Silver Jubilee Celebration of the
Novitiate House – Sneha Nilayam, Araku
Twenty-five years of grace”
We thank God for the 25 years of grace and blessings that He has bestowed on our Novitiate house “Sneha Nilayam,” the power house of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy. This dream was realized by the then Superior General Rev. Sr. Monica and the then Provincial Superior Rev. Sr. Gerard, who moved the Novitiate to Araku, a conducive and pleasant place for the holistic formation of our young formees.
We celebrated this Silver Jubilee with grandeur on 11 November 2023. The Novitiate house and the School Auditorium were splendidly decorated with flowers and balloons, adding to the joy of the occasion. We welcomed the gathering from near and far with a short introduction to the celebration at 10.30am. The presence of many sisters from Bhubaneswar Province and our sisters from nearby communities filled our hearts with joy. Every celebration is an experience. The external fades away and the internal lingers and echoes in the most depth of our hearts, so also this Jubilee celebration.
The thanksgiving Mass started with an entrance procession by sisters from 25 batches of novices, who left this Novitiate, ‘Sneha Nilayam.’ Each held a lamp and walked prayerfully while the choir from Maryland community sang. The Superior General Sr. Breda, the two General councilors Sr. Vianney and Sr. Margaret and both Provincial Superiors Sr. Rose and Sr. Leena joined them with lamps. They all followed the Presider Fr. Joseph Reddy the Vice Provincial of M.S.F.S Congregation, Visakhapatnam and the celebrants. The main celebrant in his homily stressed the theme of the celebration. He said that ‘Sneha Nilayam’ is the ‘abode of God’s love’ where we grow a strong bond with Jesus to live our religious vow faithfully. The message was profound and touched the guests, who came to celebrate this special occasion.
After the Eucharistic celebration, the festivities went on with the cake cutting, a brief felicitation, and a vibrant cultural show by the students from St. Joseph’s School and Junior College, Araku. The novices and young professed enacted a skit on synodality and a folklore play that was lovely and enlightening. The Superior General Rev. Sr. Breda shared her precious message which increased the joy of the gathering. At the end of the items, there was a video of the Novitiate and its story. The celebration also became a touching chance to honor and recall the former Novice Mistresses, and all those who had helped the growth and development of Sneha Nilayam, especially remembering the priceless contributions of Sr. Stella, the first novice mistress in Araku, and Sr. Maria Goretti, who have received their eternal reward and their generous support to the novitiate. The current novice mistress, Sr. Jeenat Jose, thanked the gathering for the wonderful celebration and gave a message of gratitude and indebtedness to all who had accompanied them. As a sign of love, to each a souvenir was given with the photo of Sneha Nilayam on it. Then all posed for a group photo. The celebration ended with a delicious meal well served.
The celebration was a joyful occasion that united everyone to revisit and treasure the memories of the past 25 years, remembering the achievements they had made along the way. The Silver Jubilee of Sneha Nilayam embodied the spirit of thankfulness, fellowship, and profound spiritual growth, imprinting the hearts of all who joined, and reminding them of the lasting power of faith and community. It was a remarkable experience that would always remain in the hearts and minds of those who witnessed it.