Building Our Faith - The Sisters of the Pious Schools in India
St. Paula Montal “. . . belongs to the group of founders of religious orders who in the 19th century came forward to meet the many needs that were present and that the Church, inspired by the Gospel and by the Spirit, wanted to respond to for the good of society. The message of St. Paula is still valid today and her educational charism is a source of inspiration in the formation of the generations of the third Christian millennium.”St. John Paul II, Pope
The religious order of the Daughters of Mary, Religious of the Pious Schools, also known as the Sisters of the Pious Schools (or Escalopias, or as they are known in India, the Piarist Sisters), was founded by St. Paula Montal “to save families, teaching children the love of God”. Based on the vision of St. Paula Montal that a superior faith-based education is key to assuring human dignity, their efforts around the world continue to reflect their educational mission: joy in teaching, fostering the dignity of each person, and building family life.
Our own parish has been the beneficiary of their devotion to their mission. Having been exiled from Communist Cuba, a group of the Sisters was invited by our founding pastor, Fr. Grill, to teach at our newly established school. For over 50 years they have been a source of support and guidance for our school and parish children and families. Their order is also active today in providing a faith-based education to children in numerous countries.
Our former school principal, Sr. Rosemary Bochniarz, Sch. P., has been working in India since leaving the Sisters’ home in Northridge. Providing novitiate formation as Mistress of Novices, as well as English lessons, she has been working to spread the Good News on the Indian Subcontinent by being involved with developing vocations and being part of the effort of the Sisters to establish an elementary/middle school. The school model is based on our own parish school and will hopefully one day soon become a reality. Land has already been allocated but additional funding is needed to complete the project. Sr. Rosemary has written to us about her experiences and the project:
Dear S.J.E. Families & Parishioners,
After 30 grace-filled years at St. John Eudes School, the Lord sent me to a new mission in India. When I arrived at our House of Formation ten years ago in Eramalloor, Kerala, I was teary-eyed to be greeted by young Sisters of the Pious Schools (known as Piarist Sisters in India) and girls aspiring to become Sisters. Their youthful smiles, songs, flowers, and incense entered my heart, and I knew at once I was in my new Home. The excitement of a new culture, new land, and especially new vocations, challenged me. The awesome thought to be a part of St. John Paul II’s prophecy that the Church’s future vocations will come from Asia and Africa.
Just as St. Paul said, “How can they believe in someone they have not heard about? And how can they hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14), so we have travelled through the states of India from the southern tip in Tamil Nadu to the north-eastern state of Assam. And the Lord touched the generous hearts of young girls who heard the quiet call, “Come, follow Me”. The Piarist Family Tree has grown with twelve Indian Sisters, two novices who recently professed their vows, four first-year novices, three pre-novices, fourteen aspirants and two “senior” Sisters. The Lord has done marvels!
Mother Paula continues to dream in each of us – to provide an integral Christian education for all children and youth, especially the most needy. The place we have chosen for our first school in India is in the southern part of Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari District, in a village called Kattuvilai. With great effort we have purchased the land (three acres to meet the government requirements), and like Mother Paula, we began teaching children in a small rented building near the convent. Now we dare to go forward to build ST. PAULA MONTAL CBSE SCHOOL, putting our trust in the Lord who can never be outdone in generosity!
I invite you to be a part of Mother Paula’s Dream in India since in your younger years YOU were formed in the loving care of Mother Paula’s spirit. As St. John Eudes School recently celebrated 50 Years of Excellence (1966-2016), and we also celebrated the wonderful works each of you is carrying on to build the Kingdom of God, most especially in your families. Will you help us to build our school so the children of India will also live, learn and leave a legacy with the spirit of Mother Paula?
We have established a Building Fund for our Indian school through our Sisters in Northridge. You may contact Sr. Guadalupe, who is still working at SJE School, at 818-885-6265 or by writing to Sisters of the Pious Schools, 17601 Nordhoff St. Northridge, CA 91325. You may contact me at RMB226@yahoo.in. If you visit India, please contact me at 0478-287-7420 or Piarist Sisters, Eramalloor P.O., Cherthala, Kerala 688 537.
God’s work needs prayers before action, so let us pray for one another as we go about doing good in the name of JESUS. God loves YOU!
With sincere thanks and prayers,
Sr. Rosemary, Sch.P.
Above - The Sisters of the Pious Schools work and interact with children in the area teaching them in the spirit of St. Paula Montal. The Sisters currently teach in an India public school, but their goal is to establish their own school where they can integrate academics with a faith-based education. Many children desperately need a quality education built on understanding, compassion and strong moral guidance.
Above & Left - Interacting in the local community, sharing meals and celebrations, helps the Sisters spread the message of Christ and supports the faithful. Their efforts build awareness of their mission and support in the community for their goals of establishing a local school based on a similar model of our own parish school. Will you help the Sisters build a school so the children of India will also live, learn and leave a legacy with the spirit of Mother Paula?
Above - The local Catholic community celebrates traditional Christian customs such as the Palm Sunday and Good Friday processions. The Sisters join in these events and demonstrate their support of the community.
Above - Vocations are an important part of the Sisters’ mission in India. Many young Indian women are attracted to the message of Christian service through education and have sought inclusion in the Sisters’ community. The Sisters have developed their program through the establishment of a House of Formation and work in conjunction with their local parish, St. Francis Xavier Church, and Piarist priests and missionaries. And as they pray for us, the Sisters ask also for your prayers and support as they go about doing good in India in the name of Jesus.
Can you help the Sisters spread the message of Christ?
Anything you can give will help.
Send your tax deductible donation to:
St. Paul Montal School India
Sisters of the Pious Schools 17601 Nordhoff St. Northridge, CA 91325
Questions? Contact Sr. Guadalupe Gonzales (818) 885-6265
or email Sr. Rosemary at RMB226@yahoo.in