By Sister Joan Mikulski, MHSH
[Sister Joan visited India last spring; the first series of her reflections were in the September 6, 2012, Blog.]
Among the first Indian people that I observed were our neighbors in the town of Dharamsala in the Himalayan region of the country. The women were always so dignified in whatever they were doing.
From my porch I watched them prepare the fire outside before cooking. The mothers always held their little ones close to the, even while carrying heavy loads on their heads.
We never saw any strollers, the children were always held. Perhaps this is the reason that children of all ages are very respectful, not only to their parents, but to all elders. The family is primary in Indian culture. They live together closely and in large numbers.
One morning I met Kimmee, a 14-year-old Hindu girl dressed in a Catholic school uniform. (All schools—private, public or government—require uniforms for the students.) She attended a Sacred Heart School run by Belgian Sacred Heart Sisters. She invited me to her home after school to meet her family.
She then walked me around her neighborhood to meet her many friends. One little boy told Kimmee that he wanted me to be a part of his family and asked if he could call me “grandmother.” He gave me a huge heartfelt hug and smiled at me so lovingly. His eyes sparkled with tremendous light, and, for me, it was like God showing me his light through this little boy.
At Kimmee’s school, I met with children from grade six through grade ten. After I talked with them, they asked for my autograph! I was given the celebrity treatment. I met so many, many lovely children in India.
The acceptance and love of these children, and all those I met in India, changed me. And I know that I will return there in the not-too-distant future.