• Associates   
  • Gap Year Challenge   
  • Other Outreach   


*Associates of the Sisters of the Holy Cross are an extension of our Religious Family – women or men who meet at intervals:

  • To discuss
  • To share
  • To pray
  • To enrich the lives of the Associates and the Sisters by sharing the Charism and Vision of Mother Bernarda, and living it out in today’s world

Associates' Prayer

God, you are our Loving Father
You want fullness of life
For us and every human being
We are committed to the unfolding of this life
in ourselves and those whom we serve.
We ask You in the light of your Holy Spirit
to show us how to do this in the 21st Century,
inspired by the vision of Mother Bernarda.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord

For more information about the Associates contact:

Sr Elizabeth - elizabethodonohoe@btinternet.com

Gap Year Challenge

Would you like to experience life with the Sisters of the Holy Cross in a developing Country?

Some students during their Gap Year have spent time with the Sisters. They often say it makes their gap year have meaning. It is not easy to live in another Culture, but if you are willing to be open to the challenge you come back enriched.

Experiences In India

Sr Sera and some of the Leprosy Centre inpatients looking through the "All About Us" book we prepared

The Holy Cross family was introduced to Alessandra, Sarah and I when we started Holy Cross School in New Malden in 2002. We were educated through Catholic values and teaching and learnt of the Holy Cross Sisters worldwide. After finishing University in September 2013 we travelled to North India- Uttar Praddesh, to witness the mission taking place in Kharibad and at the provincial house in Lucknow.

Whilst there Sister Sienna, the Head of the Kharibad Campus, welcomed us, we stayed for 3 weeks to learn and explore the great work of the Sisters. The campus comprised of the Bishop Conrad Memorial Hospital and Nursing School, nursing halls of residence, Holy Cross Convent, Holy Cross Chapel, St Francis Leprosy Centre, Jevan Joyti Community Centre and Jevan Jyoti Convent School.

With some of the local village girls who put on a showcase for us
One of the missions in Kharibad was the running of the St Francis Leprosy Centre, where people travelled miles to visit. Leprosy affects millions of people worldwide, and is one of the world’s oldest diseases. It is an infectious disease of the skin and nerves which can lead to deformities and blindness, if not treated. Due to overcrowding, poverty and large families, leprosy usually affects more than one family member. Leprosy is a curable disease and patients travel to receive medication, diagnosis of the disease and management of their untreated ulcers and blisters. If admitted as an inpatient their injuries could be cared for appropriately, through surgery, wound management or physiotherapy. They are also given emotional care and support from the Sisters. The Sisters in charge of the centre, Sister Sera and Sister Leena, showed us their impressive work at the leprosy centre and we witnessed the effect of the untreated disease and the stigma associated with leprosy. The centre is self-sufficiently run, where inpatients grow fruit and vegetables for their own consumption, and rear chickens for eggs to be sold. The Sister’s also support the patients going back to work; by helping to set up their own businesses and educating their children. The Sisters had employed a young boy, whose father was affected by Leprosy, to help with the day to day running of the centre. The boy in return is taught how to read and write Hindi and English. 
With Sr Priscilla, Sr Elizabeth and one of the Jeevan Jyoti classes after our arts and craft session making badges and crowns
The Bishop Conrad Memorial Hospital was founded by a Franciscan priest, whose mission was to provide healthcare to the poor. The hospital caters to all illnesses and patient’s usually only used the services in extreme circumstances when other resources had been exhausted, such as home remedies. The Sister’s and nurses caring for these patients were so dedicated, prayerful and hopeful that the patient’s would get better. The Sister’s would hold morning prayers every day and they prayed the rosary every Saturday in the hospital for anyone to join, even if they were of different religion. One Sister in particular, encourages her patients and their families to attend adoration to pray to God for their loved ones to get better, which we found deeply moving. Sister Immaculate, a gynaecologist and obstetrician, showed us the journey of child birth from ultra sounds to natural births and caesareans. We were lucky enough to be part of such a private but special beginning of a baby’s life. We were also able to spend some time in the paediatric ward, where there was some positive treatment and children were playing around as if they hadn’t been ill. However, we did encounter very sick children while on the ward. It was quite emotional and difficult to watch, especially in Intensive Care as the unit was not as equipped as back in England. Equipment, such as ventilators, that you would expect to find was not available. In order to assist the child in breathing, parents would have to sit next to their child and physically pump a bag in order for them to breathe.
With the Railway Girls and Sr Dora, Sr Julieta and Sr Marciella

Having studied Adult Nursing here in London, I was taken aback by how intense and structured the nursing training was in India. The nursing students were educated by the Sisters and their training covered the entire major branch of nursing – Adult, Paediatric, Psychiatric and Midwifery; unlike the UK where 3 years of training only covers 1 branch of nursing. The girls had tough schedules but they always had time to talk to us, they even helped us dress in saris and let us celebrate a festival with them. We were able to get a tour of the nursing school, which was quite impressive and it was the first time we saw the Holy Cross emblem outside of our school in New Malden. The poster work the girls produced by hand looked as if they were made by the computer, which they also had won awards for and trophies to show. The Sisters teaching at the nursing school were so proud of their students and were constantly praising their hard work. They should be proud of their students because they are a reflection of the hard work the Sisters put in, especially as there are only 6 teachers for the 250 students. 

With the teachers and Sisters of Jeevan Jyoti Convent School

We also visited another school, Jeevan Jyoti Convent School meaning life and light. This was an English Medium Primary school which means they are taught in English. The school was an uplifting example of the difference education can make. We spent time here working with the children by teaching them songs and dances, and allowing them to be creative through an art and craft session we took. We created name badges and crowns with supplies we brought over which was so much fun, and the children showcased them during their Annual Programme that took place in November. The children were very polite and we so grateful for the education that they received.

We spent some time with Sister Consilia who worked at the Jeevan Jyoti Community Centre. She was able to show us the positive work taking place in the community in particular through the Polio and Tuberculosis prevention schemes. The Sisters enable volunteers with the resources to educate and vaccinate people in the surrounding villages, especially the young children. The polio prevention scheme in India has been a huge success, where India is a Polio free country, and we were able to celebrate that with the volunteers as we visited many local villages and joined in with award ceremonies. The people in the local villages were always so happy and gracious to meet us. They always insisted on sharing food with us and welcoming us into their home as though we were part of their family.

Dressed in our saris for the day

Jeevan Jyoti Community Centre also looks after 8 young girls, who had been abandoned as young children at Lucknow railway station.  Girls are more likely than boys to be abandoned by their families in India, as they are seen as burdens especially when families need to pay dowries when a marriage occurs. The girls had been taken in by the Sisters and given a second chance in life. They have been educated and nurtured into beautiful bright young ladies, and we were so honoured to spend time with them.
Throughout our stay we were cared for by some amazing women. They not only shared their home but they let us be a part of their lives, and for that we are truly blessed. We had an amazing time with the Sisters and the Candidates, and experienced things we could only dream about doing. They have opened our eyes to the power of faith and religion, and to be humble and thankful for the lives we lead.

If you are interested and would like more information please contact Sr Margaret - srmargaret@holycross.uk

Other Outreach


Sisters are involved in the National Justice & peace Organisations - working collaboratively for the just treatment of peoples and the environment, both here in the UK and across the globe.


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