Sisters of Charity Federation Archives

Jean Kulangara, SCN Oral History

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Sister Jean Kulangara
I was born on the 2​nd​ of June, 1947 to my parents K.P. George Kulangara and Mary
George Kulangara. My father was a merchant and my mother a housewife. I lost my
mother at a young age. To some extent, I played the role of a mother to my younger
siblings, especially my youngest brother, Sunny. We are seven children and I am the
fourth in line. I have four brothers and two sisters. All of my siblings are married and well
settled in life.
Both my father and mother were very religious minded people. They encouraged us to
go for daily Mass and weekly confession. I was very regular in religious activities in the
church and in the school. Every evening, the family gathered together to say evening
prayer which lasted one hour. Unlike any other children from my childhood, I had a
special liking for prayer. Both my parents had devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. My
mother convinced me of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. From my childhood, I wanted
to be a religious and cherished that desire.
In my childhood, I used to pray to Mother Mary to make me a Sister – a good Sister.
Surprisingly, on the 1​st​ of January 1962, a priest I did not know told me that God was
calling me to be a religious, and I should say “Yes” to Him. I felt that this priest was
God’s angel to me. I was so excited and happy about this message because it was what
I had been asking God and Mother Mary.
June 1966, I left home for Mokama. Everything was totally new for me - the language,
food, culture, weather, etc. None of these things mattered to me because my desire to
be a missionary was great. I did miss home and my family members, but I was mostly
concerned about learning English and Hindi. As I learned the language, I was happy
because I could communicate with the people of Mokama. I made my first profession in
1970 and final vows in 1975. I was extremely happy on both occasions.
My first mission was in Mahuadanr. I felt happy that I could teach well in the school. I
was very active and used my talents to teach, dance, and sing. In the evenings, after a
day of teaching, we went out to the villages to visit the people. I liked the simple life
style of the village and mission. In Mahuadanr, Sisters Marianne Puthoor, Rosemarie
Lakra, and I were asked to help out in the retreat for the students. I counselled a few
students and conducted prayer services with them. I felt it was a rare privilege to share
an experience of God with the students. From my teaching job, I was appointed as the
principal of the school. I have been both teacher and principal in different schools and I
feel that I have been successful in my career as a teacher and principal.
Although I did not volunteer to go to Nepal, I was happy that I was chosen to go.
Initially, I spent a few months learning Nepali. I learned the language fast because I like
to talk to people and spend time with them. I worked as a social worker and taught
Nepali, sewing, knitting, etc. Thus, many girls were helped to earn their livelihood. I was
a pioneer in Dharan and continued similar work helping the poor women and girls.
Later, I was the vice principal of the school. I enjoyed working in the school, though we
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had to face a lot of problems with Maoists in that area. God helped us, and we
experienced God’s protection every moment of our life. Here I would like to say that I
am an easygoing person and God has gifted me with a gentle and pleasant approach to
people. When anything happens, I take a “let it be” attitude. So much so that people
say, “Jean is cool as cucumber”! I did not go through any big crisis in my life except my
mother’s death when I was fourteen years old. I love my SCN community. I was and am
happy in my mission wherever I was and am.
I was happy to be chosen to serve in another foreign country when I was sent to Belize.
There I did pastoral ministry in the parish in Belize City. I worked as a counsellor in the
school and parish. I helped the women to read and write and do some art work like
making baskets. I prepared a group of boys and girls to write class X exam. Later, one
of the boys who got a job working in USA, told one of the Sisters “It is because of Sister
Jean I have reached here”. I was delighted to hear this and thanked God for using me to
help people.
For two years, I worked in Nazareth Hospital in Mokama as a counsellor and pastoral
Sister. I consider these years especially blessed because I was able to give an
experience of God to people by my gentle, loving listening. I hope and pray that God will
use me to touch many more hearts and to be able to give and experience of God to
more people by my gentle, loving presence and listening. I call myself a “Jack of all
trades and master of none”.
I have had a tangible experience of God, especially during my retreats. I felt Jesus was
walking with me, or I was walking along with Him. I particularly like to recount one such
experience in Ranchi. Toward the end of the retreat, some of us fasted for three days.
The third day I spent a lot of time in prayer. It was midnight, and no one else was
around. I was alone in the chapel. All of a sudden I began to pray in tongues, praising
and thanking God without my being aware of it. I experienced God and was overjoyed
and peaceful.
I am happy that we care for both physically and mentally challenged, and work for the
welfare of children and women. We must continue these ministries and take up
providing homes for the aged and care for the poor and marginalized, as well.
My wish for the SCNs would be that people see us as praying Sisters rather than
professionals running good schools, hospitals, etc. People do not see us as simple,
maybe because of our dress which is not simple in appearance. I wonder if people see
us as religious.
As I look back, these are few of my reflections on life and the SCNs: When I was small
and even in my high school days, I thought religious life was to pray because I used to
see Sisters praying a lot. Later, I realized that Jesus said to us “Love God and love one
another”. For this I need to pray and be united with God. Jesus also said “Give the good
news to all”. This means give Jesus to all, through my life and ministry.

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For me, religious life is a pleasant experience. I have enjoyed my life in the SCN
community. It is where I have experienced a lot of joy and happiness, though I faced
difficulties and problems in few places. Today, as I look back at my life, I can say I have
forgiven all and feel assured of forgiveness from others. I worked in the capacity of
coordinator, teacher, principal and administrator and I feel I have done my best. My
motto in life was and is “To live and let others live”.
For me, prayer and community life are very important and are two pillars of my religious
life. If my life is built on these two pillars, my mission will prosper and my life will
automatically be a Good News to all.
My message to the young members is that we need to be a praying community to help
us in community living – where love and care is experienced. This will automatically flow
out to our mission, and our mission will flourish. Loved and strengthened in community,
we move out to our mission to love and strengthen others.

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Dublin Core

Title

Jean Kulangara, SCN Oral History

Subject

Kulangara, Jean, SCN; Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Creator

SCN Archival Center

Source

SCN Archival Center

Date

7/11/1905

Rights

Permission for any type of publication of archival materials, including text, photographs, video, or audio must be secured from the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Archival Center before publication. Contact archives staff for appropriate forms and contact information.

Format

PDF

Language

English

Type

Oral History

Identifier

MMC-JeanKulangara

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Unknown

Interviewee

Jean Kulangara, SCN

Location

India

Citation

SCN Archival Center , “Jean Kulangara, SCN Oral History,” Sisters of Charity Federation Archives, accessed May 24, 2024, https://scfederationarchives.org/items/show/107.

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