We are pleased to introduce a new monthly series focused on sharing the ministries of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. These ministries are not merely the fruit of the sisters’ labors, nor are they merely the offspring of the seeds of faith planted by our founder Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau. While it is true that these are two major contributing factors in producing the “fruit” that you will see, it is also true that those “seeds” have been watered through the years by our many prayer partners, donors and benefactors who have labored alongside us. Even more importantly, we acknowledge the Holy Spirit in helping these things to happen.
It seems natural, then, to speak of one fruit each month as we focus on a Holy Cross ministry. In August we take a deeper look at Our Lady of Holy Cross School in Barakathal, India. Opened in 2013, the school offers nursery, primary and secondary education. Recently the Conrad Hilton Fund for Sisters awarded a generous grant to the school for the purchase of 25 new computers to supply its previously empty computer lab. When these computers arrived there was much celebration!
On January 16, 2012, two Sisters of the Holy Cross went to live in Madhudashpara, Barakathal, Tripura, India, a remote village one-and-a-half-hours from Agartala, the nearest populous city. They began to assist the teachers in the existing village school and to visit families and work with the local youths’ development needs. Having this experience, the sisters were encouraged to establish their own education ministry, which they did.
Later that year they established a sub-parish in Barakathal (sometimes spelled Barkathal) Village. They purchased property which belongs to the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. A ground-breaking ceremony took place on November 12, 2013, and the school was named Our Lady of Holy Cross School by the Congregation. Construction of new buildings quickly followed, and on March 31, 2014, the sisters moved the school from the church campus to the new property.
The school is open to both boys and girls, and has students in nursery, kindergarten and grades one through nine. The school plans to expand to grade 10 for the 2019 school year and add a grade per year through grade 12. Enrollment is expected to continue to grow as grades are added.
Material poverty and lack of electricity prevent children from being exposed to computer technology in the home. It is likely the only exposure to computers for these children occurs while studying at Our Lady of Holy Cross School. Computer literacy is very important for students’ future chances of securing gainful employment, especially given the increase in technology-oriented careers in India and globally. Leadership roles will demand it and thus, technology is an important part of the school’s curriculum.
To provide Our Lady of Holy Cross students with exposure to technology, the Conrad Hilton Fund for Sisters awarded a grant to the school for the purchase of 25 computers to furnish its computer lab. This project is helping them become comfortable with computers and learning critical skills such as keyboarding, use of the mouse and beginning research. As the school expands into secondary grades, what a blessing to have these computers available for typing reports and conducting research. The equipped computer lab is bringing the curriculum to life for students and is giving them a leg-up in finding opportunity in today's technological environment.
The grant from the Conrad Hilton Fund for Sisters also included an assortment of books to complement the school’s curriculum, including math, biology, chemistry and English textbooks, as well as encyclopedias, classic fiction and dictionaries. These books give students the tools to foster learning and succeed in their classes. The school aims to deliver a high quality education for both the mind and the heart, and the computers and library items will help to deliver on that mission.
The Sisters of the Holy Cross ministering at Our Lady of Holy Cross School in Barakathal continue to plan thoughtfully for the growing school’s development as it strives to deliver an outstanding Catholic, Holy Cross education of both the mind and the heart. Upcoming major projects for the school are the installation of a security system, a fire safety system, science lab equipment and purchase of musical instruments. Should you wish to help make these things happen, you may donate online. In the drop down menu next to “my gift is for,” choose “other” and type India school below it.
Thank you to all our donors and partners for sharing their resources and prayers to make fruitful opportunities like these possible.