They call her a modern ‘mother Teresa’. Her personal life journey does indeed bear some resemblance to the one of the saint of Calcutta. Like her she started off as a member of a well established religious congregation, in her case the congregation of the Filles du Coeur de Marie, a French religious order. For a number of years she taught privileged children of well-to-do parents in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
And so Pratheeksha, the home of hope, was born. From its very humble beginnings in 1994 in the village of Tiruchirappalli, a thatched little house, this home of ‘hope for the hopeless’ – grew into a real place of well-being where around 60 girls ranging in age from 3 – 20 each year get the support they need to build a decent future.
The only support Sr Jessy received in the early days came from her own family in Kerala. In more recent years some generous middle class families have started to provide meals for the girls. Support from the Indian government remains a pious wish. Over the years, however, Sr Jessy and her companion Sr Molly Kochuvekikakathu have succeeded in building up a strong support base in Germany. Groups from Germany regularly come to visit the project.
It is through this German link that they came to visit us here in Oosterbeek, The Netherlands. And, of course, we have in our midst Fr Frans Baartmans mhm, a veteran Mill Hill missionary with over 30 years experience working with Dalits in India’s holy city of Varanasi. His powerful magnetism seems to draw people like bees to nectar.
Fons Eppink mhm