The North East India comprises of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. The location of the region is strategically; important as it has international borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Tibet. However they share only a 21 km common border with the rest of India via the Siliguri Corridor. Total area of the region is about 26,2230Sq.Km. All the states are members of the North-east Council, organized on 1st August 1972 and within the jurisdiction of Guwahati High Court. The north-eastern states, having a comparatively small electorate (3.8%of India’s total population) are allotted just 25 out of a total of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha (4.6% of the total number of seats).

The North East is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse regions in India. The region has a high concentration of tribal population. The states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland are mostly inhabited by a number of native tribes. East tribe has its own distinct tradition of art, culture, dance, music and life styles. The numerous fairs and festivals celebrated by these communities and their friendly nature are irresistible attractions for the visitors.

The north-eastern states are home to many ethnic groups that are engaged in self- preservation. In recent times, some of these struggles have turned violent, leading to proliferation of armed insurgent groups. Some groups call for a separate state, others for autonomy while some extreme groups demand nothing but complete independence. Tension exists between these states and the central government as well as among the tribals, and migrants.

It may not be wrong to say that insurgency and underdevelopment are two sides of the same coin. They go hand in hand. This is true at least in the context of the problems faced by the North – Eastern states today. Initially it was the lack of development which created conditions for the rise of insurgency, but now, ironically, Insurgency itself is becoming the main reason for the lack of development. Unemployed youths become special targets of insurgent groups, out of frustration; they are forced to join such group. Most of these youths who join insurgent groups die, and those who return home, in most cases fail to become normal for the rest of their lives.

Tribal population has developed very rapidly in the past few decades and loss of traditional cultural heritage. Western influences, main stream Indian influences and of late effect of globalization are the loss of tribal identities and it is a lesson to be learned that no single culture can be expected to remain static for ever.

The Catholic Church in bringing the faith to the various groups of this region brought in also a ‘new world view’ that influenced the tribal world. The north eastern states have the dynamic and vibrant. Catholicism with great importance given to the sacraments, provided people with a new approach to God in critical life situation. The Catholic Church came to various parts of Northeast India at a time when Protestants had already adopted the Roman script for communicating the word of God to the different tribal groups. In this process the catholic contribution to the languages of the region cannot be minimized. The church is organising itself more than ever with its well-defined pastoral plans. Formation of Pastoral conference of the Bishops of North East was an effort on the part of the Catholic Church.

There is greater awareness in the church for spiritual renewal of the faithful and empowerment of the laity. The formation of small Christian communities (SCC) has done much for the faith formation and communion among the believers. Couple for a Christ is a movement in the region in order to assist the couples in their difficulties and strengthen the domestic church Regionalism is creeping in the church circle/dioceses and that have noxious effect on the involvement of the faithful in building their own future through faith formation. Among the fifteen dioceses of North east India sisters of charity collaborates in eight dioceses with 22 communities. We are called to cultivate solidarity between communities and to build bridges between ecclesia and cultures and thus to contribute of love.

Linkage to the Past

The Province has expanded, through its golden linkage. Our four pioneer missionary sisters of Sacred History planted their feet on the soil of India, precisely at Krishnagar, Nadia Dist., then Bengal on 17th March 1860. While, we are awe struck at this humble beginning of our origin, on our soil, we are simultaneously wonder struck when we take notice of the broad avenues that have been open to our sisters, to render service of charity in East India, West India, South India, and North India. We still more look around wonder, at the opportunities still opening out for us to serve God’s people in our region of North East.

In 1865 “the Bengal Province” was established. Sr.Cecilia Utez was then appointed as the Provincial superior, with only 7 sisters and one community. Today, that tiny seed has branched out as Vast expanding “Banyan Tree” of the Suderban Gardens “having 8 provinces, spread over 24 states of India and into two neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Myanmar.

This “look back”, into the linkage of Sacred History takes us to the roots. It helps us to recapture their ardent zeal, their missionary spirit their indomitable courage and their availability. We admire and feel inspired to give our mite which is our all - to the Lord of our hearts and of History.

The North East India Province, sprang into existence first as a Provincial Delegation, from the Mother Province, Calcutta, on 8th Dec 1990, with the ratification of the Deliberations of 6th Provincial Chapter. Rev.Sr.Dorothy Kattakkakathootu was appointed as the superior of the Delegation, Comprising of the 11 communities of North East.

In the 7th Provincial Chapter, termed as “Special” Chapter, held from 4th to 10th Dec.1993, presided over by the Superior General, Rev.Mother Costantina Kersbamer, , this delegation was transformed into a Province, with temporary residence at Mercy Home, Shillong, and later shifted to Guwahati. Rev.Sr.Dorothy Kattakkakathootu was appointed as the first Provincial superior and took charge on 21st December 1993. Her team of councillors was elected from the members of the new Province. The Province had 111 sisters. With two Italian missionaries, Sr.Rosa Dal Pra and Sr.Angela Carzaniga. From then on, the Province is steadily growing, in numbers and in activities, under the leadership of successive Provincials, Rev.Sr.Angelamaria Varangalakudiyil 2001-2009, and Rev.Sr.Jozy Palatty, the 3rd Provincial Superior since 2009 December.

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