Sisters of Notre Dame…Missioned to Incarnate the Love of our good and provident God

Sister Mary Shalinee

Sister Mary Shalinee                  ND 5263                PDF Download

Cecilia Fonseca

Our Lady of the Assumption Province, Patna

Date and Place of Birth:            August 09, 1937          Howrah, West Bengal
Date and Place of Profession:  December 08, 1958     Jamalpur, Bihar, India
Date and Place of Death:          January 18, 2022         Provincial House, Patna
Date and place of funeral:         January 20, 2022         Provincial House, Patna
Date and place of burial:           January 20, 2022         Provincial House Cemetery, Patna

Cecilia Fonseca was the fourth of the five children of Ambrose Anthony Fonseca and Rita Mary D’ Souza. Her three brothers died in their infancy. Cecilia was baptized at “Our Lady of Happy Voyage Church, Howrah.” She started her studies at St. Agnes School in Kolkata run by the Daughters of the Cross. Between 1947 and 1950, continuous attacks of Bronchitis forced her parents to send her to a Non-Catholic Hill School where she completed her Senior Cambridge High School. She joined Patna Women’s College for her Pre-university studies. When her Father retired from Railway service the family moved to Jamalpur where she came in contact with the Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister writes in her autobiography, “The renewed contact with the Sisters of Notre Dame revived an earlier desire of mine to become a Sister.”

Cecilia entered Notre Dame Convent, Jamalpur on June 15, 1956. At her investment on December 15th, 1956, Cecilia received the name Sister Mary Shalinee with St. Therese as her patron saint. Sister made her profession with four companions.

Sister was sent to Cleveland, USA, to study at Notre Dame College. After her graduation from the College, she did her Masters’ studies at John Carroll University, Cleveland. Sister returned to India in 1965. Her first ministry assignment was at Notre Dame Academy, Patna. From 1970- 1973 she was at Sophia High School, Bangalore, as Teacher and Local Superior. Her next appointment was to Campus School, Pantnagar, U.P where she taught High School classes for two years. Her last teaching assignment was to Notre Dame Academy, Patna. Sister Mary Shalinee’s High School students in Patna remember her as an interesting Social Studies teacher and a very caring person. Many of them have kept in contact with Sister over the years.

In 1984, Sister had a surgery and from then on was a member of the Provincial House community, involved in part time pastoral ministry. She spent time visiting patients in the hospital, visiting families in Pataliputra Colony and Kurji and caring for the needy in her own unique way. Sister Mary Shalinee’s hands and heart were open to receive gifts and to distribute these to the needy. In 2013 she underwent a serious brain surgery at Udayan Hospital, Patna. She recovered from it surprisingly well and continued her pastoral ministry. Only during the past six months Sister was completely confined to her room. She was admitted to Kurji Holy Family Hospital on October 29, 2021 and was on Oxygen support. Sister was discharged and was on palliative care in the Convent infirmary. On December 13th Sister’s condition became serious and she was re-admitted to Holy Family Hospital. Sister Mary Shalinee’s patient endurance through her long weeks and months of suffering was most admirable. Never a word of complaint passed her lips. Her response was always a smile and a “Thank you.” She quietly passed away at 3:45p.m on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022.

The funeral Mass was concelebrated by Rev. Fr. James George, the Vicar General, and three other priests. Because of Covid restrictions, attendance at Mass had to be limited. The burial service at the Provincial House Cemetery was immediately after the Holy Mass. May Sister Mary Shalinee continue her pastoral ministry in heaven and intercede for the needy at the throne of God.

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