Congratulations to Medha Engineer from Canada who was crowned as the second runners up as Classic Mrs. India 2018 Queen of Substance.
Mrs. India 2018 Queen of Substance Pageant completed another successful year with its grand finale in the presence of Bollywood diva Mahima Choudhary and evergreen beauty Poonam Dhillon. With the crown on her head, winners stood before the audience as Mrs. India 2018 Queen of Substance announced their results of 3 days long beauty pageant held at ITC Welcom Hotel Dwarka. Shivani Naik Shah from Pune was crowned as Mrs. India 2018 Queen of Substance. Shivangi Saraf from Bihar and Dr. Amanpreet from United Kingdom tied on the first runner up position where as Anshu Varshney from Noida crowned as second runner up of Mrs. India 2018 Queen of Substance.
In classic category Sonia Ahluwalia from United Kingdom was crowned as Classic Mrs. India Queen of Substance. Jhanvi Bajaj from Hyderabad was crowned as the first runners up position where as Medha Engineer from Canada was crowned as the second runners up as Classic Mrs. India 2018 Queen of Substance.
Video of the Ordination and Installation of The Most Reverend Rethna Swamy – Bishop of the Diocese of Ahmedabad. Gurjarvani provided a live streaming of this ceremony on Saturday, April 14, 2018 from Nadiad, India. So here you go for those who could not be present at the ceremony and who could not see it live. Also several pictures of the event from Fr. Ashok Vaghela’s Facebook page.
સાક્ષરભૂમિ નડિયાદ એક ઐતિહાસિક ઘડીની સાક્ષી બની રહી છે છેલ્લા લાંબા સમયથી અમદાવાદ ધર્મપ્રાંત જે ભલા ભરવાડની રાહ જોઈ રહ્યો હતો તે ધાર્મિક હસ્તી બિશપ રત્ના સ્વામી અત્યારે હઝારો શ્રદ્ધાળુઓ તથા સન્યાસ્ત જનોની હાજરીમાં પદગ્રહણ કરી રહ્યા છે તો ચાલો તેમના જીવનની એક લટાર મારી લઈએ.
તેમનો જન્મ 13/02/1961 ના રોજ તમિલનાડુના કન્યાકુમારી ખાતે થયો હતો. એપ્રિલ 1980માં તેઓ પ્રથમવાર ગુજરાતના ખંભાત ખાતે ધર્મના નેજાહેઠલ માનવસેવાર્થ આવ્યા.
તેમની પુરોહિત દીક્ષા સ્વ. બિશપ ચાર્લ્સ ગોમ્સ દ્વારા 29 માર્ચ,1989 ના રોજ તેમના વતન કન્યા કુમારી ખાતે સંપન્ન થઈ હતી. 1989 – 90 દરમિયાન તેમને સાણંદ ખાતે મુકવામાં આવ્યા. અહીં તેમણે વંચિતો માટે સરકારશ્રી દ્વારા અનુદાનિત સેંટ ઝેવિયર્સ સ્કૂલની સ્થાપના કરી જે હાલ ફૂલીફાલી છે. સ્કૂલ કામ પરવારીને તેઓ ગામડાઓ ખૂંદતા ને મોડી રાત્રે પરત ફરતા. આ સ્કૂલમાં તેમણે આચાર્ય તરીકેનો પદભાર પણ સંભાળ્યો હતો.
1991 – 93 ના અરસામાં તેમને અમદાવાદ ખાનપુર ખાતે આવેલી સેંટ જોસેફ સેમીનરીમાં રેક્ટર તરીકેનો કાર્યભાર સોંપવામાં આવ્યો. આ અરસામાં એટલે કે 1992 ની આસપાસ આણંદ નજીક ચાવડાપૂરમાં નવી શાળા શરૂ થઈ તેને યોગ્ય ગતિ બક્ષવા માટે 1993 થી 1994 દરમિયાન તેમને ચાવડાપૂર મુકવામાં આવ્યા.
1994 – 1998 ના સમયગાળામાં કાઉન્સીલીગના અભ્યાસ અર્થે તેમને રોમ મોકલવામાં આવ્યા. પરદેશમાં સફળતા પૂર્વક અભ્યાસ સંપન્ન કરીને સ્વદેશ આવી 1994 – 98 દરમિયાન અમદાવાદ ” શ્રદ્ધા ” ખાતે ગુજરાતના રાજકોટ, વડોદરા અને અમદાવાદ ધર્મપ્રાંતમાંથી પુરોહિત બનવા જોડાયેલા બ્રધરોના રેક્ટર તરીકે આરૂઢ થયા. આ એ સમયગાળો હતો કે જેમાં અમદાવાદના નરોડા ખાતે અસામાજિક તત્વો દ્વારા દેવળ તોડી પાડવામાં આવ્યું હતું પરિણામે લોકો નિરાશ થઈ ગયા હતા. ફાધરે ત્યાં જઈને લોકોની આશા જીવંત રાખવાનું ચાલુ કર્યું. પ્રથમ લોકોના ઘરની પરસાળમાં પરમપૂજા કરવાનું શરૂ કર્યું. ચોમાસામાં વરસાદને કારણે પરસાળમાં મિસ કરવાનું અગવડભર્યું બનતા પોલીસ પાસે પરવાનગી લઈને તૂટેલા દેવળમાં પ્રાર્થના કરવાનું આરંભ્યું. આજે નરોડાની ધાર્મિક અને સામાજિક પ્રગતિના મૂળમાં આ કહાની સમાયેલી છે.
2002 – 2012 એટલે કે એક આખો દાયકો તેમણે નડિયાદ પસ્ટોરલ સેન્ટરના કમ્પાઉન્ડમાં આવેલ સેંટ જોસેફ સેમીનરીમાં રેક્ટર તરીકે ગળ્યો ને ત્યારબાદ 2012 થી 2017 દરમિયાન સેવાસી વડોદરા ખાતે આવેલ ” ગુજરાત વિદ્યાદીપ ” (GVD) ખાતે તેમને ધર્મપ્રાંતિય બ્રધરોના રેક્ટર તથા સ્પિરિચ્યુલ ડાયરેકટર ની બેવડી જવાબદારી નિભાવી.
આધ્યાત્મિકતા અને ગરીબોના ઉદ્ધારનો ધ્યેય રાખનાર ફાધર રત્નાસ્વામી ને 29/1/2018 ના રોજ સાંજે 4:30 કલાકે વેટિકનથી અમદાવાદ ધર્મપ્રાંતના બિશપ તરીકે જાહેર કરાયા હતા જેની વિધિવત ઘોષણા માન્યવર મહાધર્માંધ્યક્ષ થોમસ મેકવાન દ્વારા પસ્ટોરલ સેન્ટર નડિયાદ ખાતે કરવામાં આવી હતી.
Sr Loreto is renowned in Chennai for her humour, and brown bread baked in a tandoor oven
Áine Edwards – Tue, Mar 6, 2018, 16:39
In 2003 I left Ireland for Chennai in India, to live in Perambur among the Anglo-Indian community and volunteer as a teacher at The Little Lambs School. Although Sr Loreto, a Presentation nun from Co Tipperary now aged 91, was living close by, it was three months before we met.
In 1943, 16-year-old Peg Houlihan had left her rural farmhouse in Tinhalla near Carrick-An-Suir in Co Tipperary. She became a Presentation Sister noviciate in the UK before departing for the distant shores of India. Her ship set sail from Liverpool to Bombay as the second World War was drawing to a close, and she celebrated her 17th birthday on board.
During that journey and its many blackouts, Sr Loreto bravely looked forward – spending a lot of time on the ship learning the ancient Tamil language, the beautiful letters which she has never forgotten.
After landing at the port of Bombay, the rest of the journey was by train down to Madras. On arrival at the Presentation Order convent, there was a letter waiting from her mother. It opened with “Céad míle fáilte”, “a hundred thousand welcomes” to India.
Sr Loreto speaks lovingly of this letter, as she knew it was a huge sacrifice for her mother to let her go. It was a gift of the utmost love for a mother to let her daughter go with the words “keep up your brave heart Peg, all will be well”. They never saw each other again.
Sr Loreto dedicated her life to love and serve others through education in Chennai in India. After completing her teacher training at Churchpark School in Madras, she went on to work as a primary school teacher, based most of her life at St Joseph’s Anglo-Indian School in Perambur in north Chennai.
The children in her class were six years old and over the years, she has taught three generations of families, and become a well-loved and respected person in the community. In class she says she was strict, but outside of school, “I didn’t have enough fingers for them to hold onto”.
“Sister India” A Film by Myles O’Reilly will be screened at the Silk Road Film Festival on March 9th, the Dingle Film Festival on March 22-25th and the Fastnet Film Festival May 23-27th.
She is one of the last Irish Presentation nuns left out of 131 who travelled and worked there. In the community, she lives a life of truth in purpose, with a great sense of adventure and humour. She is, she says, “blessed with strong faith, good sleep, and no regrets”.
Born into a large Irish family in 1927, Peg grew up in hard times, especially in the 1930s with a worldwide depression and an economic war between Ireland and Britain. By the time she was five years old, her mother was already a widow as her father, a blacksmith, had died.
As a child, her strong faith was apparent. She was nicknamed “Holy Mary” as the other children saw how she prayed in the garden. During her school days at the Presentation Convent she became interested in becoming a nun. The Venerable Nano Nagle is her role model in life. Nano is known as “The lady of the Lamp”, a pioneer of Catholic Education in Ireland during times of penal law.
In the 1950s, Sr Loreto spent what she calls “the happiest days” of her life living with a tribal community in Bihar. She learned their language, Santali, and taught in Hindi in the school. Over the years she learned to cook, and even baked brown bread in the tandoor oven, a simple rural life she still talks lovingly of.
After returning from those wonderful years in Bihar, Sr Loreto has spent the rest of her life teaching in Perambur. On Indian Independence in 1947, the Indian government had asked the Presentation schools to continue their education, and the doors were opened to the indigenous population, which in India is almost 80 per cent Hindi. The children were encouraged to celebrate their culture in the schools, and the adults I meet nowadays who attended schools where Irish Brothers and Sisters were teachers, talk fondly of them and their education. The late chief minister of Tamil, Nadu Jayalalitha has spoken of her school days at Church Park as being the happiest of her life.
I was introduced to Sr Loreto through a mutual friend. I will never forget the day I walked into the Presentation convent to a genuinely generous and warm welcome – the signature element of Sr Loreto’s charm. After many years in India, her Irish accent was still strong with a broad welcoming smile and the offer of a cup of tea was like music to my ears. Just as I was beginning to miss my homeland, here was an angel of Ireland in a remote corner in faraway India. This filled me with such joy and I’ve treasured the moments we’ve spent together as friends ever since.
Over our many cups of Barry’s Tea together, we talk about the similarities between Ireland and India, especially the warmth of the Indian and the Irish people, and how they connect so naturally.
Irish in India
The community around Perambur has many Anglo-Indians, a minority community that evolved from the time of the British Raj. There is a history shared between Ireland and India, where both countries suffered suppression and poverty, and fought for our independence from Britain: Ireland in 1922 and India in 1947.
Many Irish were part of the British Regiment in India, and key figures supported the Indian movement for independence. Annie Besant, who campaigned for women’s rights and Indian self-rule, is a household name in India always thought of as British, yet her parents were Irish. There are Anglo-Indians with an Irish legacy through surnames such as O’Brien, Johnson, Walsh and Collins, all living near Sr Loreto in Perambur.
These conversations evoked a passion in me to produce a documentary on Sr Loreto, filmed around the time of her Jubilee, or 70 years of sisterhood. I wanted to not only share her story, but also celebrate the work of so many other Irish educators in India, as this era draws to a close and another starts.
The Irish legacy of education in India is one of Ireland’s strongest links with the country. The seeds have been sown for the Indian Sisters to take this legacy forward for the next generation of children. Sister India, which will screen at a number of film festivals in Ireland and India this month, was made to preserve not only the story of Sister Loreto, but to remember all the Irish who have dedicated their lives in the service of education and community support in India, made with the support of family and friends and the very talented director Myles O’ Reilly.
Myles sums up Sr Loreto perfectly when he says that listening to her talk “was like being warmed at the hearth of a fire on a rainy day, hearing stories as she put it, from ‘the long ago’”.
“I learned from her, that India and it’s culture retains more of the life she left 70 years ago in Ireland, than we have here today, and so she chooses to live the rest of her days there.”
Sister India will be screened at the Silk Road Film Festival on March 9th, the Dingle Film Festival on March 22-25th and the Fastnet Film Festival May 23-27th.
Vilnius, Lithuania, Apr 6, 2018 / 03:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- This article was originally published on CNA Nov. 26, 2017.
By Hannah Brockhaus
Among Catholic devotions, the Divine Mercy message is well-known: the iconic image of Christ, with rays of red and white pouring from his heart; St. Faustina, called the “Apostle of Divine Mercy;” and the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland.
But what you might not know is that more than 450 miles north of Krakow, in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, there is another Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, one which houses the first image of the merciful Jesus created, and the only Image of Divine Mercy St. Faustina herself ever saw.
Archbishop Gintaras Grusas of Vilnius told CNA that the city, often called the “City of Mercy,” is not only “a place of the Divine Mercy revelations, but also a place that is in need of mercy, throughout history, and a place that in the last couple decades has been a place where we need to show mercy.”
Since long before St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy revelations, the Mother of Mercy has been the patroness of Vilnius, Grusas said.
In fact, in the 1600s, a painting of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn was created and placed in a niche above one of the prominent city gates. Many miracles are attributed to the image, which was canonically crowned Mother of Mercy by Pope Pius XI in 1927.
It was in this small chapel of the Mother of Mercy, above the gate, that the Image of Divine Mercy was first displayed. So Vilnius has had “mercy upon mercy,” Grusas noted.
The story of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy
St. Faustina Kowalska was a young Polish nun born at the beginning of the 20th century. Over the course of several years she had visions of Jesus, whereby she was directed to create an image and to share with the world revelations of Jesus’ love and mercy.
St. Faustina received her first revelation of the merciful Jesus in Plock, Poland in February 1931. At the time, she had made her first vows as one of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy.
In 1933, after she made her perpetual vows, her superior directed her to move to the convent house in Vilnius. She stayed there for three years and this is where she received many more visions of Jesus. Vilnius is also where she found a priest to be her spiritual director, the now-Bl. Michael Sopocko.
With the help of Fr. Sopocko, St. Faustina found a painter to fulfill the request Jesus had made to her in one of the visions – to “paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You” – and in 1934 the painter Eugene Kazimierowski created the original Divine Mercy painting under St. Faustina’s direction.
In its creation, St. Faustina “was instrumental in making all the adjustments with the painter,” Archbishop Grusas said.
The image shows Christ with his right hand raised as if giving a blessing, and the left touching his chest. Two rays, one pale, one red – which Jesus said are to signify water and blood – are descending from his heart.
St. Faustina recorded all of her visions and conversations with Jesus in her diary, called Divine Mercy in My Soul. Here she wrote the words of Jesus about the graces that would pour out on anyone who prayed before the image:
“I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend [that soul] as My own glory.”
When the image was completed, it was first kept in the corridor of the convent of the Bernardine Sisters, which was beside the Church of St. Michael where Fr. Sopocko was rector.
In March 1936 St. Faustina became sick, with what is believed to have been tuberculosis, and was transferred back to Poland by her superiors. She died near Krakow in October 1938, at the age of 33.
“St. Faustina, because of her illness, was brought back to Krakow by her superiors. But she left the painting in Vilnius because it was the property of her spiritual director, who paid for the painting,” Grusas explained.
Jesus, in one of St. Faustina’s visions, had expressed his wish that the image be put in a place of honor, above the main altar of the church. And so, though St. Faustina had already returned to Poland, on the first Sunday after Easter in 1937, they hung the image of Merciful Jesus next to the main altar in the Church of St. Michael.
The history of the image
Archbishop Grusas explained that many people have only recently learned about the image because it was hidden for many years, and it was only rediscovered and restored within the last 15 years.
During World War II, Lithuania was under Soviet occupation and in 1948, the communist government closed the Church of St. Michael and abolished the convent. Many of the sacred objects and artworks were moved to another church to be saved from Soviet hands, but the Divine Mercy image was left undisturbed in St. Michael’s for several years.
In 1951, two women were able to pay the keeper of St. Michael’s church and save the image. Since it couldn’t be taken across the border to Poland, they gave it to the priest in charge of the Church of the Holy Spirit for safekeeping.
Five years later it was moved to a church in Belarus, where it remained for over a decade. In 1970 this church too was shut down by the government and looted, but miraculously, again the Image of Divine Mercy was untouched.
Eventually it was brought back to Lithuania in secret and again given to the Church of the Holy Spirit. In the early 2000s its significance was rediscovered and after a professional restoration it was rehung in the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity in 2005, which is now the Shrine of Divine Mercy.
So though it is a more recent arrival on the international scene, the painting “is also probably the most profound of the Divine Mercy paintings,” Grusas said. “It has a very deep theology, very closely tied with St. Faustina’s diary.”
The Shrine of Divine Mercy
Today in Vilnius the archdiocese has begun to set up a guide for pilgrims who come and wish to visit the holy sites, such as the place where St. Faustina lived, the room where the image was painted, and the several churches which all held the painting at different points.
The Shrine of Divine Mercy itself is not a large place, since it’s only a converted parish church, but its sacramental life “is really quite something,” said Justin Gough, an American seminarian studying in Rome who spent a summer working in the Archdiocese’s pilgrim office in Vilnius.
He said that “between Mass, the Divine Mercy chaplet every day in Lithuanian and Polish, adoration 24/7… vespers every Sunday night led by the youth of Vilnius,” the rosary and the sacrament of Confession, there is always some sort of prayer or sacrament taking place.
Of course the original Image of Divine Mercy is also there, he pointed out, and yet the shrine is not just about the image, but about connecting the image and what it represents to prayer and the reception of God’s mercy through the sacraments.
“I think it’s ironic in a certain sense that God teaches us about his mercy through a holy woman who died at the age of 33,” he said. “She lived a very devout life, endured great sufferings for the sake of Christ, and yet it’s through people like her that we’re taught, great sinners that we are, how to actually receive God’s mercy and to be merciful to others.”
In Vilnius, it’s a great blessing “to know a saint of the 20th century walked here, prayed here, and experienced Christ here, and that we can do that as well.”
મારું જીવન…મારાં સ્વજન…મારો સમાજ…મારું જગત…૨૦૦૪ થી આ જાળું ગૂંથી રહ્યો છું…