SR. BERNARD (1921-2007)
P. G. Teresa was born on 12th July 1921, the eldest child of Gregory and Aleyamma of Champalulam. Teresa was very bright in her studies. She was sent to St. Teresa’s boarding school at Ernakulam for her studies from Primary to College. It is here that she met Sr. Celine, who led her into the way of holy life. When Teresa became aware of her call to religious life as a CSST, she withstood all opposition, especially from her parents. Teresa received the Carmelite habit in 1950, taking the name Sr. Bernard of Jesus.
The young Sr. Bernard worked zealously for the glory of God in the field of teaching at St. Teresa’s itself. Then at Mt. Carmel Kottayam, St. Joseph’s Kalamaserry, St. Joseph’s Mandya and Christ the King Convent Mysore. Sr. Bernard also shouldered responsibility as superior at Sacred Heart Convent Aripalam and Avila Convent Mysore. As a teacher and headmistress, Sr. Bernard placed immense importance to the all round development of the students and worked hard at it. She instructed and encouraged the teachers as well as parents to achieve the utmost for their wards.
Sr. Bernard loved the poor and needy. She gave special attention to help and guide them. Sister used to spent time with the parishioners, listening to them and consoling them.
Sr. Bernard had a special devotion to St. Joseph and Our Lady. She spent long hours in prayer every day. This helped her a lot in her time of suffering. Sister accepted all her aches and pains cheerfully, patiently and calmly in order to fulfill the will of God in her.
Sr. Bernard loved gardening. Let the Lord, her beloved place her in the midst of His garden forever.
Sr. Vinaya has fond memories of Sr. Bernard of the four years she spent at Pakkil Convent as a junior sister. Sr. Vinaya says,” I was inspired and challenged by her practice of poverty, prayer, asceticism and prompt obedience even at the age of 80! Her favorite prayer was ‘memorare’, which she prayed a number of times daily. Sister had great love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and spent a lot of time in the chapel. Sister loved the community and prayed for them and for the Institute. Sr. Bernard was highly talented and virtuous, yet remained always humble. Whenever sister corrected me, she would say, Vinaya, as my younger sister, I want to tell you… Thus sister’s sincere concern made it easy for me to accept corrections. Sr. Bernard was an elder sister, friend, spiritual guide and a confidante to me. When I visited Sr. Bernard in June 2007, sister told with a heavy heart, “Vinaya, teach your novices to love the Lord and to love the sisters.” Sister had told me the same thing three years back too. These words echo in my ears, and I must say that Sr. Bernard practiced these in her life.”