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Karunalaya Convent, Keutunimari, Odisha – 1989                                                                                                                                                                                

Keutunimari, in the Mayurbhanj District is a tribal constituency in Odisha. This is a very remote area where basic amenities are lacking particularly health services and educational facilities. In this challenging place the mission of the sisters of the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate began on 2nd October 1989.

In the beginning, the sisters were staying in a house made of mud and hay, a typical Santal house. They had to go through numerous difficulties and inconveniences.

After having visited the villages, the sisters felt that the people were in need of medical care. There was also the necessity of working for the uplift of women and teenagers. The sisters cared for the spiritual needs of the people such as praying with the families, the sick, conducting classes for women and instructing them to make kitchen gardens, preparing nutritious food, sending their children for education and forming women’s groups. The service of the sisters extended in terms of Non-formal and Adult education.

In April 1992, the construction of the Karunalaya Health Centre was started and on 19th March 1993, it was blessed by Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil. Having obtained a jeep ambulance, a Mobile Clinic was conducted regularly giving emphasis on preventive aspects of health work and health education.

Realizing that the girl child is a neglected member of the family, another apostolate was added in 1993 – a hostel for the uplift and overall development of the tribal girls. The boarding facility helps many girls to complete their education. In 1998, with the financial assistance of the Balasore Diocese, the hostel construction was completed providing a conducive atmosphere for the education of the girls.

In the same year, recognizing the lack of proper accommodation for the sisters, the Balasore Diocese was generous enough to build a convent for the sisters.

The Jesuit who had established and looked after the Parish since 1989, handed it over to the Diocese in the year 2001.

As the years passed, the mission in the place extended to new and more villages in terms of health care, non-formal education, education of the boarders and faith formation.

Needless to say, the sisters in the community take keen interest to promote vocations. They travel far and wide bearing all the inconveniences to promote the young girls who would respond to the call of Jesus. This committed and generous service is truly a blessing to the Institute.

In the recent years the sisters are actively involved in the Health Care, Hostel for the poor girls and Socio-pastoral apostolate.