For the last five years, the juniorate program for Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Patna, India has included a computer class. Newly professed sisters learn how to use programs like Microsoft Word and Excel in addition to training on Facebook best practices and how to do effective Internet searches. Last month, Global Sisters Report talked to Sr. Jane Karakunnel, coordinator of the juniorate program, about the computer classes.
Why did the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth decide to add a computer class to the juniorate program?
In 2009, the Patna Province Assembly made the decision that the newly professed sisters should have at least two months of intense preparation before they go into mission. The vision of this program is that the newly professed will be better equipped to live in communities in an integrated matter in order to carry out their mission effectively.
The purpose of the computer course is for sisters to be able to use modern technology with confidence so they can be more efficient and effective in their mission. It helps them to be connected to the modern world, to friends, relatives and the sisters in different communities. They will be to make budgets and time tables, so it will help them to collect notes and data.
Have the computer skills helped them?
The class is only for one week, but they will keep on practicing afterward. By using this technology, they will become experts slowly.
And, indeed, it appears that the sisters learn a lot in that week. GSR also talked, by email, to five junior sisters currently taking the class – Srs. Jyothsna George, Prathima Kanapala, Priyanka Murmu, Punam Saroj Kandir and Sweta Baskey – and, collectively, they told us about what they were learning.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned in your computer class?
The most interesting skill was searching the web and making PowerPoint presentations.
And what’s been the most fun?
We most enjoy searching the web, sending messages through email, doing accounting in Excel and finding friends on Facebook. We were excited to see our childhood friends!
How do you think these computer skills will help your future ministries?
We think the PowerPoint presentations will help us to prepare creative prayer services, classes and celebrations, and we can increase your knowledge through web searching. We can be in touch with what’s happening in our congregation as well as the whole world. Being able to download songs and pictures is also helpful. Learning to make invitations, time tables and learning how to type will help us especially in schools. We can also help other to use these skills.
[Dawn Cherie Araujo is staff reporter for Global Sisters Report based in Kansas City, Missouri. Follow her on Twitter @Dawn_Cherie.]