Sr. Xavier – Ratna Mary Polamarasetty
of Narava, Andhra Pradesh
who died at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Maryland
on 18th April 2022, aged 88 years, 65 of Religious Profession.
The words of St Paul, “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith” describe Sr. Xavier, who was a true missionary soul and who has accomplished her mission here on earth and has gone home to meet her Lord and Master!
Sr. Xavier, whose maiden name was Polamarasetty Ratna Mary was born on 11th July 1934 in Narava, a remote village in Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh. She lost her mother 3 days after her birth but she was brought up with much love and affection by her father and grandparents. When she was 4 and a half year’s old, she was admitted in St. Joseph’s Boarding, Salur. From class 1 to 8 she studied in St. Theresa’s School, Salur and passed out her 9th class from the Municipal High School, Visakhapatnam. After this she pursued her Higher-Grade Teachers’ Training at Phirangipuram, Guntur District.
Sister wanted to join the Sisters of St. Ann’s of Phirangipuram but, the then late Bishop Baud of Visakhapatnam directed her to join the Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy, Visakhapatnam. Thus, she received her vocation to the family of St. Joseph through Bishop Baud. Sister entered the Novitiate on 29th January, 1955 and made her First Profession on 17th April 1957and was given the religious name, Sr. Xavier. Sister made her Final Profession on 17th January, 1967.
Sr. Xavier rendered her generous service in various capacities but more especially in the field of education in Salur, Bobbili, S.Kota, Waltair and Maryland communities. She was leading an active life in Waltair since 1996 and due to ill health joined the Nursing Home Community in 2012.
When we look back at the 65 years of her life with us, we see that she led an exuberant life - a life befitting the qualities of a true daughter of St. Joseph our Patron and Fr. Medaille our Founder. How is it possible put in a nut-shell, the essence of a life so generously and fully lived. Our Founder Fr. Medaille left us with many maxims – one of which seems to sum up Sr. Xavier’s life: “In works of zeal, the distinctive mark of your profession, imitate those who are more zealous. Let your desire reach out to the whole world and make it perfect. Have a truly humble and courageous spirit which will urge you to do all, and to suffer all, and to undertake everything to promote God’s glory and your neighbour’s salvation”. The eighty-eight years of life that Sr. Xavier lived, she lived to the full.
Like her patron saint Francis Xavier, she lived her life with zeal and missionary spirit. During her professional career as a teacher, she encouraged many poor students to join the school, introducing many new methods of teaching and thus instilling in them interest in studies. Creativity in teaching was her hallmark for which she won the Best Teacher’s National Award when she was in Salur. Besides teaching secular studies, she nurtured within herself a special interest in Faith Formation of children and adults.
During the vacations she loved to tour around villages, catechising and strengthening the faith of the people. It was her motto to spend 2 hours daily in catechising the villagers. Though Sr. Xavier retired from her teaching profession at the age of 60, she never took retirement from her service to the poor and the needy, even in her late eighties. When it comes to visiting the sick, religious structures and time bound schedules, never became an obstacle for her to run on her missionary errands.
Throughout her life she led a simple life style always burning with love for God and zeal for souls. Her missionary zeal had no bounds. In the evenings Sr. Xavier would be found visiting the patients in the wards, blessing them and praying for them and if needed even baptizing those who were on the point of death. Sister had a special devotion to Mother Mary and St. Joseph. She made it a point to carry their statues with her when she visited the sick. The Infant Jesus was her soulmate. Anyone who came to seek her prayers and advice she would tell them, “Ask Baby Jesus, he will grant you the favours you are seeking.”
Being a person of pleasant disposition, Sister blossomed wherever she was planted. She always wore a smile on her face, a smile which made everyone feel at ease in her company. She had a remarkable way of being gentle and simple. Like St. Francis of Assisi, she made friends with cats, mongooses, crows and squirrels. She found real joy in feeding them, talking to them and calling them by names.
During the last days of her life, she was confined to the room and suffered no particular illness except the weaknesses of old age. She would spend most of her time in prayer and relating with the old people. In her last month her health slowly deteriorated. On 18th April at around 8.30 a.m. her pulse rate went down. At 9.15 a.m. without much struggle or pain Sister breathed her last accompanied by the prayers of the Sisters. May her Soul Rest in Peace!
“You have only one life and you get only one chance to live it, make that life worth living” – is the message that Sr. Xavier has left for all of us. We are sure we have a strong intercessor in heaven. Thank you, Sr. Xavier, for leaving behind a rich legacy for all of us to remember and cherish! Sr. Xavier May your soul rest in peace.