Sistet Jyotisha Kannamka
Sister Jyotisha considers herself a seeker and a searcher on life’s journey. In her 30s, she was a teacher in the schools of the Sisters of Notre Dame, in rural areas of northern India. While teaching catechism to sixth grade students, she was challenged by the leadership of Moses in Exodus to ask: who will teach the children who have no access to school?
In those days, hardly any children in the area went to school, and especially not girls from the most marginalised communities. So Sister Jyotisha left her role in institutional teaching and became a social activist, mobilising communities to educate their children, and particularly their girls. Working with the communities, and especially with the mothers, gave her a lot of joy and fulfilment, although initially it was tough.
Sister Jyotisha says: “The experience of working with women and girls from deprived communities helped me to grow in spirituality. The simple lifestyle of these women and their families is my inspiration to remain positive in the midst of life’s trials and troubles.”
However, her journey was not over. “I am disturbed again now, in my 60s, by the impact of the ecological crisis on the poor. The last two or three years of drought and flood have left poorer communities with no means to meet their basic needs. My inner voice is urging me to fully commit to advocacy for integral ecology: the Pope’s encyclical letter Laudato Si’ and the work of UISG, of which my congregation is a member, have given me new hope.
In my province, we have a Positivity Bank for Mother Earth, which every month records positive actions taken for Mother Earth by different communities. Prominent actions include growing kitchen gardens, planting trees, farming organically, conserving water, saving electricity by installing LED bulbs, using solar energy, meditating in nature, differentiating waste, reducing food waste, composting, recycling, rejecting single-use plastic, and educating children through the Green School movement. I see these as small drops of grace in the vast ocean of our care for creation.”
Sister Jyotisha say:
“The experience of working with women and girls from deprived communities helped me to grow in spirituality. The simple lifestyle of these women and their families is my inspiration to remain positive in the midst of life’s trials and troubles.”