MST’s Involvement in the Contemporary World
Through its three mission regions, St. Paul’s Region (Ujjain), St. Thomas Region (Mandya) and St. Alphonsa Region (Sangli) and one delegation (Mary Queen of the Mission, Delhi) MST has contributed greatly in the fields of general education, special education, health care, women empowerment, empowerment of the differently abled and the marginalised, vocational training, rehabilitation, disaster management, and eco-friendly agro based innovations. MST carries out activities in view of creating a harmonious, value based society, transforming the society to establish the Kingdom of God.
Sharing the Mercy of the Heavenly Father
Pope Francis speaks of Evangelization as sharing the great mercy of God, “there is a need for Christians who help show God's mercy and tenderness towards every creature. We all know that today’s humanity is facing a deep crisis. This is why the new evangelisation must necessarily use the language of mercy, which is more about gestures and attitudes than words.”
Works of mercy form a major portion of the activities of MST. Here below is mentioned a series of activities that are direct examples of sharing the Divine mercy through our various activities in the missions.
Care and rehabilitation of the differently abled persons
Care for the mentally and physically challenged children and adults, is a special concern of MST. Seven special schools, one care centre for the severely multiple disabled children and two rehabilitation centres are taking care of the needs of about 600 affected children providing consolation to their family members. Special education, training in activities of daily living, need based services like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, vocational training, medical care, guidance and counselling etc. are provided to the children and their families. 60 mentally challenged adults are being trained in employment activities at Deepti Nivas, Kalenahalli, Mandya in Karnataka so that they can earn their livelihood. 30 mentally challenged adults are engaged in agro based rehabilitation programme at Cherish in Amberi, Maharashtra and they are settled there. Besides, through community based education and rehabilitation programmes about 1092 persons with disabilities are being provided services in their living surroundings. This programme facilitates educational and medical support, corrective surgery, nutritional support and vocational training to the needy children. It also helps the parents to be part of the programme through awareness programmes, self help groups, income generation programmes etc.
Medical and psychological support to the mentally illis another programme to provide medical support, rehabilitation services and counselling to the patients and their family members. This is being implemented through two different centres, in Bhopal and in Mandya and 150 mentally ill patients and their families benefit from these centres.
Family counselling and child guidancehelps many young children to cope up with the conflicting situations and progress in life. It also helps the family members to solve many of their problems and lead a meaningful life.
Care, support and rehabilitation of the HIV/AIDS affected and infected peopleand their families is a great service provided by MST. This is carried out through institution based and community based services. Through community based programmes about 5157 people are being supported through medical care, nutritional support, psychological support, income generation programmes, counselling and guidance. A lot of awareness programmes are carried out for better inclusion of the people infected with this fatal disease and also programmes for creating awareness in the society to prevent the infection of HIV are carried out at different centres. At the institution level care support and shelter are provided to the children infected and affected with HIV/ AIDS who become orphans due to the death of their near ones. Shelter, education, medical support, nutritional food, employment training and rehabilitation are provided to such children. Dilasa in Sangli is a centre of hope for 60 children who are infected/ affected with HIV and are orphaned due to family/ social situations. It helps adults to find employment and shelter in life. Deepti Ashram in Delhi rehabilitates 14 children infected with HIV and they are pursuing their education to make a living in the future. Community Based Rehabilitation programmes are being carried out in Sangli, Bhopal and Delhi.
Care and support to the rag picking children and their familiesis another great service rendered by MST fathers in the suburban slums of Delhi. Living in highly vulnerable situations in and around the Balaswa dump yard of New Delhi is a challenge for the people living there. Several hundreds of families live in very unhygienic situations. The children are working in totally unhealthy situations. Through advocacy and empowerment programmes the children are slowly moving towards mainstream society. 600 children are being educated through non formal education. Education, health care, psychosocial support, skill development, awareness creation, training in alternative livelihood options etc. are part of the empowerment programme. Women empowerment and parents training programmes in this area help the community as such to improve their living conditions and select employment that are not hazardous to their life.
Community development programmes are carried out at different levels in the community. Women empowerment programme is one of them. Through self help groups the neighbouring women come together, make collective savings, find solution to common problems, help one another in needs and find ways for income generations. This womenfolk are from poor family backgrounds and enables them to rise above narrow social thinking and work together for common cause. More than 16394 women are involved in this programme through 1137 Self Help. General and health awareness and leadership training programmes help them to come forward and stand for their rights. Several of these from the SHGs have become winners in the local government elections. Several of the women have started income generation programmes individually and collectively. There are also Self help groups of men and children to develop collective thinking, mutual cooperation and saving mentality.
Child centred activitiesare another centre of attraction of MST activities. Child line to help the children in vulnerable situations is one among them. This is carried out in collaboration with the government authorities. Groups1048 children have benefitted from this programme. School counselling, adolescent training, children’s parliament etc. are some of the programmes to help the children.
One old age home is also started at Lancha in Maharashtra with the name ASARA to provide shelter to the senior citizens who are unable to find shelter in their old age due to several reasons. They are provided a decent living and their needs in the old age are taken care of.
Providing food to the needywandering people in the street- ‘Five loaves’- is a great consolation to the people living in the street. This programme is implemented in Bhopal and Mandya. Those who are wandering in the streets are identified and food packets are given to them every day.
Education support to the poor childrenhelps many poor young adults to pursue their education and gain some employment. 250 children are supported for their school education and 19 persons are supported for professional education.
Providing shelter to the homelesspoor people is a great help for the poor people. This year 13 houses are constructed for homeless people and 25 were given partial support.
Treatment of the snake bit patientsis another great service provided in the mission. Thousands of lives are saved and relieved of the infections caused by poisoning. Treatment of the snake bit patients is another great service provided at various centres in the mission regions. There are two treatment centres in Mandya in the state of Karnataka. Thousands of lives are saved and relieved of the infections caused by poisoning. People from far and near come to these centres for treatment, sometimes, even abandoned by the doctors in big hospitals. The patient and loving care of the priests and sisters of these centres give them hope and through medication and prayer they come back to normal life. The healing touch of Jesus is experienced at these centres.
MST considers these ministries as ways of sharing the mercy of the Heavenly Father to the people around. When you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me........( Mathew 25:40). A missionary believes that when he does any works of mercy in the name of Jesus, he is really serving the Lord. It is this conviction that enables him to undertake activities for the people in the name of Jesus.