Balli-Cuncolim family 'humbled with joy' as Sr Venita heads Catholic congregation

Balli-Cuncolim family 'humbled with joy' as Sr Venita heads Catholic congregation

[From L to R] Daisy, Sr Venita, their mother Ilda and Gina, during the last visit of Sr Venita at her home in Balli-Cuncolim.

The Fernandes family in Balli-Cuncolim has been humbled with joy, ever since Sr Venita Fernandes became the first Indian to head the Sisters of Charity of Saints Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa (also known as the Sisters of Maria Bambina), an international Catholic religious congregation based in Italy.

Sr Venita was elected at the congregation’s 28th general chapter that was held May 8 to June 24 in Rome and succeeded Sr Annamaria Viganò, an Italian who led for six years as Superior General of the 191-year-old congregation of the Sisters of Maria Bambina.

Born on December 24, 1968, Sr Venita is the eldest of five sisters. Two of her sisters, Fatima Mascarenhas and Clemmy, are currently based in the UK, while two other sisters, Daisy and Gina, are in Goa.

“We are very happy and humbled with joy. Our beloved dad, Miguel Fernandes, is not with us but I am sure he is rejoicing with this news up in heaven,” said Fatima, when contacted in the UK.

“Our grandparents, Maria Purificacao and Anton Piedade Borges, from Velim, too left for their heavenly abode but it was because of them and their good wishes and prayers that our Sr Venita today has achieved this feat. During our childhood, these family members shaped our lives.”

“We owe her success to our grandmother because it was she who instilled in us the faith and devotion to Catholic Church. She used to teach us catechism and every evening, we would all assemble together for the evening prayer and rosary. Later, as we grew up, our education was at Maria Bambina Convent. This helped her to make her decision of joining the convent.”

Recalling Sr Venita as always well-behaved and good at studies, Fatima said her sister decided to join the convent after her HSSC and received all support from her parents in her decision.

“We are grateful to our late father, Miguel Fernandes, and mother, Ilda Borges, for their guidance and bringing us up as responsible children. Right from her childhood, Sr Venita has been a devout Catholic, a person of few words, loving, always humble and ever ready to offer help and assistance to anyone who needed. This is probably why today she has a huge responsibility over her to lead the Sisters of Charity of the Saints Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa,” said Fatima, and hoped that these values would be an inspiration or motivation for young girls today.

“Sr Venita requires prayers from everyone to carry on the huge responsibility that she has been entrusted upon,” stated Fatima.

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