By BIS correspondent
ASANGAON, FEB 23, 2016: Fourteen youngsters from around Mumbai went for a social outreach trip to Mukta Jeevan Ashram, Vehloli near Asangaon on February 21. The programme, coordinated by Don Bosco Youth Services, was an opportunity for them to interact with persons who were less privileged or suffering from various ailments.
On arrival at the Ashram, run by the Society of the Helpers of Mary, Sister Barbara welcomed the youth and spoke to them about how the ashram was founded, its mission and the inmates who live there.
The youth then visited the home for HIV-affected minors, where they sang, danced and played games with the children. The next stop was at the home for persons affected by leprosy, where they were amazed to see them playing instruments and singing enthusiastically. They spoke to the inmates to learn about their life, their family background and how they adjusted to living with disabilities.
Before lunch, the youth visited one of the two homes for senior citizens at the ashram. During their interaction with the inmates, they realised how much they missed their family members, and their home. They were eager to speak about their lives and share interesting incidents and anecdotes. It was a moving experience for the youth to see the healthy inmates, looking after those who were bed-ridden or disabled.
After lunch, the youth were invited to the Novitiate of the sisters, where they had a discussion with 25 young candidates who were participating in a two-year preparatory course before they become sisters.
The novices shared their reasons for joining, their desire to work for God and for the needy, and also how they learn many things both in class and during their practical experiences with the ashram inmates. They also spoke of how they gained strength and clarity of purpose through prayer and meditation.
Before leaving the ashram, the youth thanked the sisters for their hospitality and the unforgettable experience with the inmates. They realised that there was much truth in the words of Mother Anna Huberta, Foundress of the Helpers of Mary, who said, "When you are sad, see where you can make others happy."