“Suffering is measured in hours, but the reward is eternal.” – Blessed Brigida of Jesus
These words of Blessed Brigida, our Foundress, to us, are very true in Sr. Theophane’s 70 years of life and experience. God has a purpose for all our pain, a reason for all our struggles and a reward for our faithfulness. Sr. Theophane was a living example of deep faith and commitment with a self- sacrificing and very hard working nature. Her patient endurance and silent acceptance of pain and suffering inspired those came in contact with her as highlighted by Most Rev. Raphy Manjaly, the bishop of Allahabad, in his homily during her requiem Mass. Bishop Raphy spoke of Sr. Theophane as a person who suffered with dignity. He also emphasized that she served the poor and needy especially towards the end of her active life through socio-pastoral ministry. She was very generous and full of missionary zeal that she gave her best wherever she had been appointed.
Putting an end to a prolonged period of pain, our dear Sr. Theophane has flown to her Heavenly Abode. Leaving behind all her sufferings, she now enjoys Eternal Bliss. But she has left much for us to be grateful for.
She was born as the 6th of eight children to Mr. Varkey and Mariam Odackal on 28th November 1945 in Ezalloor, Idukki, Kerala. The little girl was christened as Rosa and received the name Sr. Theophane in religious life. After her High School she joined the missionary Congregation of the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate in Canannore, Kerala, in 1963. After the initial formation she made her first profession in 1966 and the final commitment in 1971.
Sr. Theophane qualified as a post graduate teacher, rendered her services in the Congregation especially in the North Indian Mission with great generosity, commitment and dedication. She rendered her services in St. Joseph’s convent Chakkeri, St. Mary’s convent Bazpur, Sacred Heart convent Obra, Mariampur convent Kanpur and Nirmala Convent Kathgodam in various capacities such as teacher, principal, Manager and community animator. For a term, she rendered her committed services as Councilor General and treasurer General in the Generalate, Rome. From 1999 to 2002 she availed her services in Socio pastoral ministry at Naveenta, Pastoral Centre, of Lucknow Diocese. In 2002 she was transferred to Nirmala Convent, Kathgodam and from then till the Lord called her for eternal reward, she availed her long 14 years of service over there through the socio-pastoral ministry of the Province, and of the Diocese of Bareilly for some time in the Diocesan social work center, Kathgodam.
In 2006 when she was diagnosed having cancer, she underwent radical mastectomy at Mariampur Hospital, Kanpur, followed by complete treatment – both chemotherapy and radiation- from Kamala Nehru Cancer Institute , Allahabad, under the supervision of Dr. Paul Thaliath. After that she was able to lead a normal life for the next seven years. In 2014 the Cancer recurred and the treatment continued from Kamala Nehru Cancer Institute, Allahabad. She was then taken to Holy Family Hospital, Bombay, for the expert opinion. Then further treatment continued from Royal Ratan Cancer Institute, Kanpur, for the last one year.
Her health began to deteriorate and she was admitted on and off at Mariampur Hospital, Kanpur. She was last admitted in the hospital on 17th August 2016 for better medical support. Gradually she became very weak and was suffering intensely. On 26th morning her condition became very critical and anointing of the sick was administered to her and she breathed her last at 4.45 p. m. while all the sisters gathered around praying for her.
The funeral service took place on 27th August 2016 at 10.30 a.m. Most Rev. Raphy Manjaly, the Bishop of the Diocese of Allahabad, was the main celebrant for the Eucharistic Celebration along with other eight priests, held at Mariampur convent chapel. After the Holy Mass and prayers the funeral procession moved to Lal Kurthy cemetery where her body was laid to rest near her beloved Sister Anastasia UMI who had gone before her four months ago.
Let us rest assured that the FATHER rewards Sr. Theophane for all the good she has done here on earth and pray that she, together with our Mother Foundress and all our sisters who left us, bless us and accompany us in our journey to HIM.