By Amy McKeever
Sister Lucy Kurian, hailed by some as the “Mother Teresa of India,” brought her message of serving those in need to Stonehill Sept. 20.
Kurian, a Catholic nun from India, spoke to students and faculty at the Chapel of Mary about opening Maher, the first home for injured and distressed women in India.
The visit follows a trip to Pune, India, by students from the H.O.P.E. program, Stonehill’s student immersion program, last year for a service project. Students enjoyed their time at the Maher house, and Kurian was invited to come to Stonehill.
During the event, Kurian highlighted her experience in found-ing the home and displayed a short video featuring Maher. The event was sponsored by the H.O.P.E. Program and Campus Ministry.
Maher is a home to protect women in need, which Kurian began by simply collecting monetary donations, she said.
“We not only like to shelter the women, but also rehabilitate them, to bring them back to health,” Sister Kurian said.
When many mothers came to the shelter with children, Kurian decided to open a home for children as well.
Senior Julianne Earle was a member of the H.O.P.E. group that traveled to India. She said the group learned about Indian cultural celebrations.
Earle said she and other students were given the opportunity to run classroom sessions, during which they playing games, painting, singing or dancing.
“A lot of the children had really sad stories, and seeing them, how they are so full of love and acceptance when they don’t even know you, shows you a lot about how hopeful they are,” Earle said.
The home rescues children in need, such as children forced into prostitution and child labor.
So far about 1,200 women and 862 children have been through the Maher program, Kurian said.
“India was the most transformative trip I’ve ever taken,” Earle said. “It was a huge culture shock and I learned a lot about perspective.”
There are now 37 Maher homes to meet the needs of a variety of people, including mentally and physically disabled women, homeless women, children in need and even men.
“Sister Lucy has taught me so much about the transformative power of love,” Earle said.
At the end of the event, a proposal to start a support group at Stonehill was discussed.
Though she did not travel to India, sophomore H.O.P.E. leader Emily Schario said she thinks students would be interested in a Stonehill-based service opportunity that reaches out to Maher.
“Especially because of the positive experiences that Stonehill students have had on the H.O.P.E. India trip,” Schario said. “I think it definitely would be a great outlet for students to stay connected with them.”
Schario thinks all the service opportunities offered at Stonehill say a lot about the school.
“I think Stonehill shows our mission a lot though our service opportunities here,” she said. “I think it’s a really amazing experience to talk with former site leaders.”