Dear Rev Ilie Tomuta,
Greetings from New Delhi in the mighty name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
In the September issue of our magazine Tortured for Christ, you will read about active Christian lives. The editorial inspires all believers to act as demonstrators of the Gospel and aligns you to Bible verses that tell you of your responsibility to be active speakers and doers for Christ.
A page from the MJC Digest brings out the moving story of Aakrity Sharma, one of the children whom MJC supports, as well as a report of the 4th Founder`s Day celebration held at Coimbatore.
The biographical section illustrates the life of a pioneering figure among Christian Medical College`s exalted alum Mary Puthisseril Verghese, who overcame an arduous journey of the shattering of her dreams and submitted herself to the Lord`s masterful hands, only to rise above her many challenges and become an epitome of courage and service to humankind.
An appeal to all generous supporters to donate for Christmas gifts that will be distributed to the orphan children of Sabina Hostel is also included in this issue. We hope you will actively involve yourself in this endeavour.
Yours in His service,
Dr. Mary Job
FOUNDER’S DAY AT MJC
The Michael Job Group of Educational Institutions celebrated the 4th Remembrance Day of our founder Late Dr. P. P. Job, on 19th August, which is also observed as the Founder’s Day. The venue of the event was Michael John Job Auditorium at MJC Coimbatore
The meeting started at 10.30 a.m. with a prayer song by MJC Choir. Rev. Levin Koshy Presbyter in charge of All Saints CSI Malayalam Congregation Coimbatore and Chaplain of CSI Bicentenary Students Centre, Karunya University Coimbatore was the Chief Guest. After the guests and staff placed flowers as tribute in front of the smiling portrait of Dr. Job, Remembrance speeches were given by Pastor Yesudoss, Mr. Babu P. Varu, Trustee, Dr. Lali Thomas, Principal MJCAS, Dr. Devanesan Sanjeevi, Principal MJCOE, Mrs. Anitha, Principal MJMHSS, Mrs. Ponnammal MJCAS, Mr. Joseph Elias, and students from the respective institutions. All the speakers remembered their leader with great fondness and spoke about his passion for Jesus Christ and commitment to inspire the community at large. The other dignitaries who made their presence on the Dais were Mrs. Shaila Babu, Mr. Jose P.I., Mr. Edwin and Mr. Kuruvilla Varghese. Others attended the function were Dr. Mrs. Priya Mary Abraham wife of Rev. Levin Koshy, Mrs. Annet Sam wife of Rev. Sam K Mathew, and Mrs. Omana Mathew, mother of Rev. Sam K Mathew. The audience pledged to work towards fulfilling his vision for MJC and prayed for strength to become a guiding light to others like Dr. Job.
At the end, the vote of thanks was given by Ms. Sujatha from Sabina Hostel and the function concluded with a prayer by Rev. Levin Koshy. Lunch was served to all who attended the function. It was a day of inspiration and motivation for all who had gathered on this solemn occasion.
ADVERTISING FOR THE LORD
by Dr. Mary Job
Media, today, is one of the most powerful tools used to influence the minds of people. Whether it is print medium like books and magazines, audio-visual medium like the television and the internet or social media like Facebook and Twitter, these platforms are used to condition the minds of the masses. Within media, advertisement is a core weapon to shape the choices that people make. From products as basic a toothbrushes to social issues like poverty and literacy, and even legal issues like fundamental rights and duties use advertising as a form of communication to convince the public.
When advertisement has such a hold, have you ever thought how powerful you could be as a living advertisement for God? Who will be able to deny the love of Christ if he sees you facing your struggles with courage and attributing this strength as one that comes from Christ? Who will be able to question your faith when they witness it as a source of your joy? How will anyone make a mockery of your compassion when you reach out to help others when they see that your care is not an expression for recognition but a genuine concern for humanity? This is called being a living demonstrator of the Gospel or a witness for Christ. You are the medium that Christ needs to spread His message. The way you live your life, make your choices and establish relations with those around you is the advertisement that Christ expects out of you.
1 Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” (New Living Translation) I would say that if a person lives like Christ and is a Christian not only by belief but by his actions and interactions, he will automatically draw people to himself, and gather souls for God. There is no way to convince another person that the path of Christ is the path to truth and salvation other than to live that path yourself. This is the only way to make our witnessing valid.
To live like Christ did in this world is not an easy task. You will face challenges every day and from everybody even your own dearest ones. Yet, this is our prime responsibility. Philippians 2:15 sets this goal for every Christian: “that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (English Standard Version). This is the inspiration we need to be to those who are lost, hopeless, driven by material power and ambition, corrupt and indifferent. Are you ready to be an advertisement for God?
HE PICKED ME FROM THE WILD
I am Aakrity Sharma from West Bengal and I am currently studying in Grade 11 at Michael Job Senior Secondary School. I came to Michael Job Centre when I was 5 years old. My parents were willingly sent me to this institution because they were undergoing a terrible financial struggle. I only remember crying a lot because I used to feel hungry a lot. Probably there was not enough food to feed me. My parents sent me because they felt they could not raise a daughter in such dire circumstances, and now that I know a lot about the social conditions prevailing in West Bengal, I can presume that they probably thought that child traffickers would take me away.
God saved me from a terrible future, bringing me into a safe and secure fold, including me in His universe like a treasured child. I came with few other girls, some of whom I knew from my neighborhood. Uncle Job used to call us angels and I remember thinking that he was the kindest man I knew. Indeed, he was! He had such overflowing love for all of us that each one of us felt special in his company. Michael Job Centre is a beautiful home for me, where I have learnt about the love of Jesus Christ, and I try to practice the same in my daily life. It means a lot to me that I get three meals a day, am well-dressed, get a good education and have strong spiritual guidance. I feel privileged to be part of this community where we are taught to be responsible people, committed to serve the society in whichever way we can. I trust that the Lord has big plans for me, and I am preparing myself to be ready to make a difference in the world with His word. I am very happy that my parents are very proud of my achievements.
PRIEST STABBED DURING MASS
A Catholic priest was stabbed while conducting mass at a church on August 28 in the city of Medan. In the most recent attack on the minority group of the Christian population, the knife-wielding man entered the Santo Yosef church during Mass and also tried to set off an explosive device.
Father Albert Pandiangan was in the middle of Mass when a young man approached him and stabbed him in the left arm. The priest suffered minor injuries and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. According to local detectives, “Somebody tried to kill the priest by pretending to attend the church service and at that time tried to explode something like a firecracker, but the firecracker didn’t explode; it only fumed.” The parishioners were immediately on the alert and were able to subdue the miscreant and hand him over to the police. His motive in attacking the church is still under investigation.
Indonesia has been facing several attacks by fanatics, and bomb attacks have targeted innocents. Please pray for the safety of our brothers and sisters in the country.
BLOSSOMING IN THE HANDS OF THE LORD:
MARY PUTHISSERIL VERGHESE (1925-1986)
by Mrs. Emily Jacob
The beginnings of Christian Medical College Vellore and the story of Ida Scudder who was instrumental in our Lord’s hand in this was covered a few months ago in this magazine. This month we look into the life of one of CMC’s graduates of 1952, Mary Verghese.
Mary was born in a village in Cochin, Kerala, South India, in 1925. She was the seventh child in a prosperous family of eight children. As a child, Mary was very bright and independent. She came out with honours in Chemistry from the Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam. When her three brothers gained scholarly achievements, Mary wanted to prove that she too was equally capable. When her family wanted her to be a teacher after graduation, she applied to Vellore, to become a doctor. Mary was one among 75 women called for the interview; only 25 were to be selected.
Mary was initially sceptical about what she had heard about Dr. Ida Scudder from her friends in Vellore until she heard the seventy six year old Ida Scudder herself speak in the chapel about the night that changed her life to become a doctor. She had just come to be with her ailing mother in 1890. Little did Ida realise what God wanted her to do with her life, how He was shaping her for a great medical work ahead of her sojourn in India. Ida shared how she was shocked about all the three men from different religious backgrounds coming to her door seeking help with their young wives’ delivery and responding that they love their wives but were unwilling to take the help of her trained doctor father! How could they all say that it was perhaps the Almighty’s wish that they all rather die during child birth? Ida explained how she felt she was on a conversation with God Himself that whole night when the Lord was telling her that she could be an answer to the cries of many in similar circumstances. Could she have made a difference to the desperate situation of the three hapless women during their child birth? This was the inspiration for the premier institution of Christian Medical College and Hospital, at Vellore. Mary too was challenged to be of service to the needy women.
In the admission process, Mary was the first on the waiting list; she was asked to stay back for a few more days. She was eventually selected. Mary could hardly believe that she was a member of the 1946 Batch. Ida welcomed her with the prophetic words,” I believe you have what it takes to make a good doctor.” Thus began a new chapter of hectic student days in CMC Vellore. It was indeed a life transforming process involving a deeper spiritual relationship with God combined with her exposure in the clinics, wards, and in the villages on outreach visits .Sure enough, sensitivity to the human needs around was being nurtured in young Mary. She wanted to specialise in Gynaecology after her graduation in 1952, so she joined the department.
On January 30th 1954, the head of the department planned a picnic with members of her batch, and Mary was one in the group. A station wagon full of 13 young people were on the road enjoying their day till something terrible happened. While overtaking a bus, their bus swerved to avoid a car coming head on, and the doctors’ vehicle turned turtle three times. Two of the thirteen passengers including Mary were unconscious. Mary lay motionless with her face slit from cheek bone to chin and her lower limbs hung like two sticks of wood. Every one recovered except Mary who was diagnosed with complete spinal cord injury that left her a paraplegic.
Mary who had thought she was beginning the career of her dreams, felt all her dreams and aspirations slipping away. The following months involved agonizing hours of therapy and with the high summer temperatures, Mary was in traction, wrapped up in bed. She was going through long treatment procedures and surgeries. Every week she was tested for sensitivity and she failed to sense the pinpricks on her legs. What went through her mind was more than what she went through on the outside. A person as independent and mentally strong as she was could hardly come to terms with the fact that she had to depend on others for everything. She hated to be pitied and slowly started making progress like being able to get on to a wheel chair, and put on a saree without help. After making this progress, she wondered what to do with her degree in medicine. Gynaecology was out of the question. The practical choice to work in the Bacteriology and Pathology departments but that meant she would be confined to the laboratory. Mary was understandably restless within, she longed to be in touch with people and serve the needy.
Paul Brand who famously insisted that it was not leprosy as a sickness that rot the human flesh, but the insensitivity, which came as a result of the disease had successfully introduced reconstructive surgery on the hands and legs of leprosy patients. Brand who did many surgeries on Mary’s spine later became her mentor. Whenever Mary went down in her spirits, Brand counselled her that it was time for her to think about her future as a doctor. Mary thought it was a joke, but she pondered on the idea when Brand suggested that she train to do reconstructive surgeries, which could be performed in a sitting position. Moreover, the fact that she being bound to a wheelchair could bring more empathy and understanding to patients aroused her interest. She went to Brand the next day itself and started to learn and relearn techniques and procedures of working with leprosy patients. Mary slowly began to understand that her disability was not God’s punishment in her life to keep her in misery. She realized that it was God’s hand in her life that was shaping her to be a blessing to the sick.
Mary was soon able to get a fellowship at the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, New York, under a famous surgeon in the field. Her travel to New York, living, working and studying there, even learning to drive, bolstered her faith and determination. Upon earning her qualifications, she assumed charge of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Vellore in 1966, the first of its kind in India. As one of the earliest pioneers in the field, she provided services primarily for persons with spinal cord injury, leprosy, and brain injury. She also started a fund to raise money for those who could not afford braces, wheelchairs and artificial limbs. Vocational training was an important part of rehabilitation. The eighty-three bed Rehabilitation Institute named after her as Dr. Mary Verghese Trust stands as a testimony to her courageous example. She continued to work at the Christian Medical College till 1976. Today, outreach programmes at the Rehabilitation Institute involve communities and families in care and rehabilitation. In her lifetime, she received the highest honours for her pioneering work, including the Padma Shri in 1972 from the then President of India, V.V. Giri and the World Vision Award in 1986. Mary completed her earthly sojourn in December1986. In 2012, the Mary Verghese Award Foundation was established.
Mary, an ordinary girl who nurtured dreams to become a medical doctor primarily to serve was privileged to receive outstanding training and experience through what is today Asia’s premier medical institution. However, just as the young lady’s dreams were to unfold disaster struck, it was as if her longings and hopes came crashing down like a pack of cards. Many friends rallied around her to encourage and support, her strength of character and conviction shone through it all. She was able to pick up the pieces and make her life something beautiful for God. (It reminds us of Mother Theresa through the book by Malcolm Muggeridge)
Mary’s biography, titled Take my hand: the remarkable story of Dr. Mary Verghese, by Dorothy Clark Wilson was published in 1963.
We too live in a world with so many uncertainties around us. Our wealth or health provide no long-standing guarantees. When our Maker is in control, every spilt drop of paint will be made into a design. Are we willing to be in our Maker’s hands to be made channels of blessings?
Web sources consulted:
1. www.sermonillustrator.org- Mary Verghese, the Promising Young Physician
This year we wish to give a packet of clothes for the daughters of MJC as a Christmas Gift. The package will include (1) One complete set of blue uniform (Blouse, pants, belt, tie, socks) (2) One complete set of white uniform (blouse, pants, belt, tie, socks) (3) One pair of white athletic shoes (4) One pair of black shoes for school (5) Three sets of undergarments (6) One casual/daily-wear dress (7) One special Occasion/Sunday dress (8) Feminine Supplies (over 275 girls are above 12 years of age). This pack is the most valuable gift you can give the children as these are not things that can be broken and discarded in a few days, but necessities that the orphan children need and will use daily as they go to school, exercise on the athletic field and worship in the Chapel. Our current costs for the complete list above are about 4000 rupees per girl.
You can send Rs. 4000/- in favour of: MICHAEL JOB ORPHANAGE, Near Sulur Boat Lake, Ravathur P.O., Coimbatore Dist, Tamil Nadu 641103, INDIA