“I have observed the misery of my people, I have heard their cry, and I have known their sufferings” (Ex.3:7)
“He sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and to declare the year of God’s favour” (Lk 4:18)
These above verses from the Scriptures re-echo in the critical realities of the contemporary world. It reminds us that our mission is a continuation of Jesus’ mission on earth. Jesus calls us not only to come to him but to go out for Him. The revered Founder RFC Mascarenhas the Servant of God, his sense of mission and uncommon foresight transformed many lives especially of the poor and marginalized during his life time. He was the Moses of his times, who desired to share God’s liberating compassionate love especially with all those who are victimized and marginalized. He brought Good News not only to the poor in his parish but he also set an example for us, the Bethany Sisters. He wants us to champion the cause of the poor. He led us and taught us how to go into those remote areas where no one would want to go. He has set us an example of preference for the poor, fighting for their rights and often getting hurt in their struggles and now he tells us, ‘I have shown you the way to do the work of the Father, like Jesus, for which I was anointed by the Spirit’ (cf Jn13:15)
Ever since the inception of the Congregation, the sisters have championed the cause of those on the fringes of the society who are discarded, valueless and powerless. In the year 1995 The Bethany Social Service Trust (BSST) was registered and Sahodaya as its unit carries on the works of liberation and empowerment of the weak, the least and last ones for the last 25 years.
Inspired by the Spirit of the Founder and in response to the mandate of the XVI General Chapter of the Congregation of 2016, Bethany Sisters have re-committed themselves to launch into the Frontier Ministries with the migrants and the trafficked persons. Human trafficking linked with migration is a devastating crime that threatens society’s most vulnerable members exploiting them for sex, cheap labour, organ trade and servitude of all kinds. This malady destroys families, shatters hopeful lives and undermines our most fundamental beliefs about the dignity of persons. Pope Francis says “Human Trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity”. Sahodaya under the banner of BSST rededicates itself to the cause, to work together with greater Coordination, Net-Work and Collaborative Commitment to fight against this modern day servitude. Let us remind ourselves in the words of Martin Luther King: “Our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about the things that matter”.
Sr Shanthi Priya BS
Secretary of BSST & Director of Sahodaya
General Councillor and Coordinator for Socio-Medical Apostolates