause?

Your commendable commitment to serving the marginalized and vulnerable of our society is truly inspiring. Day in and day out, you go above and beyond, pouring your hearts and souls into your work. This outstanding dedication embodies the very spirit of compassion and service that defines KMWSC. I am deeply moved by your remarkable resilience and commitment. You never shy away from the daunting challenges you face, be it the mornings that seem insurmountable, or the moments when giving up feels like the easiest option. Always, you persevere with remarkable
strength and dedication.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the world retreated indoors, risking your lives, along with me, you stepped out on the front lines, continuing to serve those in need – providing food, medicine, clothes, and every possible assistance. Words fail to express my gratitude for your incredible service. You are the heart and soul of this organization, and I am honoured to work alongside you. Thank you very much.

To our valued benefactors and supporters, I say, I am profoundly grateful to you for your generosity and unfaltering belief in our cause. Your contributions directly translate to positive change in our society. Because of you, numerous individuals in our community now have access to better nutrition, healthcare, education, employment, housing, and the opportunity for a brighter future. Your continued support is instrumental in sustaining all our philanthropic undertakings and ensuring we can continue fulfilling our mission for years to come. And remember the words from the book of Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.” May God continue to shower his choicest blessings upon you. Thank you, our esteemed benefactors and supporters.

I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to all the Loreto Sisters, both in India and abroad, who have always remained a community of steadfast support and encouragement. You certainly have been instrumental in shaping our passion for KMWSC’s mission. Thank you, my dear sisters. I want to express my deepest gratitude to each one of you from different parts of our country and the world. Your encouragement, support, suggestions, contributions and everything you have brought to our shared vision and mission for a better society has been instrumental in making this journey incredibly exciting. Thank you for everything, more immortality, for your priceless partnership this vision and mission.

On a personal level, for me, this has been a transformative journey – a journey of self-discovery, of growth, and of invaluable human connection that have profoundly impacted the core of who I am. This journey has taught me lessons on humanity, life, and human destiny that no textbook could ever impart. It has also shown me what it means to be a Loreto Sister in the present world. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be part of this noble enterprise called KMWSC and its mission.

As the saying goes, “hope is a waking dream.” Trusting in the power of hope to keep our aspirations alive and motivate us to achieve our goals, it is time that I hand over the reins of KMWSC to a visionary leader who shares our deep gratitude for the past and persistent hope for KMWSC’s future. Sister Biviyana Lepcha will assume responsibility as the new Director and Secretary of KMWSC on 25 July 2024. I have full confidence that she, along with this dedicated team, will continue to accomplish great feats of service in pursuit of our shared vision and

As I move on from here, I will carry with me invaluable lessons and cherished memories linked to KMWSC and its mission. Together, we have made a difference, and I have no doubt that your continued support and dedication will ensure KMWSC’s mission flourishes for years to come.

Author: Sr. Monica Suchiang ibvm

Read their Newsletter HERE.

Read their Annual Report HERE.