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Sr. Olivia Chempakassery

Sr. Olivia 

 Born: 05.01.1966

 Professed: 31.12.1969

 R.I.P:   04.12.2017    

When my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I”- Ps. 61:2                                                                                                                       

Death is not the extinguishing of a light, but the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come. A new day dawned for Sr. Olivia and she peacefully began her new life in the Risen Lord on 4th December 2017. While everyone waits in hope for the coming of the Lord, she has completed her waiting….the season of advent has ceased in her earthly life and is in glory with the Father.

Gratitude to Almighty God for the gift of Sr. Olivia to the Ursuline Congregation. She was born on 5th January 1946 as the 5th child to Thomas and Annamma in the Village of Vazhoor, Kerala, in the diocese of Changanassery. She was blessed with three brothers namely Devasia, Mathews and Jose and five sisters Aleyamma, Theyyamma, Marykutty, Philo and Rita. Among them Devasia, and Aleyamma have already left for their eternal reward. At home she was fondly called Chinnuaunty and her nieces and nephews found in her solace, strength and courage. She was a person of conviction, determination and creative power. Her sudden and unexpected departure saddened all the Ursulines but it is consoling to know that she was gradually preparing to meet her beloved Spouse.

Sr. Olivia came to Ursuline Convent-Davis Road on 6th October 2017, to the annual retreat. Later she went home for holidays and had a relaxed time with all her beloved family members. She spent long hours in prayer and when someone asked she said, ‘I experience a sense of peace and well-being these days.’ During this time she also availed the services rendered at Ursuline convent-Preethi Wellness Centre at Bande Bommasandra. While she was under treatment, she had been spending quiet moments before the Eucharistic Lord and was relaxed and happy to return with better health. She completed her course of treatment and was getting ready to come back to Ursuline convent-Davis Road. The fatal incident took place on 1st December 2017, around 11.00 a.m. as she suffered an acute stroke with right side paralysis and loss of speech instantly.

She was immediately rushed to the Hospital and emergency care was given at Manipal Hospital of Medical Sciences, Bangalore. The CT scan showed a clot at the right side of the brain and she was taken to the Catha lab and the clot removed successfully but the bleeding persisted due to the anticoagulant treatment she was already taking. In spite of all the expert medical assistance her health was deteriorating and she remained unconscious all through. The angel of death lovingly beckoned her on 4th December at 3.45 p.m. to eternal bliss where there is no pain and suffering but unending joy.

Sr. Olivia joined the Ursuline Congregation on 14th March 1966 and made her First Profession on the 31st December 1969.  She pronounced her perpetual vows on 18th May 1975 and had been a member of the Ursuline family for the past 49 years. She graduated in B.Com and did diploma in Business Management, Journalism and computer course. Her persistence and perseverance helped her to acquire skills in writing and accounts.

In the early years of her life, she rendered committed and dedicated services as an effective teacher and in clerical capacity in many of the institutions: Ursuline convent-Kannur, Ursuline convent-Bangalore, St. Mary’s convent-Bazpur, Mariampur convent and St. Patrick’s convent-Kanpur. She was also part of Shalom-Bandra, St. Xavier’s convent-Loutolim, St. Joseph’s convent-Nasik, and Holy Family convent-Kurla. She rendered her valuable service at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore in the computer department from 1987-1990. Her poor health condition did not prevent her from giving herself to the community.

She was gifted with a special skill of adventure, an outstanding quality that enabled her to give a new touch to anything she undertook. This was coupled with her love for the poor and the differently abled. She was keenly interested in their well-being. These were evident from her small scale industry of making envelopes and greeting cards for the sole motive of employing them. She continued this new venture for about 8 years and had to discontinue it due to her ill health.

She indeed had a taste for journalism and has written many short stories, poems, articles, skits for periodicals and received few awards and recognition for the same. Sr. Olivia was honoured with the ‘Malayala Manorama Award’ for her short stories in Malayalam, ‘P’Daniel & Elizabeth Memorial Award’ for her literary contribution and Humanitarian services. She has also contributed her mite in compiling the 3rd volume of the Annals of Ursuline Mission in India along with other sisters. Whatever she did, she did with the best of her ability and undaunted will power.

Sr. Olivia’s health condition was not so good as she was diagnosed with Valvular heart problems quite early in life and had undergone two major surgeries i.e. the open heart and valve replacement, following which she was in continuous medication.

‘In Gods will is my peace’ with this phrase she had written a will in 2012, to the then Provincial superior, for donating whatever organs that could be useful. She was indeed an altruist- her desire to donate all the organs of her body was a proof to it. She had a daring and determined spirit to walk the untrodden path. Even though she was declared dead at 3.45 pm on 4th December, the organ donation procedure took a long time. Though she is no more, she continues to live in a human person because of the donation of her organs. Her mortal remains were brought to the Ursuline Provincialate by the sisters along with her three nephews, around 4.00 a.m. on 5th December 2017. It was noteworthy to see the marvelous way her brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews accompanied her throughout her illness and later kept praying by the mortal remains. Her niece  tearfully recalled that while returning from her home visit she carried all the dresses that she left at home for the past few years, saying, ‘let me take it with me, I don’t know whether I may come home again’.

Sr. Olivia was very close to Jesus that He took her away without even giving her the slightest pain, perhaps, knowing that  she wouldn’t be able to endure. God’s preferential love for her was proved in her life as well as death.

 “To live in the hearts of those you leave behind, is not to die”. Dear Sr. Olivia, you will always live in our memory until we meet in heaven. Adieu to you dear sister till we reach our home, where you have preceded us. May you enjoy everlasting rest in the loving arms of your heavenly Spouse whom you served with deep love, unwavering faith and fidelity.