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Nurturing Faith: The Journey of Youth Pastoral Care in India

Sr. Kochuthresia Malpan FMM

"In youth services, we help them discover themselves and encourage them to become what they are capable of becoming," Sr. Kochuthresia Malpan

The Relevance of Youth Ministry in Modern Times

Having dedicated almost two decades to youth ministry, Sr. Kochuthresia Malpan of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) asserts, "Youth Pastoral Care is the need of the hour."

Currently residing in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, Sr. Malpan emphasizes the importance of engaging with young people to help them discover their potential and foster their spiritual growth.

"In youth services, we help them discover themselves and encourage them to become what they are capable of becoming," she states.

By showing genuine interest in their lives and listening to their concerns, youth ministers can effectively guide young people towards accepting Jesus as their Lord and Master.

Integrating Spirituality and Life Skills

Sr. Malpan highlights the significant impact of integrating life skills and different methods of prayer in her work with young girls in schools, colleges, and pre-novitiate programs.

“My experience of motivating young girls in schools, colleges, candidates, and pre-novices through life skills and different methods of prayer has helped them to open up their lives and be willing to live in groups, praying, studying, and caring for one another,” the nun recalled. 

In the process, they are awe-struck to discover others who live with them and to trust in God, who is the giver of life, and thus grow in faith.  

“I was privileged to be in Taizé, France, where young people from all walks of life come to spend a week or more living in silence, praying, and volunteering to do service in the community,” she said. 

Adults must serve as role models for the young girls who are prepared to give their lives for Jesus in their spiritual, religious, and missionary endeavors.

Six FMM candidates

"...a life-changing experience where she felt God's hand saving her from the ocean's strong waves, which she interpreted as a call to religious life," Priya Melecia

Experiences of FMM Candidates

The narrative of six FMM candidates illustrates the profound impact of pastoral care and spiritual guidance.

Prakasa Mary's Path to Spiritual Growth

The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) sisters educated Prakasa Mary, who is a native of Chennai, at St. Raphael's School.

Her spirituality deeply resonated with that of that of Mary of the Passion, the founder of the FMM congregation.

The 'Come and See Program' at Thirupachur and Ankur Sadan taught her the values of communal living and teamwork. Through gospel sharing, Prakasa grew closer to Jesus. At Stella Maris College, Chennai, she navigated the complexities of a multicultural environment.

As a candidate at St. Thomas Convent, the lives of the FMM nuns and her peers profoundly influenced her, deepening her desire to live by Christ's values and share God's love.

Ria's Calling and Dedication

Ria, from Gundry, where there is an FMM community, was inspired by the Don Bosco Fathers (Salesian priests) to heed God's call.

During the 'Come and See' program at Thirupachur, she faced challenges as it was her first time away from home. Through prayer and surrender to God, she found positivity and learned extensively from the sisters.

Daily adoration strengthened her faith, and she aspires to dedicate herself to God and excel as a missionary.

Priya Melecia Fernandes' Vocation Story

Hailing from Goa, Priya Melecia Fernandes always felt a strong calling to become a nun. She recounts a life-changing experience where she felt God's hand saving her from the ocean's strong waves, which she interpreted as a call to religious life.

Joining the FMM congregation, she was surprised by the diversity of nuns living together at St. Thomas Convent. Adapting to group living, taking responsibility for her studies and work, and daily prayer and Bible reading have been integral to her journey. Priya's goal is to serve and uplift the poor.

Arockia Princy's Missionary Aspirations

Arockia Princy, from Chennai, is currently studying at a non-professional college. Her candidacy at Thirupachur helped her discover herself and grow closer to God. As a student, she learned vital time management skills.

Meeting and interacting with many nuns at St. Thomas Convent further inspired her vocation. She has learned to be generous, compassionate, and loving towards everyone and aspires to undertake missionary work.

Susmitha's Spiritual Deepening through Nature

Susmitha, from Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, was inspired by the FMM sisters during her schooling. At Thirupachur, a farming community, she encountered the challenges faced by farmers, leading to a profound connection with God through nature.

Her spiritual life deepened through Mass, prayers, adoration, and singing practice. Hearing the sisters' vocation stories and mission experiences moved her deeply, and she is committed to becoming a missionary.

Jaffrin's Journey to Commitment

Jaffrin, a graduate of Stella Maris College, Chennai, discerned a closeness to Jesus in the Eucharist during her final years of study, leading her to consider a religious life.

Joining the 'Come and See' program at Thirupachur, she found it the most meaningful year of her life. Inspired by the energetic senior sisters, she admired the simplicity, responsibility, and intercultural community living of the FMM nuns.

Learning the value of prayer and finding joy in humble daily activities, Jaffrin aspires to become a committed FMM and spread the joy of Christ.

These inspiring journeys highlight the transformative power of spiritual guidance and the profound impact of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in shaping the lives of young women dedicated to serving God and humanity.

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