Province Sri Lanka
Since 1983 Sri Lanka has been going through difficult times due to the civil war that has claimed many lives, made many thousands of people refugees, abroad and even in their own land.
Through our presence and work in the war-torn areas and their surroundings we were able to cater for the needs of the Internally Displaced People. (IDP) – and help them bring life into situations of death. In our task of bringing physical, psychological and spiritual help to these people in their suffering we are supported by some Non-Governmental Organisations. Though our services are just a ‘drop in the ocean’ we are happy to be at least of some help to these needy people and others who are marginalised in one way or another.
Promotion of unity and harmony among the people of Sri Lanka is one of the most important needs of our country. This has to begin wherever we are, i.e. in our own communities and neighbourhood. It is from here that reconciliation can radiate to the warring factions of society.
Frequent evaluation of our lives and apostolates are important in order to enable us to answer the most urgent needs of the people. The most urgent needs which confront us at present are care of the sick and education in rural areas, care of the aged, the children, war victims and internally displaced people.
Despite dangers we live in solidarity with our afflicted people sharing their difficulties by living in their midst in the North and East of the country.
We do all we can to provide education for children in kindergardens. We also do pastoral work such as catechesis for children and adults, preparing children for first communion, adults for baptism, young couples for the sacrament of matrimony, training church choirs, conducting funerals when no priest is available, and visiting workers in estates.
Living in small communities we adapt our lifestyle to that of the people among whom we live and so are in solidarity with them.
The war and the displacements challenged us to move out to different areas where our services are needed. A few sisters now work in the small hospitals in Baticaloa and Badulla where we find people from all three ethnic groups and religions. As religious we try to be a witness of Gospel values which call for mutual respect and tolerance between all people.
Four new small communities sprang up in 1930. The Holy Cross Sisters made their first home in the Government Hospital, Kayts and then extended their services to Jaffna and ever since Jaffna had been the home for us. We made our presence and services available to the sick in the hospital, elderly in the home for elders and children in the welfare centre. As time went on we also extended our services to the other regions of the country.
In 1995 as if to follow the call of the General Chapter more radically, we had to leave our convents in Jaffna amidst trying circumstances of war. Among the people to cater for the needs of the times, and we were prepared to work under trying circumstances without the basic necessities of life. In the hopelessness and helplessness of our situation we found strength in the words and life of Mother Bernarda and that of the first sisters.
The war ended in 2009 but the internal struggles and discrimination continue, challenging us to be Gospel people among those who only think of violent means to achieve their purpose.