BIS #6913 Salesian Cooperators’ Lenten Outreach at Assisi Bhavan

By Ms Geeta Menezes for BISMumbai

The Salesian Cooperators of St John Bosco Church, Borivali, along with their delegate, Fr Solomon Rapol, visited the aged at Assisi Bhavan on 9 March 2023. There were 20 Salesian Cooperators and two past pupils present for this outreach.

Assisi Bhavan is run by the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FHIC). It is a home for the aged women run by very dedicated religious sisters who provide for the aged a life of dignity with the basic care and facilities needed during this fragile phase of their lives. 

At Assisi Bhavan, the Superior, Sr Maria Angela and her team of sisters welcomed the Cooperators very cordially and warmly. The elderly lady inmates gathered in the open, and the co-operators chatted amicably, exchanging pleasantries with them. They seemed to be very happy and content at the Home and appreciated the love and care shown by the nuns.   

After the interaction and getting to know some of the inmates, it was time for some snacks.  The two past pupils, Mr Sunil Vasandani and Mr Thomas Verghese, sponsored the snacks.  The Cooperators then got the women and the Sisters to engage in a game of Housie.  All of them participated with enthusiasm with the Salesian Cooperators assisting some of the elderly inmates. The winners were excited when they won the various categories and received prizes. This was followed by a session of foot-tapping music and dance to a mix of English, Konkani and Hindi songs. While the song and dance entertainment was going on, the Cooperators brought out the child in every one of them by serving them candy floss.  

It was an evening of fun for all – for the elderly women, the Sisters and to the visitors as well who shared in their excitement.   All the Sisters and helpers shower so much care and concern on the inmates and talk to them patiently.  The Cooperators and Past Pupils could see and feel a lot of love and caring in everyone they interacted with there and were genuinely touched and humbled by the experience.  A Cooperator, recalling her experience, said: “Seeing the smiles and happiness on the faces of all the elderly women who are in the autumn of their life battling loneliness, brought a lump to my throat.  All they want is somebody to talk to.”    

The Sisters and their team at Assisi Bhavan, are blessed with God's Grace to take care of the elderly women inmates.  As theCooperators waved goodbye, they came to a realization that real joy is in sharing and it can be something as simple as a visit to the elderly but so precious.