The Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo

Kamba village, Varap post, shahad, Kalyan west,
Thane Dist, Maharashtra, India - 421103

The Bhatgaon Coal Mine consists of Bhatgaon underground coal mine It is a part of Bisrampur coal block, Surguja dt, Chhattisgarh, operated by South Eastern Coalfields Limited. It’s a coal mine area where about 3500 people are working. There are about 25 catholic Adivasi families and a few protestant ones. It is 50 away from Ambikapur.

The four pioneers, Srs. Jessy, Grace, Christine and Sheila Cruz along with Mother Provincial Mother Lydia, Sr. Victoria set out from Bangalolore on 6th June 1989 by Brindavan Exp. to Chennai, left Madras by G.T. at 11 pm reached Nagpur at 5.30 pm on 7 the June. By Mahanadi Express at 12.15 am from Nagpur and reached Bilaspur at 6.45 am. on 8th of June. Continued onward journey to Ambikapur by a hired tempo, and reached at about 5.30. pm. The Sisters were warmly welcomed by the Bishop. Rt. Rev. Pascal Topno S.J. and his team and a few leaders of Bhatgaon. On 9th June, at about 3pm. 3 Jeeps escorted us to Bhatgaon, our temporary shelter, about 40km run. We were warmly welcomed by the people in their typical culture, followed by the Eucharistic celebration introducing us to the community cultural programme and a sumptuous meal served to all those present. On the 17th of June 1989 we came to Bhatgaon escorted by Rev. Fr. Cyril Ekka. Our temporary abode was in the quarters in the minors’ colony. We had our first Eucharistic celebration and the installation of the Blessed Sacrament.

On the 3rd of July we started the K. G section and STD. I -Hindi medium, Sr. Tessy– manager and Sr. Christine – H.M welcomed the parents and kids in the quarters in Hindi. The mini school had its inspection on 29th. On 14th Aug. the mini school was shifted to the newly built temporary shed at Bhatgaon, Pandey Karcha. The strength of the school was 148.

15th Aug. 1989 was another memorable day. The Chief Guest Rt. Rev. Bishop. Paschal Topno blessed the convent, the foundation for the new school building was laid. On the 9 th September we shifted to our temporary residence in our own land at Pandekarcha. We had minimum facilities. 30th of June 1990 was a red letter day as the Convent was blessed By Bishop Paschal Topno. On the 28th of July we vacated the classroom and moved out to the new convent building. Foundation stone for a health centre was laid in Sep.1992. After having conducted classes under the trees for months together it was indeed a sigh of relief on the inauguration and blessing of the School on the 31st of October 1993. Within 5 years the school was considered as the best school in the locality.

Education is the main apostolate. Hindi medium is up to Std. 12thand English Medium to class V was transferred to the Diocese. We have Eng. Medium K. G sections as feeder school. The dispensary was going on well from 1993 and was closed down due to lack of medical doctor. Mobile dispensary services, health fairs, awareness programmes, herbal medical care, visits to villages, Self help groups, family counselling, caring for the old, assisting in the church work, family visits and S. C. C prayer groups are being carried on. We feel that the poor still need us and therefore we have moved into the remote villages for students and also our services in the MSP apostolate. Hostel facility is offered with concession for the poor village students. The student candidates are also taken care of by us.
We are financially unstable as the students in the school and hostel are decreasing year by year. We can have hope for the future only if we are able to put in the initial enthusiasm and spirit of our pioneers and persevere despite all struggles.