Walking with the Young with Love: Sr. Margaret Sekhose MSMHC, Guwahati
I would like to share a 2 of my experiences in the practice of the preventive System as a boarding Assistant and teacher.
1. As a Boarding Assistant at St. Mary’s Convent, Dibrugarh I have a lot of experiences to share. St. Mary’s Convent had a very big community, namely Provincial Community, Sisters, Postulants and 80 boarders. We have two English & Assamese medium schools. My Superior Sr. Isabel Thomas would advise me to make sure that the boarders are not left alone even for a while. Unfortunately, the second Assistant of the boarding being the assistant Headmistress, I could get very little or no help in assisting the boarders. Every time the superior would come around and would remind me of the Preventive system especially that of loving presence. In the beginning I really found it very difficult. I felt that she was not doing anything but only checking me always. Most of the time I would have my lunch very late and forgo my tea, dinner and prayer. But no one ever asked if I had my meals or my prayers. I used to grumble for strictly being with the children. I was also the class teacher of the nursery class with 120 students. There was a new teacher who could only speak a few words in English to help me in the class. Soon after classes I was asked to take singing class for the Postulants, by that time when the school is over I’m to be ready to assist the children at work places. Sundays and holidays were the worst as I had to be with them practically the whole day.
On my feast day one of the boarders brought a sheet of paper and in which she had written:
Dear Sister, thank you for your loving Presence
Whether we sit or stand you are there,
Whether we eat or sleep you are there
Whether we walk or work you are there
Whether we pray, play or study you are there
Thank you for being always there for us and with us
You are our guardian Angel
We bless you for preventing us from doing evil actions/ wrong things by your presence.
God bless you with Good Health.
I realized the good that I was able to accomplish and save the young ones from doing any wrong by my loving presence.
2. In MSMHC Boarding, there was a girl who was very naughty and mischievous but very affectionate at the same time. All the sisters, especially, the superior was very fond of her. She was from a very well to do family. Her parents died when she was only 4 years old and her uncle who was a doctor took a very special care of her. She had a very angelic smile but only the one who lived with her knew, what she was capable of doing behind the curtain. She was caught twice with love letters. I corrected her and told her not to repeat lest I would report the matter to the Superior. But she paid no heed to my warnings. I took the matter to my superior, but she told me that I should learn to be more understanding and loving towards children. I felt that I was defeated. The girl continued as before and did even more. One night she had prepared to elope with a college boy. Fortunately, one of the boarders came to inform me about her secret plan. I was disturbed. I could not sleep but I did not want to inform my superior without making sure of the matter. So at night, I collected the gate keys and kept with me. I went for a round and found all the 72 boarders were in bed. I took a blanket and went to lay down near the dormitory door quietly. At around 1.20 pm I heard a vessel noise just outside the convent gate. True enough the girl came out solemnly with her bag at 1.30 pm to execute her plan. She stamped on me and streamed. I told her not to worry. I will see that she is not punished if she is willing not the repeat the mistakes. She promised me in tears that would correct herself and change her ways. The following day she asked me if I could accompany her to the college boys’ hostel. I went with her as per her request and when we reached the hostel she told that boy not to disturb her till she completed her studies. From that day on she became very friendly and would confide all her future plans to me. Later she was appointed as the leader of the boarding, due to her responsible and mature behaviour.
From this experienced I learned how to walk along with the young through understanding and love.