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Sr Mary Litty, foundress of the Little Servants of the Divine Providence, returns to the Father

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Sr Mary Litty, foundress of the Little Servants of the Divine Providence, returns to the Father

Sr. Mary Litty, foundress of the Little Servants of the Divine
Providence (LSDP), who dedicated her life for the uplift of the poor and the
underprivileged in the society in Kerala, India, breathed her last on Saturday
5 November at the Divine Providence Convent, Kunnanthanam. She was 81 years

Sr. Dr. Mary Litty of Oliapuram family, Kothamangalam was born on 2 August 1935. She had her
education at St. Augustine”€™s GHS, Kothamangalam and thereafter at the
Assumption College, Changanassery. In 1955 she joined the Medical Sisters of
St. Joseph (MSJ). After her Religious Profession she was sent to Rome from where
she obtained a medical degree. During her studies in Rome, Sr. Mary Litty
happened to visit the “€˜Little House of the Divine Providence”€™ in Turin founded
by St. Joseph Cottolengo. Depending solely on the Divine Providence thousands
of destitutes and terminally ill were affectionately looked after there. This
House in Turin was the inspiration for a similar Home back in India.

After taking her MD from Rome, Diploma in
Tropical medicine from England and another one in Paediatrics from Ireland, Dr.
Litty returned home and started serving in different hospitals of her
Congregation (MSJ). The long cherished desire to dedicate herself to the poor
became stronger and she informed it to her superiors. After mature
consideration, the superiors permitted her exclaustration and she reached St.
Joseph”€™s Convent, Mukkoor. There she spent four years in prayer and in service
of the orphans. In response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, she thought
of starting a Home for the mentally challenged. She disclosed her long
cherished desire to the then Archbishop of Changanassery, Antony Padiyara. His
response was positive and he permitted Sr. Litty to open up a Home for the
mentally challenged at Kunnamthanam. Relying completely on God”€™s Providence,
Sr. Litty started a Home in a small rented thatched hut, on 17 January 1978 with
one patient who could neither walk nor speak. That woman was incapable of
performing even her primary needs, on her own.

It was quite providential that the “€˜Little Home”€™ at Kunnamthanam was started on the very
same day of the 150th anniversary of the “€˜Little House of the Divine
Providence”€™ in Turin. Though the “€˜Little Home”€™ was started with practically no
food, utensils or even a lamp, God Almighty through His timely intervention and
through generous people, provided everything for the Home. A girl named
Alphonsa joined Sr. Litty on the very same day extending her help. When the
number of the inmates and the girls to assist them increased the Home was
shifted to a rather bigger rented house at Mylamannu, near Kunnamthanam.

The Lord revealed to Sr. Litty the need of dedicated girls to look after the mentally challenged
inmates whose number was on the increase. Eventually she felt the need of
starting a religious community. Sr. Litty approached the Archbishop and brought
the matter to his kind notice. The Archbishop graciously gave her permission to
found “€˜The Little Servants of the Divine Providence”€™ as a “€˜Pious Union”€™ on
December 8, 1978. LSDP later went on to become one of the main congregations of nuns in
the country. Sr. Litty reached out to destitute people as well as abandoned
children and orphans with disabilities and provided a healing touch and care to
them. Currently, LSDP has 16 centres under it where 162 Professed Sisters take care of
nearly 2,000 sick inmates.

One of the greatest ambitions of Mother Litty was to serve the underprivileged in Africa which came
into effect with a mission in Zambia. The Sisters serving in Zambia bring hope,
empowerment and transformation into the lives of people with special needs who
are often stigmatized in society through provision of a long-term residential
home care; non-residential day care and education training to severely disabled
persons including HIV infected and affected persons.

Mother Mary Litty set out in search of the ones who had lost their human dignity. She bade
farewell to the custom of such unfortunate ones without human dignity seeking
after the privileged, and enjoying what received. Instead, she went in search
of them and extended a helping hand to them, held their hands onto her bosom in
whatever status they were, and convinced them of their greatness. God has never
willed of a person created as a son or daughter of God should ever live in an
inhuman condition. God wants to live through us and spread light to the
underprivileged. It is the love which tells, “€˜I am here for you, with you”€™ to
those who feel that they are orphaned.

“€œProceed only on the path guided by God, without being
institutionalized.”€ Mother Litty used to remind her Sisters always to be
different from those who are involved in organized service sector, and to
blindly believe in and rely on the Providence of God. The Providential care is
to be really experienced in this total reliance on God. Man”€™s greatness lies
not in what he has but in what he does not have. Mother could render great
service because of this realization and everything she did was through him who
strengthened her.

It is a source of great hope to all of us and in particular to her daughters that this Mother who
could provide shelter and the richness of life to so many little ones of God
who were rejected in the society, enters the threshold of heaven in this
Jubilee Year of Mercy.


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