J & K Revisited

November 8, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

The plight of J & K Christians has not changed a bit. If anything, it has become even worse. Please find below a letter to the Bishop received from a victim, which is self explanatory. The CSF is at it, but we can only keep you and the authorities informed of the persecution. We also have a write-up by our man, Predhuman Dhar, a Kashmiri Pandit convert, who has lost all to militants. More in the next email. Keep the prayers going….

Your brother in Christ – Joe Dias


Travails of a J & K Christian

This is ABC from Kashmir valley. I am sure we all are in your prayers . I hope you are now feeling good and enjoying the warmth of His presence in your life.

Let me introduce myself, as  I came to know the Lord in 1996 and got baptized in 1999. I got married in 2000 AD and marriage was read by Fr. Jim Borst at Church Srinagar. I have got three daughters and my two daughters are now in 7th and 4th standard and third one two years old.

Due to the last year pressure of society, I was forced to shift to Delhi for a couple of months and I returned back in April 2012. Now for the sake of right education and right environment, I forwarded the admission application to a school in Srinagar. I went there couple of times but was not able to meet the Sister as the local staff is not allowing any person to meet the Sister and not even willing to give an appointment. They asked me to wait up to 5th of November and if there was any vacancy , they would inform me about the same.  I am not sure what to do and even not interested to share with them my issues, but would be glad if I would allow me to meet the Sister.

My lord is there anyway to help me out, so our children may be benefited and we will be encouraged…..

Yours in the service of the Lord


Baramulla martyr – Mother Thereselina killed October 27, 1947 by Pakistani invaders

File photo: St. Joseph's Hospital, Baramulla

File photo: St. Joseph's Hospital, Baramulla

The Mill Hill Missionaries, London came to Baramulla in 1891 to render services in the field of modern education. It was to the great fortune of the Kashmiris that Franciscan Missionaries accepted an invitation of the Mill Hill Missionaries to come to Baramulla for rendering services in the field of Medicare. The first batch of Franciscan Missionaries arrived at Baramulla on September 21, 1921 and were welcomed by Rev. Father De Ruyter. Till then the Mill Hill Missionaries had established St. Joseph’s School, there. The sisters, braving hard terrain, inhospitable weather conditions and scanty transport facilities, started going to the remote and rough and rugged areas with medicines and providing medical care to the needy, irrespective of caste, colour, creed, sex or religion. When the dreadful Cholera epidemic engulfed the town these sisters, unmindful of the grave danger to their lives, dauntlessly worked to provide succor to the Cholera victims.

In 1930, the Sisters laid the foundation of the Maternity Hospital and erected a new dispensary building. In 1931, a hospital with four wards and private rooms was built. They named it St. Joseph’s Hospital for Women and Children. Neither the wartime troubles nor the dreaded epidemic of typhus dampened their spirits in any way.

Of these valiant and dedicated daughters of Lord Jesus Christ was a Spanish-born Mother Thereselina who arrived at Baramulla, August 10 1947, aged 29. Little did this blooming rose know that day, that after setting foot on this part of the world, “The Paradise on Earth” and also “The Soil of the Saints and Rishis”, that she would become a martyr like Mother Gabriels, who had, during World War II, stepped in front of her superior to shield her from being killed by the enemy for the simple reason that she had challenged the barbarianism, which the merchants of death and destruction were demonstrating. Mother Thereselina did this on October 27, 1947.

History has it that, in a bid to force the annexation of the Jammu and Kashmir State to Pakistan, the bloodthirsty Pakistani tribals openly aided by the Pakistani leadership and Army invaded the otherwise peaceful state on October 24, 1947.It is worth mentioning here that the State of Jammu had acceded neither to the Dominion of India nor the newly created state of Pakistan then.. The ruler of the state, Maharaja Hari Singh Ji, had entered into a” Stand Still Agreement with both the Dominions”. In spite of all this Afghan Afridis attacked it.

They reached Baramulla town on October 26 1947 reducing the entire town to rubble. They looted whatever came their way, raped women old and young and destroyed properties. Their main target was the minority community of the area.

On October 27, these savage tribals climbed over the compound walls of the St. Joseph’s Convent and Hospital Baramulla, brandishing their weapons, intent on destroying whatever came their way as per the dictates of their Masters who had just made their appearance on the map of the world as an independent entity some days ago. The looters made their entry into a maternity ward where they lost no time in stabbing to death Kashmiri Pandit women along with her newly born child in her bed. Then came the turn of an English woman, Ms. Colonel Dykes. She had just delivered a baby and was planning to go home that very day. They shot her dead along with her baby. Colonel Dykes, on seeing this dance of death and these merchants of death and disaster marching towards the Sisters working in the hospital, pleaded with them to spare their lives. The brutal killers to whom the voice of reason was alien got infuriated beyond measure, shot him dead too in cold blood.

The moment this ghastly news reached Mother Superior of the Convent, Aldertrude, she lost no time in rushing to the spot in an attempt to bar the entry of these “Defenders of Faith “into other wards more specially the Children’s’ ward. Her assistant, Mother Thereselina followed her. At the entrance of the ward, these looters who were already there challenged them. They were relieved of everything which they bore on their persons, which was nothing more than the glittering crucifixes and chains supporting them which the looters took as gold and silver. Defying their challenge the two daughters of the Lord made their entry into the Baby ward where many newly born babies were lying.

This daring act on the part of the nuns infuriated the looters further who gave loud shouts of “Kill these infidels. Kill these infidels”. Responding to this obnoxious, inhuman and savage call a looter raised his 303 rifle and aimed it at Mother Superior Aldertrude. Her Assistant, Mother Thereselina sensing danger to the life of her superior, threw herself in front of her without losing even a jiffy. Three gunshots issued forth from the bloody rife, piercing the tender chest of Mother Thereselina. She fell to the ground in a pool of blood crying aloud: “Oh, Mother. Save yourself. Bother not for me. I am wounded. I am dying.” Not satisfied with this the looter fired the forth shot from his rifle. It hit the Mother Superior who also fell to the ground.

In a bid to save the lives of the two Mothers, young and energetic Sister Philomena came rushing towards the spot from her ward. Off went the trigger of this “Defender of Faith’ leaving the young Sister floored in a pool of blood. The next to go in the lap of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was Mr. Bareto, husband of Dr. Bareto, who had been temporarily employed by the authorities of the St. Joseph’s Hospital on its staff.

Mother Thereselina lay there bleeding and clutching the Crucifix to her chest. Her pain increased with every ticking minute. She could now very sparingly moan or speak. She looked questioningly at the nurse and seemed asking very feebly: “Am I really going to die in the service of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?”The good Sister answered: “Yes, you are no longer in our hands. You are in the redeeming hands of your Lord and Saviour.”

Later in the evening, the dying Mother Thereselina was administered morphine. But she refused to have it. She said: “I don’t need anything. Please let me suffer as my Lord had suffered for the salvation of mankind. I pray to Jesus only one thing that He should give me sufficient pluck to suffer till I embrace Him.” She even refused to drink water. She only worried about her Superior and the patients in the wards. She also prayed for her killers that the Lord should forgive them.

As the evening advanced towards night her condition worsened and finally by the nightfall she attained martyrdom. Rev. Father Msgr George Shanks gave her final blessing and absolution. Witnessing her death, he said: ‘Seeing her die like this, before my eyes and hearing her pray for her murderers I felt as though I were assisting at the death of a Saint. She suffered as a martyr. She had the happiest and most beautiful death.”

The savage raiders did not even hesitate to desecrate the Church in the same complex smashing the icons of the Lord Jesus, Mother Mary and Saint Joseph and setting the structure ablaze. They also burnt the copies of the Holy Bible.

Thus Mother Thereselina sacrificed her life saving the lives of others. It is really unfortunate and disgusting that the Diocese of Jammu- Srinagar has not even now raised a befitting memorial in memory of this great soul who laid down her precious life in the service of the Lord.

– predhuman dhar

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