Friday, December 20, 2013

St. Thomas Hospital, Chennai, India

St. Thomas Hospital in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India celebrated its Silver Jubilee on 15.12.2013. The hospital is run by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph. The hospital, when it was started in 1972, had just a couple or more rooms with just 25 beds and catered mainly to outpatients who were mostly economically backward and who lived in and around the hospital. Now, due to the sole, dedicated effort of Dr. Sis. Rexline Mary, the Director of the Hospital, the clinic has grown into a modern Multi-Speciality hospital with some 200 beds and serving some 400 and odd outpatients each day, catering, not only to the residents of Chennai, but also to people who come from far and away and belonging to a wide spectrum of lifestyles. There is now a Nursing School also - St. Theresa's School of Nursing.

The Chief Guests of the occasion were Dr. Vaithianathan a Cardiologist, Rev. Bro. Patrick (SG), Founder and Director, MCDS and Rev. Sr. Rita Michael, Mother Superior.

Each one of the Sisters, the Doctors, the Nursing Staff and the others who maintain the hospital show a single minded devotion to their duty. The dedication and devotion of Dr. Sis. Rexline Mary in having developed the hospital to this extent has to be seen to be believed. I, of course, am proud to say that I am connected to the hospital in a very indirect way. My wife, D. N. Hephzibah Kirubamani, has served there as a Gynecologist since 1983 and is one of the Silver Jubilerians. The others are Ms. Annakili, Mrs. Innasi and Mrs. Nirmala, staff nurses.

The celebration of the Silver Jubilee of the Hospital was conducted without much fanfare but with a lot of cultural events that were thought of, planned, and executed out by the efforts of the Sisters of the hospital and consisted of some very good classical Indian dancing, Bharathanatiyam (choreographed by one of the Sisters) and beautiful rendering of some Christmas Carols. A very beautiful PowerPoint presentation (also by another Sister) of the history of the hospital with some testimonies from patients was shown. And since Christmas was just around the corner, some Christmas celebration was also combined with this main event.

Here are some photos of the event.

A Statue Of The Blessed Virgin In Dr. Sr. Rexline Mary's Consulting Room
Dr. Hephzibah being welcomed. Dr. Sister Rexline is at the far right (in white)
The Silver Jubilerians being taken to the auditorium
In Opening Prayer
(from L to R) Dr. Vaithianathan, Dr. Hephzibah, Rev. Bro. Patrick, Rev. Sr. Rita Michael and Sr. Rexline Mary
The Choir - Students of the Nursing School
An Indian Classical Dance
The Doctors of the Hospital in Song
Santa Claus

Dr. Vaithianathan gave a short and sweet talk on Goodness; Rev. Bro. Patrick spoke on the Spirit of Christmas and Rev. Sr. Rita spoke on the Feeling of Christmas. The Silver Jubilerians were individually honored and presented with mementos and gifts and Dr. Hephzibah said a few words of acceptance.

There was a lucky dip draw and, by a strange coincidence, the first prize was won by Mr. Prakash - a cousin of Dr. Hephzibah. This was followed by some more singing by the choir and the function came to an end with a dance of gratitude, a singing of "Silent Night" by candlelight, distribution of sweets to the children in the gathering by Santa Claus (he came by bicycle) and a closing prayer.

This was, of course, followed by a sumptuous fellowship dinner. And then we all went home.

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