The teaching of Vatican Second council was the source of inspiration for the inception of Institute Mater Dei which has turned Golden.
The celestial Santa Monica Convent on the hill top of Old Goa underwent a transition on 5th June 1964, a transition from Santa Monica Convent to Institute Mater Dei. The late Cardinal J.R Knox and late CRWI President Mother Theodosia A.C were the masterpiece in launching an ongoing formation center for women religious in India. Institute Mater Dei is the only theological center in Asia for the Religious and Theological formation of young women religious of India and the neighbouring countries of India.
Institute Mater Dei celebrated its Golden Jubilee on 5th Jan 2015. The closing celebration of the Jubilee begun with the Solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over by Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, concelebrated by Most Rev. Filipe NeriFerrao, Archbishop Patriach of Goa and Daman, and many priests
Appreciating IMD for its successful journey of 50 golden years, His Excellency Salvatore Pennacchio, the apostolic Nuncio, both in his homily and inaugural address beckoned the consecrated religious to continue to be joyful and faithful in their commitment. He also brought Pope Francis’ wishes through his letter. His focal point was “Where there are religious, there is always joy.” Referring from Pope FrancisHe emphasized that the joy should be the hallmark of the religious who have experienced the Risen Lord and therefore we should not be like those appearing from the funeral ceremony rather joyful religious who have participated in the festal celebration. He said that during these 50 years, the Institute Mater Dei has brought enormous service in bringing this joy to the numerous women religious and thus witness the Risen Lord in today’s world. Apostolic nuncio concluded his inaugural speech by encouraging the women religious to cross the fence and reach out to the periphery to wake up the world.Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, expressed his happiness over the fact that he was present for the closing ceremony Golden Jubilee celebration of IMD,which his predecessor late cardinal J.R Knox the then Inter Nuncio to India brought into a reality.
Archbishop Filipe NeriFerrao, in his presidential address, urged the CRI women section to keep up the spirit for which the institute started namely the empowerment of women religious of India through theological studies. Renewal and empowerment of women religious in India is an inspiration attained after Vatican II. He appreciated the service rendered by the IMD to the young women religious of India.
Sr. Rita Pinto RSCJ, the CRWI president and the chairperson of IMD highlighted the fact that Mater Dei is the only institute for women which is the fruit of reform and renewal brought about by the Vatican II.Sr. Pushpa Joseph FMM, the CRWI vice – president and the president of IMD spoke on the importance of theological formation given by IMD to the women religious of India. She added that this institute has trained the women religious to interpret critically the reality from the view point of Christian faith. And this theology according to her brings gratitude to the past, glory to the present and hope to the future and thus Jubilee Celebration that we have today is the expression of gratitude to God.
Fr. SelvaRathinam SJ, the president of JDV, Pune, was of oppinion the story of Institute Mater Dei is not the story of Mater Dei at all but the story of God with the women religious of India through Mater Dei and therefore there is a joy and jubilation for what the Lord has done through the institute for the past 50 years. If mater Dei is the word, it would be the story of what God has done through the institute to the women religious of India; therefore it is a time of jubilation and rejoicing.
Mrs. Nathasha Fernandez, the Curator of Christian Art Museum spoke that when there was no formal intellectual formation for women in the community; Mater Dei started an alternative way of imparting education to women religious. She highlighted the fact that Mater Dei has become the economic centre which even helped the state which was bankrupt at that time when it faced difficulties.
The Staff and students expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the Apostolic Nuncio,Archbishop Filipe NeriFerrao the CRWI president and vice president by offering them with a golden coloured shawl.And the students honored the staffs for their selfless service in the institute by a memento. A dance drama “Oh, Handmaids of the Lord, let His light Shine” was put up by the student sisters with a recurring theme ‘An Inspiration Never Dies’ which captured the attention of everyone.
Archbishop Filipe NeriFerrao released the Jubilee Souvenir.Sr. Edwige SAT, the Superior of the Institute Mater Dei, welcomed all the dignitaries.Sr. Clare Purakary HM, the co-ordinator of Academics proposed thevote of thanks.Thus, the function came to an end with theIMD Anthem. A good number of women religious from the different parts of India, friends, benefactors, staff and students of both past and present, well-wishers were present for this glorious and historical celebration which was kept very much attached to the closing of the exposition of the Sacred Relics of Francis Xavier.
Sr. Clare Purakary HM& Sr. Shilpa AC
Institute Mater Dei
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