BIS #7146 Grace John Felicitated by the Regional

By Br Aliester D’Souza for BISMumbai

The Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia (SPCSA) felicitated Mrs Grace John on her 25 years of service in the Youth at Risk (YaR) sector on 8 February 2024. The Regional Councillor, Fr Biju Michael SDB, honoured Mrs John with a citation from the Cardinal Rector Major Ángel Fernández Artime.

Mrs John joined Shelter Don Bosco in 1999 and has ever since been an integral part of the staff. She has often gone beyond the limits of her working hours and treated the boys and youth on the streets of Mumbai as her very own, available at their beck and call. She is fondly known as ‘Mummy of the Streets of Mumbai’.

When the Regional Councillor visited Shelter Don Bosco last year, he was taken up with the work of the institute. He then recommended that the staff who had worked for many years and were dedicated should be acknowledged, especially Mrs John. On 4 February, the Provincial of the Province of Bombay, Fr Savio Silveira, felicitated Mrs John and four other staff who had completed 25 years of service to the institute. Mrs John, however, deserved special recognition for her complete dedication to the YaR Ministry.

Fr Lester Fernandes, the Rector of Shelter Don Bosco, mentioned to the SPCSA gathering that Mrs John has been a sister, mother, counsellor, banker, friend and doctor to countless young people who were unfortunately abandoned on the streets. She has seen some of them in their darkest moments of substance abuse and even accompanied some on their final journey. It was therefore fitting that she receive the acknowledgement that is due to her.

Fr Biju Michael remarked that he had experienced her work first-hand during his visit to Shelter Don Bosco, and was taken up by the rapport she had with the youth on the street. She was indeed a ‘Mamma Margaret’ to the many without a mother or a family to go back to.

A short video as a tribute to Mrs John was screened at the gathering, giving them a glimpse of her work. It was met with thunderous applause from the Salesians. Addressing the gathering, she said that it was indeed God and Don Bosco who chose her for this work, and till her dying breath, she would continue to work for the most vulnerable and marginalised at Shelter Don Bosco.