The Light of Christ can come upon us in many forms—an epiphany, a blessing, an insight. But sometimes it comes literally, too. In Barakathal, India, a new “light” shines at Our Lady of Holy Cross School, where solar panels collect the power of the sun to power the school. Now, when the regional electric system fails the lights stay on for students and staff.
“One of the major problems of this remote area of India is the inconsistent nature of the power grid,” said Headmistress Sister Khochem Mossang, CSC. “The school and dormitories are frequently without power for minutes or even hours or days at a time. Having solar to rely on is a major advantage to ensuring the school continues normal operation and makes studying possible for students in the evening.”
The solar panels further the Congregation’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2050 and uphold the Statement on Climate Change issued in 2009 (and reaffirmed in 2019) by the Family of Holy Cross (sisters, brothers and priests).
This project, as well as a camera-based security system and new catechesis materials, was made possible by a grant from the Donald D. Lynch Family Foundation.
The new security system is helping to illuminate unexpected events that may occur at the school. Eleven cameras in the hallways and throughout the premises now help monitor incidents between students, document accidents, and reveal trespassers on school property.
“Unfortunately, there have been increased reports of kidnapping in India schools and, like the United States, security technology is needed,” said Sister Khochem.
The light of a moral life is a foundational aspect of the school. Educating students two days a week on the sacraments, social justice, and elements of Church teaching was hampered by the school’s meager collection of faith education materials. Now, students can access Bibles, religious story books, audio-video lessons, sacramental preparation materials, prayer books, Christian movies and Bible study charts. The grant also allowed the school to purchase 250 sets of beads to make rosaries.
“Students at Our Lady regularly compete against other schools in competitions related to the understanding of catechism and religious curriculum,” said Sister Khochem. “The new materials will aid greatly these competitions and, most importantly, the spiritual growth of our students as they grow closer to God.”
Our Lady of Holy Cross School is a bright light for the Barakathal community. May it long shine.