Cross Cultural Experiences within the IBVM

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I always love experiencing the internationality of our Mary Ward institute. Missioned to India for two months was a life-changing experience, a lot of it reminded me of my childhood in Iraq – a wonderful and positive experience.

It offered me with an opportunity to meet Loreto sisters from so many parts of India and hearing all about how they were drawn to the Mary Ward vision. I was privileged enough to spend two months volunteering with the Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre (KMWSC), where I experienced the leadership of women who have the power to transform their communities. Social and advocate work and community development are not for the faint-hearted, it is rigorous, constant, and always evolving. It requires a relentless response to the needs of the time and place. it is done in collaboration with others to ensure that it reaches sustainability. I loved my time in India and I look forward to many more ventures in this wonderful Mary Ward institute! Jwan Kada ibvm, Australian and South East Asia province. 

Every relationship starts with a connection. This is how friendship sprouts, camaraderie begins, humanity develops… Joining in with the Kolkata Mary Ward Social Center (KMWSC) as a volunteer for 2 months, I was introduced to the director and it was explained to me and the staff of the KMWSC about the vision and targets of their projects, with children and women either at non/low-income settlements in remote villages in West Bengal or in Kolkata city, even in red light or high risk of human trafficking areas. I was really touched by the ways of welcoming with colourful heartfelt rituals by everyone. The trips to visit the projects’ places, for me, were not only to meet, know and talk with the people, but also to understand and encounter mutual kindness, compassion and high respect between people from different backgrounds of religions, status of society and levels of education. Though different languages limited our conversations, I was captivated by everyone’s wide-open eyes and smiles I am strongly impressed by the reality of hard work that coordinators and teachers do to help the children in classes under the shade of trees in dusty brickfields, or in tiny hot rooms, or beside the walls under the bridges in the city. The time of 2 months for which I was missioned in India, I am really grateful. For the experiences of encountering joys, love, compassion and hard work and challenges of Loreto sisters in this country and many people who they are working with. And, with thoughtful minds and loving hearts, they stretch their hands to create bridges of loving connection that help each other to become better and become more compassionate towards the marginalized people and life around them. Ai Thien Nguyen, Loreto sister in Vietnam: Australia and South East Asia Province.