Life is back again into our institutions after a mess of locked down periods, experience of fear and chaos caused by the pandemic. The abandoned look is lit-up again and the forlorn face brightened once more.It gives me great joy to see students walking swiftly into the campus to enjoy the lovely company of their friends and the warm embrace of their teachers. The incredible loss that they experienced in their academic, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual life during this dark period of COVID can never be made-up. However, I pray that they have uninterrupted months of learning ahead, although the omicron variant is threatening at the door. May God save us all!

We are in December, eagerly waiting for Christmas, a feast of Joy and Peace! It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem. He is a link between God and humans, heaven and earth, time and eternity, flesh and spirit. He is come to unite and reconcile, heal and comfort. He took flesh so that all wandering may cease, all emptiness may be filled and all restlessness may be calmed; He came among us so that peace reigned and not war, love reigned and not hatred, joy reigned and not sadness. Today, in this violent and intolerant world, he visits us as the Prince of Peace. Once one of the girls asked Pope Francis, “Holy Father, how to make the world a better place?” The Pope immediately answered with a smile, “Lower the level of violence; lessen violence each day, do well every day.” Christmas gives us such a mission. Howard Thurman, an American author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader puts it well - when the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with the flocks, then the work of Christmas begins - it is to find the lost, heal the broken, feed the hungry, release the prisoner, rebuild the nations, bring peace to everyone and make music in the heart. In fact, this is the kernel of education - to enable every student to love and heal, build and unite, wipe the tears of those in tragedy and bring comfort to those in pain.

In our world of today, which seems to be breathing out more and more hate and divisiveness, we need students who can cross the narrow domestic walls and build bridges that last. We need parents who can transcend their selfish ambitions and teach their children the art of living in peace on this planet. We need educationists who can frame the curriculum of education as per the signs of the times, education that teaches to overcome hatred and darkness, despair and division. We need a society that can envisage education as forming of head, heart and hands, shaping the lives of students through values and virtues, moulding their character and fashioning their visions. Such type of education will bear lasting fruit as Daniel Webster described,

If we work on marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it;
If we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work on immortal souls,
If we imbue them with principles; with fear of the Creator and love of fellow men,
We engrave on those tablets something, which will brighten all eternity

May we reach up to this ideal through our mission of education and have the audacity to act, reminding ourselves of the words of great Napoleon, “The world suffers a lot not because of the violence of the bad people but because of the silence of the good people.”

Wish you the Peace and Joy of Jesus, the Prince of Peace!

Sr Mariette BS
Secretary, BES Mangalore

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Bethany Educational Society®
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