Mission is like ripples of water. It starts from one centre but spreads across the waters until it touches the shores. St. Joseph’s Convent Trincomalee was the centre of the mighty ripple of the Mission of the Apostolic Carmel in Sri Lanka. From Trincomalee and simultaneously with Batticoloa the mission of the Apostolic Carmel spread across the country until it touched the shores of ten dioceses out of the total of twelve in Sri Lanka. This ripple of mission did not stop in Sri Lanka, but continued to resonate across the ocean almost sixty years later and reached the shore of West Pakistan, in 1981.
- Home of Compassion for destitutes
- Bethlehem Crèche, Wanathamulla
- Children’s Homes
- Boarding Houses
- Girls’ Hostels
- Catechetical Apostolate
- Adult Catechism
- Distribution of Holy Communion in the Parish
- House Visits
- Estate Apostolate
- Cancer Hospital
- Prison Apostolate
Home of Compassion Mahawatha, Madampitiya
The Home of Compassion is a humanitarian apostolate that gives hope and love to the destitute and deprived human beings, who at one time had lived with dignity in their family and society. This home has a historical background. When the missionaries of Charity Sisters were asked to vacate Sri Lanka, they requested the Archbishop of Colombo, to take over the house with its inmates. It was then, that, the Archbishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Bishop Nicholas Marcus approached the Apostolic Carmelites to take over this mission. Provincial Delegate Sr. Maude reading the signs of time, realized that ACs should expand the mission field beyond education, and ventured into this new apostolate.
Thus, the Home of Compassion on 29th August 1971has become an apostolate of the Apostolic Carmelites in Sri Lanka and today it houses nearly 60 male and female elders and thus caters to these compassionate works of mercy.
Bethlehem Crèche, Wanathamulla
Wanathamulla is a slum shantytown in the suburb of the capital city of Sri Lanka. In order to meet the urgent needs of the children growing up in this slum community, we established a daycare Centre in 1954 to provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment to the underprivileged children of Wanathamulla and to help them to meet the demand and enhance the opportunity for the children to have access to a healthy environment during their early childhood growth.
Bethlehem Crèche is a special apostolate of the ACs in Sri Lanka which does their utmost to improve the lives of the children caught up in the web of poverty. It cares for approximately 85 children from 8months to 5 years.
There are 13 boarding Houses attached to some of our communities in the Province. We look after school-going children from the primary classes to GCE A/L.Most of these students are from the middle class families of the society.Some are brought to us by the parents,especially the mothers who go for jobs in foreign lands and within the county due to their financial problems in the family. They prefer to leave their children in the hands of the sisters in Boarding Houses rather than entrusting them to the care of their in-laws or grandparents for the sake of protection. In a society where the moral values, even the mere human values are deteriorating today, the parents are quirt confident that their children are safe with the Sisters.
Boarding Houses run by the ACs in Sri Lanka
- Marian Hostel, Trincomalee
- St. Joseph’s Girls’Home, Batticaloa
- Little Flower Girls’ Home,Kalmunai
- Lisieux Hostel and Boarding House
- Sacred Heart Boarding House,Chilaw
- Christ the King Girls’ Hostel,Murunkan
- St. Teresa’s Girls’ Home, Kollupitya
- Carmel Hostel, Bandarawela
- Lourdes Convent Boarding House, Polgahawela
- Lourdes Hostel Lourdes Convent ,Jaffna
- Carmel Girls’ Hostel, Adampan
- St. Joseph’s Hostel Issanagiri, Pakistan
- St. Mary’s Boarding House, Maharagama
We have 8 children’s homes in the Province. We accommodate children from the less fortunate families of the society. Some are homeless, parentless or live with a single parent, or a guardian due to tragic events such as Tsunami,floods, landslides, Ethnicwar.
We run these institutions with the help we receive from donors local and foreign, well-wishers and sometimes from the generous benefactors.These children are helped and accompanied by our sisters to grow in integrity. They are educated in our schools or Government schools in the close vicinity.
We have 3 Girls’ Hostels in the province. We accommodate the young working girls and girls who do their higher education in the city.
- Carmel Convent Hostel, Colombo -13
- Carmel Seth Pahana Hostel, Moratuwa
- Carmel Kuda Kusum Hostel,Kelaniya
Go out to all nations and proclaim the Good News
Abiding by this mandate given to the Universal Church by Our Lord Jesus Christ, we the Apostolic Carmel sisters of Sri Lanka, join the Local Church in carrying out the Word of Evangelization through various apostolates, besides our main apostolate of Education.
The Parish Apostolate is given priority by our sisters, helping the pastors and the people of God in different areas, as given below.
Conducting or teaching in parish Sunday schools, preparing the children for various competitions organized by the Diocesan or National level such as;
- Bible competition
- Singing competition
- Art competition
- Dance competition.etc
And also participating in various programs organized by the parish, diocesan and national levels. In many of our parishes, the Sunday schools are conducted in all three mediums Sinhala, Tamil, and English. The children are prepared for the Sacraments -The First Holy Communion, Sacrament of Confirmation, and Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Some sisters get involved in various organizations of the parish – Legion of Mary, Youth Associations, etc.
As a rule, the superior of the community and the principal or a sister who works in a Government school that belongs to the parish are the members of the parish council. They attend the parish council meetings and help in planning the parish activities.
For non-Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and sometimes Muslims too, who long to embrace the Catholic Faith. Among these, the majority are young boys and girls who wish to get married to a Catholic partner. On the whole, we have seen that these converts after their marriage are able to bring up good Christian families.
In some of our convents, there are 20-30adult Baptisms every year. We thank God for that in spite of all the persecutions that our Catholics undergo, there are so many people who are thirsting for God. Most of the retired sisters in our communities are involved in this apostolate:
Distributing of Holy Communion in the Parish
In most of our parishes, several masses are celebrated on Sundays, Feast days, Special Novena days, and also other special days of the Liturgical year. In some places, there are 5-6 masses celebrated on these days. The sisters help the pastors in distributing Holy Communion at all these Eucharistic Celebrations. In some places sisters take Holy Communion to the sick and the aged of the parish in their homes.
In visiting homes, the sisters meet people who unable to come to church, due to ill health, old age, etc, and the Parish Priest is informed so that he could visit them and administers the sacrament of Reconciliation.
This also helps to know the condition of the family especially the poor; the Pastor’s attention is drawn towards them and they are helped in various ways especially in the education of children.
These visits are means to come across the broken families who have gone away from the Church and joined some Christian fundamentalist sects, also who have lost their faith and live without following any religion.
Certain Missions are peculiar to the area. The Estate Apostolate is a very powerful and influential mission in the hill country. We the Apostolic Carmel Sisters are doing a mission in the Estates from the existence of our Congregation. We visit given respective estates and serve the people through Education and Apostolic works, like visiting houses, listening to their difficulties and infirmities, sharing our lives experiences, talking to them in a friendly manner helping them to read the Word of God and pray at home .We also helped them to practice their talents by singing, reading, taking leadership etc. Now we feel happy because their life style has changed a lot. Most of the children are going to schools.
- Visiting Houses
- Group prayer sessions
- Catechism class on Sundays
- Attend Estate masses
- Visiting the sick and the old
These are the primary interests and involvements of the entire communities. Sistersalso participate in Zonal Masses, and also in their houses when requested. The Sisters attend the funeral service, and even go to the Cemetery for the final blessing before the burial. Hospital visiting is done whenever it is needed in order to comfort the sick, give communion and help them whenever we can.
In places where the prisons are situated within the parish, the sisters get involved in this apostolate. Mainly in Colombo, Badulla & Trincomalee. With the special permission obtained from the prison authorities, the sisters who have got the sanction are engaged in this apostolate on every Sunday, spending all the morning hours with these unfortunate sections of the people of the society. They devote their time in speaking to them sharing their experiences – listing their sufferings, woes, family problems etc. sisters prepare with religious instructions and to participate meaningfully at the Eucharistic celebration. They train the choir for the celebration and also prepare them for the sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharist etc.
On special feast days such as Christmas, Easter, also the Holy Week services are held at a convenient time for them and the sisters organize these with the prison Chaplain. On the day of the parish Corpus Christi celebration, one repository is prepared by the prisoners in the prison premises and the Eucharistic procession is led to this place, with all parishioners, the religious and clergy, where the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is given. At Christmas special programme is organized and the sisters prepare gift parcels with donations or charities they receive from friends and well-wishers and are given to them for their children and families. On special days such as national festivals, Christmas, etc when the family members and their dear and near ones come to visit them, the sisters too have the opportunity to reach them.
“We come into this world crying while all around us are smiling. May we so live that we go out of this world smiling while everybody around us is weeping”
Our Mission in the Cancer Hospital is a dynamic, essential, and unique apostolate. Since, only Apostolic Carmel Sisters are living in that area where the National Hospital for cancer is situated, ACs are privileged to carry out this mission and it is very satisfactory to know that our service in the Cancer Hospital is highly appreciated and sought after.
We being aware of the gravity of the disease empathize with the patients and try to bring them genuine compassion. Aware of our inadequacy in coping with dying patients as they struggle with cancer, we distribute communion on Sundays, Tuesdays, and whenever necessary. Our primary object in our contact is that they may find strength and consolation in Jesus and bring them close to God. Genuine repentance and the sacrament of reconciliation have a great cathartic effect, lifting the sense of guilt and despair. Aware of this we call or inform the priest of the patient’s spiritual for repentance and reconciliation. Sisters also spend time with the patients, listening and consoling them. At the same time, they provide moral, material, and spiritual support to uplift their downhearted spirits. Sisters also give accommodation to the poor and needy patients who come from far away for treatment.