Born: 16 August 1979
Professed: 28 October 2007
Died: 9 November 2007
The gardener plucked his little flower, Sr. Veena, before it dropped into the dust. She found a place in his garland, as he honoured her with a touch of pain from his loving hands and called her back to Him.
Sr. Veena was born to Mr. George Rodrigues and Eveline Rodrigues on 16th August 1979 in Taccode, South Kanara, Mangalore. She was the first child and one among the two girls and two boys in the family. Shw was baptized as Veena Lavina Rodrigues. As a child her grandmother who was Sr. Sherina’s (One of our sisters) mother was an inspiration to nurture a desire for prayer. She also learned to make choices between good and bad and imbibed certain values which guided her throughout her life. After completing matric she continued her studies staying in Holy Cross boarding in Trasi convent, where she was inspired by the life of sisters. Motivated with a desire to pray more she joined Holy Cross congregation in 1998 and by and by she grew up being compassionate, kind and loving to others. As a candidate she completed her teachers’ training in Bangalore and indeed she was a promising teacher. Later she was placed in Devala where she quickly incorporated into the mission. In 2004 she made her first commitment to the Lord. She always cherished her religious vocation to Holy Cross with gratitude.
Thereafter she was placed in Bidi and Hassan communities to look after the little kids in the school. She devoted herself fully to the mission. The children and the parents experienced the absence of this young, vibrant sister when she fell sick. In February 2006, while she was in Hassan the symptoms of Leukaemia started to appear in different forms, which was confirmed in two hospitals in Bangalore. After the diagnosis she was taken to Vellor medical college where she had bone marrow transplantation. She endured through the excruciating aches and pains of the treatment with deep trust and hope in the Lord. After the treatment of six months she was fully recovered of the sickness and started to function normally. During this period she was placed in Singasandra community. Her coming back to a new life was really a sign of hope in the jubilee year of the congregation. She began again her enthusiastic life with new hopes and dreams. However it was only for a short period of one year and the sickness relapsed in September 2007 which was a shock to her as well as to every one of us. We realise that God’s ways are so mysterious. We remain united with him in unwavering faith and unlimited trust in sorrow and joy. Sr. Veena too was resigned to God’s will and was of the opinion not to start again the same treatment as there is no guarantee for her recovery. As she was very clear in her decision she was taken to St. Johns hospital to give her the treatment as and when it was required to reduce her pain and to have some comfort.
She began her colloquy with God intensely concerning his plan for her life. So she writes “I felt that I am in the mid sea, cannot see the shore but only turbulent water. Will you Lord help me see glimpses of shore in this wild sea?” She acknowledged that in his loving plan for her she had only a short period of 28 years here on earth. She lifted her pain, suffering and agony in silent surrender to the Lord in different moods and struggle and helplessness. She recognised her call to partake in the paschal mystery and considered it as a privilege. Her patron Blessed Sr. Zdenka was her consolation and strength and kept repeating Sr. Zdenka’s own prayers when she found it difficult to surrender to divine will. Her love for the congregation was intense that she wanted to remain with the sisters in her last days and not in the hospital. To make her total commitment to the Lord she expressed her desire to make her final vows. Therefore on 28th October 2007, with her will power she regained her stamina for a short while and made her final commitment. As she became serious after two days we shifted her to hospital.
In the midst of pain and suffering she was always cheerful, prayerful, loving and adjusting to everything and everybody. She radiated joy to all who visited her. Her prayer was “Lord you know everything”. And she wrote further “Lord, you have full control over me, do with me as you wish”. She was grateful to everyone who walked with her the path of suffering with love, intense care and concern. When we go through the scribbles of her last days it was evident that what she most loved in life was to be a Holy Cross Sister and she expressed her gratitude to the congregation for the love and care given her. Even though she struggled to accept the reality of the shortness of her life, she desired to be fully cleansed and acceptable to the Lord before she left this world. Towards the end of her life she had untold suffering as all kinds of signs and symptoms of Leukaemia started to show up in her body. She truly participated in the agony of the Lord and accomplished his will. She kept on saying “I surrender myself to you Jesus.” The times she feared the heavenward journey alone, she kept calling the sister to accompany her. Probably God found a suitable companion for her in the person of Sr. Sangeeta Toppo of North East province, India, whom the Lord called on the same day to walk side by side with her towards the Promised Land. On 19th November at 7.10 p.m. in the presence of her dear parents, dear ones and we Sisters Sr. Veena breathed her last.
In the loss of Sr. Veena we miss a young promising sister of our congregation in South province India. Yet we are inspired by such budding life, to be ever grateful to the creator for the gift of life and we are reminded that the master has the right to take back our life anytime when he sees the purpose is achieved. She lived a graceful life in good health and in sickness which is a clear evident that Sr. Veena flew away to the Lord with the same disposition of St. Teresa of Lisiex who said “After completing my life here on earth when I rise high to go to my Lord even if my wings may be burned in the scorching sun my eyes will be fixed on thee.” May Sr. Veena join the heavenly choir to sing forever the praises of the Lord.
Sr. Regis Kocherry