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Sr. Christopher Nellanikkatt

Sr. Christopher

D.O.B:02.01.1947

Professed:17.02.1966

R.I.P :10.09.2015 

 “Suffering is measured in hours but the reward is eternal” 

The hearts of the Ursulines filled with grief and pain at the sad demise of their dear Sr. Christopher who offered her life of love and suffering after the example of the Foundress Blessed Brigida of Jesus. She has gained the peace and joy of everlasting bliss of paradise, with God who has made all things new for her.

Sr. Christopher took leave from this world and flew to the eternal shores at mid-day on the 10th of September 2015, leaving behind memories of love and togetherness. She conquered heaven in the Golden jubilee year of her religious life and went to celebrate the jubilee with her Lord and Spouse!

Sr. Christopher saw the light of day 68 years ago on the 2nd of January 1947 in Idukki District, Kerala, in the diocese of Kothamangalam. She was baptized and was given the name ‘Mary’, the name of our Heavenly Mother. She was the 6th child of Mr. Joseph & Mrs. Elizabeth Nellanikkatt. She was blessed with four brothers and four sisters. Among them one is a religious brother (Bro. Thomas in the Congregation of the Montfort Brothers) and three religious sisters. It is truly joyful to know that two of her elder sisters, Sr. Milania and Sr. Tecla are religious sisters in the Congregation of the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate.

She joined the Ursuline Congregation on June 23rd 1963 and made her First Profession on the anniversary of our foundation i.e. on the 17th Feb. 1966.  She took her perpetual vows on 25th May 1971 and has been a member of the Ursuline family for 49 years serving the congregation very generously in various important offices. She rendered her service as a dedicated and effective teacher and Principal in the institutions at St. Rita’s School, Goa; Mariampur School, Kanpur; Sacred Heart Convent School, Obra; Ursuline School, Kannur and Jyothi Nivas Higher Secondary School, Aluva. Sr. Christopher’s interaction with her students, staff and others were marked with a special touch and deep interest in their well-being. This was evident when few of her students, after 35 years, flew all the way from Delhi and Ahmedabad to pay a visit to her in the hospital. 

She was a Provincial Councilor, Vice Provincial and Secretary General in Rome. She completed her Licentiate in Psychology and obtained a Ph.D from the prestigious Salesian university in Rome. She was expert in the languages – Italian and English and worked untiringly in translating the documents and books pertaining to the life and spirituality of the Foundress Blessed Brigida of Jesus who lived in the 17th century. She has done a unique service to the congregation and her contribution is immense in this regard. She had grasped the full meaning of the Charism of the Institute and was able to impart the same through seminars and retreats which she directed for the members of the congregation.

Sr. Christopher was diagnosed with chronic liver disease 3 years ago. She was in and out of hospital for the past one year with its complications. On 12th August 2015 she was admitted to our Holy Family Hospital, Bandra with abdominal discomfort. She was detected to have gross ascites (fluid collection in the abdominal cavity). On further investigation it was diagnosed that she was in a state of chronic liver failure. During her 29 days of hospitalization, therapeutic ascetic tapping was done on few occasions to remove the fluid from her abdomen. As her condition started deteriorating, her dear ones, Sr. Milania and Sr. Tecla, Bro. Thomas and other family members were informed and they came to be by her sick bed, sharing in her pain and suffering and strengthening her with their prayerful and comforting presence. She received the anointing of the sick on 27th August and received Holy Communion daily on her sick bed.

 Sr. Christopher’s condition became more serious a week before the end. On and off she had pain which she bore bravely to the edification of those who visited her. On the 9th evening she found it very difficult to swallow a little food and the tablets which were given to her. She found it hard to articulate and was inaudible in her speech. She was semi-conscious and slowly her breathing became shallow and in to a gasping stage. The Ursuline sisters who visited her found that her condition was becoming serious and she was on oxygen continuously. Hence that night Srs. Melania, Tecla and Sheeja stayed with her, while the doctors and the nurses checked her condition frequently.  She went into Hepatic coma in the night.

On 10th morning she looked much more serene and peaceful. In the morning she received a small particle of the Holy Communion and soon after that her breathing suddenly became more difficult but gradually eased and became effortless. The doctors and the nurses who kept checking her condition knew that nothing more could be done. Srs. Milania, Tecla, Bro. Thomas and other family members and of course the Shalom community sisters surrounded her bedside offering fervent prayers and supplications to God for her. Around 11.30a.m her breathing indicated that the end was near.

At 12.00 Noon she opened her eyes, fixed them directly on the crucifix and remained in that position for few moments. Then she looked around and slowly closed her eyes. But what was so special about the last moment was her look fixed on the crucifix which was something unique. Her eyes were shining with divine light and those around her then, Srs. Melania, Tecla, Br. Thomas and a relative of theirs and Sr. Beena saw her flight to heaven into the eternal embrace of her Divine Master serenely and peacefully. Sr. Christopher has reached where she belongs and where we all hope to be. May she intercede for all the Ursulines.

The mortal remains of Sr. Christopher were kept in the community hall at Shalom, Mumbai, blest by the continuous prayers offered by the sisters, family members and friends who came to render their last respects and homage to the dear departed. On 11th September at 2:00 pm the body was placed in the well decorated coffin and the final salute to the loved one was given at 2:30 pm by the family members and the sisters, after which Sr. Christopher’s cousin Fr. Thomas Nellanikkatt V.C prayed the death office along with the congregation. At 3.30pm Fr. Joe from St. Andrew’s parish arrived for the last blessing of the mortal remains. The Ursuline sisters were privileged to carry the coffin to the waiting hearse and proceed in procession to St. Andrew’s Parish for the Holy mass and funeral ceremony.

Once again the sisters carried the coffin from the church gate up to the sanctuary for the funeral Mass which was celebrated by the Parish priest Fr. Caesar D’ Mello and con-celebrated by nine priests. After the Holy mass the final rites were conducted by her cousin Fr. Thomas VC and the funeral procession proceeded to the cemetery where our dear sister was laid to rest.

Grateful thanks to the Nellanikkatt family who gifted Sr. Christopher to the Ursuline Congregation and  nourished her  vocation  for  the  past  49  years   by  their  prayers,  encouragement  and  support.  Very  specially  thanks  to her  dear  sisters  and  brothers  for  being  with her and supporting and comforting her in  the  most  crucial  moments  of  her  life. Grateful  thanks  to  the  team  of  doctors  and  nurses,  especially  Dr. Jadwani  and  Dr.  Sanjeev Khanna  and  the  staff  of  Holy  Family  Hospital  for  their  availability  and  generous  service  all through  the  difficult  time  of  her  illness.

Dear Sr. Christopher, you are always remembered for your cheerfulness, generous self-sacrificing spirit, your simplicity, and genuine love for your sisters. “To live in the hearts of those you leave behind is not to die”! Dear Sr. Chris, you will always live on in the memories of the Ursulines until we meet in heaven.

Adieu! Chris dear, as you were lovingly called. May you enjoy everlasting peace and rest in the loving arms of your heavenly spouse whom you served with deep love and unwavering fidelity.