We have learned that our dear classmate Sr. Dr. Perpetua SAS, has died of leukemia. One of our classmate champions is gone from us. Fifty years ago, in the class of ’64, we were uncertain and naïve teenagers thrown together with forty nine others, paying scant attention to the seven sister nuns in our group. It has taken a lifetime to realize, acknowledge and applaud this special and awesome group of Sister Doctors. Fortunately for us, despite separation, time and distance, we have had occasions to meet and catch-up, especially over the last decade.
Sr. Dr. Perpetua came to some of our larger re-unions as well as met with classmate alumni on other visits to Bangalore. She will truly be missed. The quiet, studious, serious nun who was fellow student Sr. Perpetua, was also the mature, perceptive, sensible and accommodating person that we knew. From medical school, and post graduate training she went on to a lifetime of service to the poor and disadvantaged of India – primarily in the areas of Tiruvuru and Vijayawada in South India. For over forty five years, like her six other Sister Doctor colleagues, she practiced medicine beyond the scope of her education and training, to meet the myriad needs of the sick and disabled in her missions. Like the others, she did so with a deep sense of humility, compassion and selflessness.
She advanced to leadership positions in her religious order, and with the Sister Doctors Forum of India (SDFI) organization, at one time holding the position of Regional President, Andhra Pradesh SDFI. When we, her specialty trained classmates, heard and saw ( from a presentation made at an earlier re-union) what she had achieved in her missions, we were absolutely impressed by her expertise and accomplishments, readily agreeing that she would qualify as a multi-specialist. Away from her field of duty, getting together for a few days with the rest of us at these reunions, she fitted in easily, indulging in non judgmental camaraderie and sharing in the thrill of nostalgic stories, humor, song and laughter. She accepted us the way we were then and celebrated who we are now. Sr.Dr. Perpetua will be remembered as a trusted, honest, gracious person, ably fulfilling the stated mission of St Johns, to the very end.
She gave to her thousands of patients and their families, a lifetime of compassionate and holistic care. She gave to us her classmates, lessons in humility, selflessness and courage. We the class of ’64 have lost a respected and dear friend. We grieve the loss of this good-hearted special person, with her sister nuns at St. Ann’s and At. Catherine’s and the legions of people she served.
Peter Noronha and Larry Braganza - Class of’64
For more on Sr. Dr. Perpetua, please go the SDFI website .