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Sister Cyril

Life spent for empowerment: Remembering Sister Cyril a day after her death

Sister Cyril's funeral mass at 3pm tomorrow

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 26.06.23, 06:19 AM
Sister Cyril

Sister Cyril

Former students, colleagues and close associates of Sister Cyril remembered her a day after her death.

The Irish-born educator died on Saturday at 86, leaving behind tales of glory and stories of inspiration.


“Sister Cyril was a great friend of everybody, not just those in the field of education but of the ordinary human being. She spent her life for the cause of the empowerment of the marginalised, especially the girl child. Her policy was to give every possible opportunity to children to study... she was a great friend,” Reverend Thomas D’Souza, archbishop of Kolkata, told The Telegraph.

“If we want her legacy to live on we would have to continue with her work in every sphere,” said Bisakha Sen, assistant director, Loreto Rainbow Homes, Kolkata, on Sunday.

Sister Cyril started the Rainbow project in 1983 to educate street children and provide them not just with food, clothing and shelter, but also protection and a sense of security that a girl child needs.

Sen was a student of Sister Cyril at Loreto House and the seeds of “social justice” were sown in her during her school years.

After joining Loreto Day School Sealdah as a teacher, Sen would accompany other teachers and students to camps in rural areas where the local kids would be taught English and science through games and quizzes.

“From a level of sympathy we moved to empathy with the interaction,” she said.

Theresa Mendes, who was a social worker at Loreto Day School Sealdah and retired in 2017, said: “When we would go to funerals together, she would tell me not to cry when she was gone... it’s difficult to hold back tears today.”

Mendes had worked with Sister Cyril for 25 years.

Sister Cyril would drive a scooter through crowded streets.

Indrani Basu, director of Autism Society West Bengal, was reminded of a ride on the scooter with the nun from Entally to Sealdah. “She expertly weaved in and out of traffic... and was talking to me all through the journey. And I was trying to answer... the bus drivers waved her through safe corridors in the traffic jam,” Basu, then a young teacher at Loreto Day School Sealdah, told this newspaper.

Sister Cyril’s funeral will be held on Tuesday. As a mark of respect to her, all Loreto schools and social centres would be closed on Tuesday, said Sister Monica Suchiang, a spokesperson for the Loreto congregation.

One can view Sister Cyril’s remains from 9am to 11am at Loreto Day School Sealdah and from noon to 2pm in the Loreto House hall on Middleton Row, said Sister Suchiang.

The funeral mass will be held at 3pm at St Thomas’ Church, Middleton Row.

Archbishop Thomas D’Souza will be the main celebrant. The internment will be held at St John’s Cemetery in Sealdah.

The funeral mass and the internment will be live-streamed.

Last updated on 26.06.23, 06:19 AM

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