“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Albert Einstein
This quote is fitting for our dear Sr. Arul Arockia Mary. “God loves a cheerful giver” – 2 Cor 9:7. She made it real in her life through her pleasant demeanor, joyful service and availability. She was a woman of God who loved the poor and needy.
Sr. Arul Arockia Mary was born in Vellode, Dindigul, in a spiritual and happy family as the 2nd child in the family of 5 (One elder brother and two younger sisters and a brother). Blessed with a spiritual and disciplined Father (Teacher) Mr. Arulanandam, an empowered and pious Mother Mrs. Christina Arockia Mary, affectionate brothers and sisters and a host of loving relatives, she grew up as a joyous and contented child. The family prayers in the morning and night became a seed ground for her vocation.
When she was in Std. XII, she attended a retreat and she heard the voice of the Lord through the verse from the Bible “I am the Vine, you are the branches”. Captured by these life-giving words she wanted to give herself to the Lord and joined the Sisters of the Cross in 1982. She pronounced her First Vows in 1985 and the Final commitment in 1993.
Sr. Arul began her Apostolic life in the year 1985 at Palani, as Office Assistant, in 1986 plunged in to the ministry of Social Work at Oddanchatram and from 1987-89 Hostel Warden at Vadugarpet. She started her Teaching in the year 1990 at Vellore. After qualifying herself as a Tamil Pandit at Lady Wellington College, Chennai, as a full pledged teacher she worked in R.C. Butterworth School, Trichy, St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Vadugarpet, St. James Middle School, Kovandakurichi and St. Joseph’s Girl’s Hr. Sec. School, Golden Rock, and Holy Cross Girl’s Hr. Secondary School, Fort. In 1994 she pursued her Biblical studies at Tindivanam.
From 1995 to 2003 she worked as a teacher in Kovandakurichy, Golden Rock and Fort. From 2004 till 2023 she worked as Headmistress at Kovandakurichi, Vadugarpet, Kumbakonam, Viralimalai and again she came to Kovandakurichi. Here she became sick. At the age of 59 after serving the Congregation for 38 years Sister Arul has to say her final “Yes” to her beloved whom she ardently loved and served.
Sr. Arul is humble down to earth and easy to relate and has the capacity to make anyone feel at home in her company. She treats everyone with dignity, for her all are God’s children. Through her creative ways, ability to sing and speak, she could capture the attention of the youth and guide them towards their ultimate goal. As a teacher throughout her religious life, Sister had to unlock the human capacities and to bring out the best in her students. She was an efficient teacher who had the knack for teaching and administration. True to her vocation as a Sister of the Cross, after the example of Mother Claudine, she had the great zeal to teach Catechism to the children and the youth. With motherly heart she was able to create a sense of confidence in her children. She knew how to handle the problems. She had a spice of humour to add to her gentleness and love.
A person with a sensitive heart, reached out to the families of her students and the families of the parishners in times of their trouble and misery. Because of her loving nature she became part of many families. Sister had a cheerful disposition all through her life which attracted the children and the people to her. She was simple in her approach, kind in her dealings and committed in her service. Her humorous and witty ways kept the community alive. Her friendly manner of going about endeared her to everyone. When the people wanted her to visit their families and she did fulfil their request time and again with joy. She often repeats ‘It is futile to do many tasks without living a witnessing life.’ And she lived it to the full till the end of her life.
On 30th May 2023, it was found that Sr. Arul was suffering from Cancer. Her deep faith in the Lord and strong will power enabled her to go through the ordeal. She was treated in GVN Hospital, Mambalasalai, Trichy. During this period of her illness, she intensified her relationship with the Crucified Lord. On 26th Sep, Sr. Arul requested the superior of Mambalasalai community to arrange for confession and last sacrament. On the same day evening she made her confession and received the last sacrament and prepared herself to meet her master. On 27th September at 3.00pm Sister experienced severe pain and was readmitted in the hospital. Around 9.30pm, she struggled with severe breathlessness, and her oxygen level was dropping rapidly, immediately she was shifted to ICU. Despite administering 6 liters of oxygen, her saturation level did not improve. On 28th morning around 11am the doctor informed that all her vital organs are affected due to the spread of cancer cells and further treatment was not possible. Therefore, we were in the process of transferring her to Fort Community. While four of our sisters and her brother were praying for her on the way in the ambulance, at 1:50 pm, the final moment arrived and she breathed her last a few minutes before reaching the community.
Dear Arul, we miss your hearty laughter. A voice which we loved is stilled. But we believe that you are only just away. Though you have wandered into another land you are still with us here always. We your loving Sisters from far and near, along with your beloved family members, friends, well-wishers and relatives bid adieu for a while till we meet on the other shore. May the joyful example of your life give birth to good vocation to the Church and Congregation. May the remembrance of your life with us, inspire us anew to live our commitment to Christ with greater joy, generosity and love. May the Lord grant you eternal rest and take you in the blessed company of Angels and Saints. We thank you for all that you had been to us.
We take this opportunity to thank the members of Sr. Arul’s family for their sacrifice in giving their beloved daughter to the family of the Sisters of the Cross.
Teary eyed we say good bye. We love you Arul, we miss you.
Your loving Sisters of the Province of Trichy