14th November 2015 was a red-letter day in the annals of the Federation of the FMA Past-Pupils Shillong Province as it marked the opening of the Diamond Jubilee of its existence. The short but meaningful programme was held at Auxilium Convent Nongthymmai –Shillong. The Chief Guest of the function was Sr. Isabella Suja, Provincial and the Guest of Honour was Sr. Catherine Susngi who is also one of the first FMA Past-pupils from Mawlai Unit. “Reach the Unreached” is a theme that would guide them in all their endeavours during this one year of thanksgiving and celebration.
The function started by invoking God’s blessings on all of us and thanking Him for the 60 years journey. During the prayer moment the flag of the federation and the flags of the respective units were brought forward in procession led by the President of the Federation, Mrs. Cathleen Pyngrope; a sign of offering each unit to God and in thanksgiving for all the past-pupils who have passed out from the portals of the FMA institutions. Mother Provincial gave us a beautiful message. She said to us to “grow not just in number but in quality”. Her concluding words quoted from Helen Keller “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” was a strong message for us. We should not work alone but we should join hands so that we can achieve what we have set for. In her talk she also traced a brief history of the Federation at Institute level and how it is being passed on to us. At the end of her talk Mother Provincial did the honours of releasing Titbits – a quarterly publication of the light moments of the Past Pupils. Each unit presented an item which added colour to the function. The Mawlai Unit presented the welcome song, the Jowai Unit presented a choreography entitled “I want to follow Jesus” and the Nongthymmai Unit presented a cultural dance of the Jaiñtia tribe called the “Chad Sukra”. The Guest of Honour, Sr. Catherine Susngi, too gave a heart-warming message. She gave her message based on Pope Francis’ encyclical “The Face of Mercy. Her talk coincided with the theme and was very impressed with the theme. She implored the Past pupils to ‘reach the unreached’ by looking for the sick and needy near us and not necessarily far away. All of us can ‘reach the unreached’ in our different fields of work. The vote of thanks was proposed by Saramai Tariang a Past Pupils of Jowai Unit. The function concluded with the group photo followed by the distribution of Tit bits and a family meal.
It is noteworthy to mention that Late Sr. Josephine Gaod FMA, a missionary who worked in our land introduced the Past-pupils Federation in the Province way back in 1966. Initiating this year-long celebration she was fondly remembered at the prayer moment.