The city of Basti is situated in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, in between Ghaghara and Amy River, about 180 Kms east of Lucknow. Basti's climate is more equable than that of the adjoining districts to the south. The year may be divided into four seasons. Winter, from mid-November to February, is followed by summer, which lasts until approximately the middle of June. The period from mid-June to the end of September is the southwest monsoon season, and October to mid-November is the post-monsoon or transition period.
History of the Basti Community from June 1997 to May 2004
Sr. Vimala Vadakumpadan and her council felt that, as the Vice-Provincen is growing we must extend our missionary presence into newer places. In view of this they decided to accept the invitation of Rt. Rev.Dr.Dominic Kokkat, CST, Bishop of Gorakhpurr to establish a community in Basti, a mission station which had been entrusted by Bishop Dominic Kokkat CSt to the Little Flower Congregation during the year 1997. At that time Gorakhpur region of CST Fathers was a part of the St.Thomas Province, Kerala and Fr.JohnKulathingal was the regional superior. Sr.Elsy Vadakumpadan, Surpeior, Sr.Kochuthresia Myalil, Sr. Teresa D’Sousa, Sr.Lalamma Joseph were chosen to be the pioneers of this mission. As per our agreement with the CST Congregation our mission in Basti is to teach in St.Basis’s School managed and administered by CST Fathers, and to offer services o the pastoral , evangelical and social developmental activities of the parish.
22nd June was a hot summer day, when the sun did not show any mercy to any one. Our sisters Sr.Vimala Vadakkumpadan, Sr.Teresa D’Sousa, Sr.Kocutheresia Myalil and Sr.Lalamma Joseph arrived Basti station with eagerness and fears of being in a new place. Fr. John Kulathingal, RegionalSuperior, and Fr.Lona Kallelly, Princncipal of St.Basil’s Schoool gave a hearty welcome to the sisters. Fathers took them to the parish and then to the convent. Sr.Elsyy Vadakkumpadan and Sr.Mariamma Paul Ollukaran arrived Basti, on the 24th June from Madhyapredesh. Sisters got busy doing shopping and getting the house arranged. In the midst of this came the news of the death of Sr.Kochuthresia’s mother. Thanks for the instant arrangements the fathers made for Sr.Kochuthressia to reach home the very next day to attend the funeral of her mother.
Rt.Rev.Bishop Dominic Kokkat officially blessed the house on 26th June. The main celebrantn for theEucharistic celebration was Fr.John Kulathingal. Including priests, siters and some teachers around forty people were present for the celebration and to extend a warm welcome to the sisters. The arrival of an unexpected visitor Mr.Fox in the middle of the night scared the sisters! The fox might have thought that we are Franciscans and may wanted to live with us !!!
The sisters actively participate in pastoral ministry of St. Basil’s parish, through liturgical preparations, teaching Catechism and house visits etc.The school activities keep every one busy. Admissions, exams, results are the routine works and there goes the days, months and the year.As the days passed by sisters got familiar with the surrounding places and the people.
St.Dominic’s feast was celebrated in a grand manner since it was the first feast since our arrival. Fathers and sisters from the neighbouring parishes were invited.
They run a Hindi medium for the poor children of the surrounding village attached to the English medium was a dream come true for Fr.Lona, the Principal. Sisters joyfully extended their free services to this venture and found satisfaction in doing it. They visited the neighbouring villages inspired the children to join the school and also appealed to the parents to take interest in their children’s education.
Sr. Shiji works with the CST fathers NGO as a project officer. The extreme climate, the demands of the mission in the school, parish and at home keep challenging the sisters to live the charism of our Mother Foundress and they continued to respond to it with new enthusiasm and vigour.