JPIC Conference India September 2018
“Migrant Workers with Asian Realities”
Need to strengthen grassroots response to migrant workers
An article by Sr. Justine Gitanjali Senapati SSJA which first appeared in “Matters India”
The recent Regional Conference on Migrant Workers with Asian realities was the third in the series of the meetings that dealt with the issues on migration.
The September 9-11 meeting focused on the Asian context with the theme of “Migrant Workers: An Asia-Pacific Experience.”
The first Conference was held in Rome in 2016, the second in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2017.
The New Delhi conference held at Don Bosco Provincial House, Okhla, was sponsored and organized by the Congregations of St. Joseph (CSJ) with eight other major International Religious NGOs working in the United Nations (UN) at New York — Fondazione Proclade Internazionale – Onlus (Claretians), Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Loreto, International Presentation Association, Passionists International, Sisters of Charity Federation, UNANIMA International and VIVAT International.
The national co-organizers were Caritas India, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Labour Office, New Delhi, Montfort Social Institute Hyderabad, Streevani Pune and Odisha Regional Forum for Social Action.
The response of the 161 participants for this conference was overwhelming. The richness of the insights, wisdom and experiences of the resource persons, speakers, the enthusiasm and participation of all the participants joined in making the event successful and memorable which fulfilled the primary goal of this event, namely, providing the space for conversation among us around the issues of migrant workers and internally displaced persons due to corporate, conflict, environment and poverty.
The Sisters of St. Joseph are present in 22 of the 29 Indian states. We are committed to integrate our decisions with the outcome statement from this conference and will work with it.
Our members realized that we have a greater responsibility in our constituencies. Many of them expressed that the conference was very educative and informative. It was challenging to some because for many it was a new topic since India denies that we do have migrants and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in our country - but in reality nearly 2.4 million people are internally displaced in India alone
Delegates of St Joseph’s Congregations
According to the report of UN by “Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre,” the conflict, violence and disaster caused 31.1 million new internally displacements in 2016
My sisters were very grateful to the organizing committee for this timely conference in bringing the issue alive and creating the opportunity to connect the grassroots realities with such international organizations as the United Nations. We hope that, as many requested, there will be an opportunity for a follow-up conference in the near future.
The many positive feedbacks we have received from respective participants also confirmed the success of the event and affirmed a call for bold commitment needed for further collaboration and not competition.
The hope was that the outcome of this workshop would enhance our advocacy at the global policy processes within the UN system. The UN negotiations on Global Compact (Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration) and the 2030 Agenda’s robust and ambitious dream, ‘leave no one behind,’ cannot be met without its realization for all, especially vulnerable populations of migrants and refugees, those of irregular and undocumented status, whose living conditions, human dignity and human rights are neglected by prevalent development and other social policies.
The drafting committee is at work with a statement which will be circulated soon and will be a working document for the participants for finding a way forward. The statement should help us in realizing the other significant goal of the conference, namely, to deepen our individual knowledge of the issues so as to strengthening our response at the grassroots; to understand migration and migrant workers in global and Asian contexts; to develop a deeper understanding of the policies connected with migration and migrant workers in Asia; to promote and strengthen collaboration and networking at local, national, regional and global levels.
A report on this conference was also published in Global Sisters’ Report (http://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/ministry-migration/faith-based-groups-address-migration-issues-asia-pacific-region-55408)
A day with the lawyers learning the law, rights and duties
Law affects us every day because they are the rules for how we live in our society. Sometimes our everyday issues can become legal problems especially when we live in a multicultural, multifaceted and complex society. Knowing one’s and the institution’s legal rights, duties and responsibilities will help us in decision making, fighting for justice and raising voices against unjust policies. Realizing the importance of the legal education and in order to have a deeper understanding of the laws by which we are bound in our institutions, the Province organized a two day session with the lawyers of Apex Court. About 15 Sisters who are in charge of schools in the Province, participated in the seminar.
Mr. B.D Dass, the Apex Court lawyer who was the chief speaker at the sessions, guided the Sisters through various laws and legal bills passed by the Honorable Supreme Court of India that have direct implications for our Educational institutions. It was an eye opener for the participants to hear about the laws that can directly and indirectly affect our institutions and its running. Sisters also raised questions about the problems faced in our schools which arise from parents, teachers and students which sometimes are very complicated. He gently guided the Sisters through various legal rights with which we as minority institutions are endowed and how we need to make use of them.
The sessions also explained clarified the newly proposed service rule for the Educational institutions of the Province. The booklet contains guidelines, rules, regulations and service conditions for good governance and administration. It was prepared in accordance with the norms and laws of the country. The two day session concluded with a fervent prayer that all our educational institutions may be temples of great learning. It was indeed a fruitful session.
ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE FOR WOMEN (A),
VISAKHAPATNAM, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA
GRATITUDE IS THE FAIREST BLOSSOM WHICH SPRINGS FROM THE SOUL
Every celebration is an experience; the external fades away but the memory lingers and echoes in the very depths of our hearts. We are aware that jubilees are milestones on the journey of life and reminders of God’s continued fidelity and love.
The 2nd July 2018 was the memorable day when we recalled, with gratitude and joy, the path which the St. Joseph’s College for Women (A) has travelled in the past 60 years in the city of Visakhapatnam. We thank the Almighty for accompanying the institute in marvellous ways, all through these years and keeping it safe and productive in His vineyard. We have experienced the hand of God in joys and sorrows, in good times and in hard times but the college has served the young women in the best way possible. With the help of dedicated staff, the charism of our Congregation has been kept alive.
The solemn Mass for the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated at St. Joseph’s Parish Church, Waltair. The main celebrant was His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Mallavarapu Prakash, the Archbishop of Visakhapatnam. His sermon was inspirational. He spoke of dedication, motivation and also the care which the staff take in moulding and guiding the young women to become good citizens of our country according to the mission of Christ. Thirty five priests, together with many Religious, friends, well-wishers, benefactors, staff and students joined in the Eucharistic celebration which was led very prayerfully by our staff and students.
Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious meal in the midst of the glittering lights of the college building and each person present received a gift. We thank Almighty God for making use of us so meaningfully and beautifully in allowing us to reach out to the young women of today’s world Praised be Jesus Christ.
Inter Provinces Novices Programme
The inter Novitiate programme of the Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar Provinces is held every year with each Province hosting it alternately. It is a time of joy and excitement for the Novices who look forward to it eagerly. This year it took place in Cuttack from July 2nd to 7th. As the Novices from Visakhapatnam arrived they were welcomed with an arathi, a song and warm words. Everyone was smiling.
We began our programme on 2nd July with a meaningful prayer service based on our Charism which was led by Chandini and Banitha. We invited the light of the Holy Spirit as Srs. Leena, Lizy, Ann, Nirmala Simon and Premanjali lit the lamp. It was a glorious morning with sweet voices singing aloud the graces of God. The prayer was the best introduction to our reflection on the topic of Charism. We asked the powerful intercession of St. Joseph and Fr. Medaille and then Sr. Leena said a few words of welcome which inspired us to make use of the opportunity that was being given to us by the Congregation.
Sr. Lizy had given up her time so as to give us these sessions on the Charism of our Congregation. These have inspired us to:
- be women of encounter in humility
- go forth first to meet the poorest, the voiceless and those who are left out
- be women of openness who are welcoming and sharing
- live double and total union with God
- live in communion and to work towards communion
These were the highlights which increased our faith and deepened our relationship with God. Sr. Ann and the Novices concluded our sessions together with a meaningful prayer service, at the end of which we had an evaluation of the gathering. Afterwards we put on a small cultural programme for the community Sisters. It was an exciting evening with fun and happiness. It was also a time for expressing our gratitude to God and the Sisters of the community. To increase our
joy even further and also to refresh ourselves, we had an outing to Bhubaneswar, Jokalandi, Nandankana and the Science Park.
We take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Sr. Linette and Sr. Vianney for arranging this programme to strengthen our relationship of unity and communion. Thank you.
The Novices, Cuttack.