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A South Asia ACSSA Seminar on ''Incisive and Innovative Salesian Personalities of India''
By Bastin Nellissery SDB
Bangalore, Jul. 5. The third continental seminar of ACSSA South Asia was held from 22 to 24 June 2018 at the Provincial House of the Hyderabad Province with 16 participants comprising of 7 Salesians and 9 Salesian Sisters, representing four Salesian and the seven FMA provinces respectively. Father Thathireddy Vijay Bhaskar, Provincial of Hyderabad, presided over the inaugural session. In his presidential address he highlighted the importance of a faithful recording of history. Father Thomas Anchukandam, Director of Istituto Storico Salesiano, Rome, gave the keynote address, stressing the exigency of continuity in the documented history of religious institutes, which calls for conviction, commitment and competence on the part of the one called to this mission.
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The messages from the Rector Major Father Angel Fernandez Artime, from the Mother General Sister Yvonne Reungoat, from the Regional Councillor for South Asia Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga and from the President of ACSSA Father Francesco Motto were read out. These messages evoked a feeling of proximity of the Superiors at this seminar. Their words of appreciation at coming together to study the topic of ''Incisive and Innovative Salesian Personalities of India'' were of encouragement to the participants to continue as promoters of Salesian history in the region.

Three Salesians and four Salesian Sisters presented scientific papers on the theme of the seminar. Mother Catherine Mania FMA, a Charismatic Missionary was presented by Sister Molly Kaniampady. She portrayed Mother Catherine as an epitome of Salesian missionary life who devoted her long life to the service of the poor. Sister Lily Perumpettikunnel presented the only Slovenian missionary who came to India, Sister Terezija Medvesek FMA, an Embodiment of Love and Service. She embodied in a significant manner the ''Salesian spirit'' and lived her Salesian vocation understood as mission. Father Thomas Anchukandam highlighted the significance of Father Joseph Carreno SDB for Salesian India as a true sign and bearer of God's love to all, especially the poor, and was loved in turn by all. He set on foot several innovative projects for the education and upliftment of the poor.

Father Joseph Pandicherry gave an account of the unique figure of Father John Lens SDB based on an unpublished autobiography of his. Sister Teresa Phawa presented a paper on Sister Josephine Gaod FMA, an ardent and enterprising missionary in the Khasi and Jaintia hills. Sister Sangeetha Sahayarani presented Sr Nancy Pereira FMA throwing light on her incisive and innovative works. Finally Father Mathew Kapplikunnel, the Secretary of ACSSA South Asia and Council member of Central ACSSA, depicted Fr Philip Thayil SDB as a visionary and innovator through his publications, media enterprises and cultural projects. After every presentation the floor was open for discussions and critical observations.

The final act was an overall evaluation of the seminar and proposals for follow up plans. A vote of thanks by Sr. Philomena D'Souza and another by Father Mathew Kapplikunnel, the President and the Secretary of ACSSA South Asia respectively, brought the curtain down on the three days of intense scientific activity.


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