Thomas Scaria is a senior journalist based in India who has worked in Sri Lanka until recently in an intergovernmental organization. He has written for the Union of Catholic Asian News since 1991 and received its 2000 Best Reporter award. He also writes for Matters India, a news portal that focuses on religious and social issues and collaborates with Global Sisters Report.
Founded in India in 1870, the Apostolic Carmel sisters started a century and a half of their devotion to educate girls in India at a time when very few girls were provided any formal education.
The sisters had planned a variety of programs for their sesquicentennial in May. But after Sri Lanka's Easter bombings, the congregation limited the celebrations, saving the money for scholarships for affected children.
At least 250 people died on Easter when suicide bombers attacked three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka. As suspects have been arrested, the Catholic sisters have been visiting with people affected by the loss, listening to them and helping them process anger, shock, guilt and sorrow. More than 200 sisters have been assigned by the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Sri Lanka with the mission of healing, providing psychological support to the parishioners.
Sr. Samantha Kuruppuarachchi is the only Catholic nun who was directly affected by the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. She lost her sister, Wales Indira Kuruppuarachchi, and her sister's husband, Sanath Rohan Fernando, in the April 21 blasts at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, and her community has given her a year's leave of absence to help care for her niece and two nephews.