Sisters of Saint Joseph of Annecy

JPIC Initiatives at St. Joseph's Visakhapatnam

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy, known as the Congregation of the Greatest Love, owe their origins to God's compassion for the less fortunate. Their mission, anchored in love and sacrifice, sees value in simple acts that yield substantial impacts. Through collective efforts, the Congregation strives to alleviate suffering and spread love and compassion to those in need, embodying the essence of its sacred mission and adapting it according to the needs of the times.
Consequently, as a result, the Visakhapatnam Province, one of the Indian Provinces, heeded the Generalate's call to integrate JPIC into its mission and vision activities over the past decade. The province wholeheartedly embraced this initiative, collaborating at the LAC (Lyons, Annecy, and Chambery) level with counterparts from two other St. Joseph Congregations: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery and The Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyons, encompassing all their Indian provinces, alongside Annecy's Bhubaneswar Province in India. This collaboration aimed to uphold peace and justice as core principles within their mission and activities in India. The strategic division ensures the fulfilment of its objectives through the LAC JPIC committee in India. This committee comprises representative members from each Congregation at the Congregational level. At the provincial level, each Province consists of six members dedicated to JPIC activities. This team includes a counsellor in charge, a coordinator, and four additional members from various apostolates. This diverse group convenes bi-annually to share and ensure the implementation and execution of JPIC activities within their apostolic endeavours. This committee safeguards the Congregation's purpose by bolstering its mission.
Within the scope of the JPIC Committee, the St. Joseph community in Visakhapatnam has been diligently working to uphold creation and peace through various awareness initiatives. Since the inception of this effort in the Province, the JPIC team has been instrumental in fostering community participation across all its ventures. Over the past few years, the team has collaborated with the NGO DHARANI to conduct awareness programmes on a range of topics, including nutrition gardens, waste-to-wealth, and recycling. Furthermore, the team has organised seminars for the entire Province on Laudato Si, Kitchen Gardens, Renewable Energy, Organic Manure, and Vermin Compost. Additionally, the college and school campuses have devised concrete plans to ban plastic usage. The team has also taken the initiative to plant 100 saplings in the industrial area of Visakhapatnam to help curb pollution.





Over the past two years, the team has placed a particular emphasis on women's empowerment initiatives. Under the leadership of Sr. Rose, the provincial, and Sr. Jacintha, the JPIC team coordinator, along with members Sr. Moly Thomas, Sr. Padma, Sr. Sangeetha, and Sr. Anitha, a variety of programs have been successfully implemented to address the specific needs of women in Visakhapatnam. One prominent effort has been the establishment of Catholic Women's groups in various Visakhapatnam parishes, as well as domestic women's groups in all their institutions. These groups serve as vital platforms for women to come together, share experiences, and provide mutual support to one another on their journeys towards empowerment. The formation of these women's groups represents a significant step towards community-building and social cohesion, instilling a sense of belonging and solidarity within their local parishes. Through regular meetings and gatherings, women have the opportunity to discuss pertinent issues, seek guidance, and collaborate on initiatives aimed at improving their socio-economic status.
The excerpts highlight a series of impactful initiatives undertaken by the JPIC team to foster financial independence among women. Through dedicated self-help groups, women are encouraged to actively participate in this effort, promoting financial autonomy and mutual support within their communities. By empowering women with financial literacy and entrepreneurship training, the initiative aims to break the dependency cycle and enable women to take control of their financial future. Additionally, the team organized a personality development seminar exclusively for the youth of Visakhapatnam Diocese, with the aim of enhancing young women's necessary skills and insights to promote their personal growth and development. Moreover, the JPIC team is actively engaged in raising awareness of social issues affecting women, including gender-based violence and reproductive health. The team tirelessly conducts targeted medical camps and community outreach programs in different villages annually to address these concerns.

The JPIC team's recent initiatives have been motivated by the growing concerns over unsafe work environments for women and the abuse of children. In response, the team has taken on the crucial task of promoting awareness about key legislation such as the POCSO ACT 2012 (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) and the POSH ACT 2013 (Prevention of Sexual Harassment). This awareness-raising effort extends not only to all the sisters in the Province, but also to the various women's groups and young women, underscoring the team's profound dedication and commitment to the well-being of religious women. Through these efforts, the team continuously strives to educate women about their rights, empower them to speak out courageously against injustices, and encourage them to advocate for positive changes.
The initiative transcends boundaries to reach out to the most neglected sections of society, demonstrating the JPIC team's unending services through these committed religious women. Year after year, the team continues to introduce novel programs and projects tailored to the evolving needs of the people surrounding the religious communities. This persistent striving is a testament to team’s dedication and adaptability, ensuring that their efforts remain relevant and impactful. The scope of the JPIC team's work within the Visakhapatnam Province is far-reaching, as they reach out to diverse individuals and groups, constantly expanding their reach and resources. Driven by a deep empathy and understanding of the challenges faced by the community, the team is always on the move, creating and cultivating an environment that empowers and uplifts, particularly for the women they serve.
Sr. Nirmala
Visakhapatnam Province