Religious Name :

Sister Mary Apolina of the Sacred Heart 

Maiden Name :  Apoline Rodrigues 
Religious No :  1594 
Native Place :  Karpe 
Parish :  St. Patrick’s Church, Siddakatte 
Diocese :  Mangalore Diocese 
State :  Karnataka 
Date of Birth :  10.04.1948 
Date of First Profession : 31.05.1970 
Date of Perpetual Profession : 09.05.1977 
RIP 13.03.2021



I have called you by name, you are mine. Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you. (Is.43:1c, 4a).

The following prayer found in Sister Apolina’s personal book of prayers summarizes the love and trust she had in her Heavenly Father: ‘You have called me by name. I am yours. You have inscribed me on the palm of your hand. I praise and glorify you for the infinite love you have shown me. I am precious in your sight. I am honoured and loved by you. You are with me and I am not afraid because you are my God and you will strengthen me, and you will uphold me with your victorious right hand.’

God gifted Mr. Joseph Rodrigues and Mrs. Alice Pinto with the birth of their first girl child, Apoline on 10th April 1948. She was baptized on18.04.1948 and confirmed on 28.03.1960 at St. Patrick’s Church, Siddakatte, Bantwal. Sister Apolina once shared in the community that her parents were devout and God fearing, soft spoken, loved silence and lived in unity with their neigbours. They brought up their children, in the love of the Lord and gave importance to family prayer. God blessed them with six children, three girls and three boys. The brother next to her joined the SVD Congregation and is serving in M.P. Diocese of Indore. The brother next to him was married but died in 2011due to blood cancer. Two sisters and a brother Victor Ronald Rodrigues, who lives in their ancestral house, are the last three children.

Sister Apolina completed her Primary Education, in her own parish school. She pursued her High School studies at Rosa Mystica Girls’ High School, Gurpur, Kinnikambla. Thereafter she hearkened to God’s call to the Apostolic Carmel and joined Postulancy at the Presentation Convent, Maryhill, Mangaluru. She made her First Profession on 31.05.1970 and the Final Profession on 09.05.1977, in the same convent. As a junior sister she completed her TCH at St. Ann’s English Medium Teachers’ Training Institute, Mangaluru in 1975.

Sister Apolina’s mission of educating poor children in the primary classes, most of the time in the vernacular (Kannada) medium began at first at Carmel Convent Haliyal in 1972. She then served in the following places, St. Cecily’s Convent, Udupi, Maria Goretti Convent, Kemmannu, Bal Yesu Nilaya, Mangaluru, Annunciation Convent Ladyhill, Mangaluru, St. Mary’s Convent, Mangaluru as a teacher and a few times as the Headmistress. After her retirement from the teaching apostolate in 2006 she served in Stella Maris Convent, Kotekar and our community Bal Yesu Nilaya for the second time from May 2018.

She rendered her service joyfully in the communities as a sacristan, refectorian, minister, librarian, society bursar, choir mistress, orphanage mistress, in charge of orphanage accounts and the laundry.

She lived a disciplined life, marked with simplicity. Everything in its place, and a place for everything was evident to everyone who lived with her. All files, records and boxes belonging to her apostolate in the house or school and her own belongings were neatly marked and labeled. Cleanliness is next to godliness was her dictum. There was a stamp of order, neatness and cleanliness, method, accountability and promptness in all that she handled. She had a special talent for maintaining accounts of the house and the Children’s Home. Sisters from other communities would come to her to learn maintaining the accounts; she would guide them to be independent in maintaining accounts. She executed all her responsibilities with precision and care and therefore it was easy for anyone to find things, in her absence, making our community living easy and comfortable.

She maintained good relationship with the officials related to her office. Some of the officials visited her during her illness. She loved the poor children and their parents. She was a very good teacher and took pains to bring up the backward children in their studies and behavior.

Sister Apolina was a person of deep prayer; she was very regular to all her community exercises and very particularly to the hours of her personal and community prayer. She prayed silently like a little child, especially when she was moved by the spirit. We witnessed to this very particularly on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebration of her religious profession in May 2020, during COVID time, in our community and during her illness. Even when she was very ill, she did not wait to recover fully before she could attend to the community prayer, the Eucharist and the community exercises. She was seen trudging with the walker during the silent hours of the day, when no one was around to visit her Beloved in the Blessed Sacrament and remain there in silence. The Eucharistic Lord was her mainstay. When she could not be present for Mass, Holy Communion was taken to her by the Superior. A big picture of the monstrance with the Host, with the words ‘Gethsemane’ was displayed in her room. Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane was truly her companion in her bed of pain during her illness, particularly the last 15 months. Among her choice personal prayers, in a book were found prayers to the Cross/the Crucified Lord, to the Holy Spirit, and to Mother Mary. She had a special devotion to the Infant Jesus. She was very keen that the chapel and the things used in the service of the liturgy were worthy of the One who dwelt there. She herself would prepare some of the altar linen with great care and give it to the sacristan as well as to others.

Sister Apolina welcomed warmly everyone who visited her; the workers and the poor enjoyed a special concern from her. She expressed her care and concern for the sick and the aged even when she was ill. She would take time to procure for them certain utensils, a stool, kitchen knives, dusters and napkins.

God our Father chose Sister Apolina to share in the sufferings of His beloved Son, by way of cancer in her right breast. With two surgeries in 2003 and 2009 she tried to be her normal self though diabetes and heart problems were her companions, for which she was on regular medication. She came in good health to our community in May 2018 and shared in all the community duties and exercises like the rest of us. Just before Christmas of 2019 she began coughing continuously and became breathless, even on slight exertion. Her doctor was consulted and as nothing major was detected, she wished to visit her youngest brother and family at her ancestral house. She returned to us after three days with very happy memories of that visit.

The march of time began alerting Sister Apolina and all of us her sisters that she had to suffer. All the consultations with doctors and tests revealed that the secondaries of cancer had spread to the right lung, filling it with fluid, causing her respiratory distress and the entire outcome from such illness. From January 2020 onwards Sister Apolina was taken to Fr. Muller Hospital several times and admitted four times for quite a number of days each time, in the ICU/ MICU. She suffered acutely, with urinary tract infections and septicemia too with no appetite for food, lack of sleep and severe discomfort of every kind. She endured all this pain and discomfort in union with Jesus in Gethsemane, without complaint, offering them to the various needs of the Church and the Congregation.

The last lap of her journey home to God however began with her last admission to the hospital in mid January 2021. On her return to the house, she started expressing that it was time for her to go to God and that it was useless to go to the hospital or take medicines or food. She frequently told the Lord, ‘Won’t you remember me and take me home soon?’ and begged for His mercy. For the past two months therefore, she was fed with nourishing liquid foods and sometimes with semisolid foods and water round the clock, rather forcefully. She was nursed fully in bed for the last two months; she had no other illness except for blood sugar which was under control. She was aware and awake to all situations during this time; however, she did not desire to know anything. She would be very happy whenever our sisters or relatives visited her. For most of the time she was found to be sleeping; she rang a little bell if she required any help. All of us her sisters took great care of her throughout her illness, whether at home or in the hospital whenever required during day or night. Our Superior Sister Roseema and all of us were at her loving service round the clock, according to each one’s capacity, fulfilling all her needs, trying to bring her comfort, praying with her, waking up in the nights or remaining by her side in the night, to provide for her needs. Sisters Ashal Sequeira and Adelcia attended on Sister Apolina, feeding her and keeping her tidy. She was administered the Sacrament of the sick a few times during her illness. During the last two months she was anointed twice, the last time, two days before her departure to her heavenly abode, by the Betharram Fathers, Fathers Pascal and Vipin SCJ respectively.

She often expressed, that the loving care provided for her / the sick and the aged by sisters of our community was remarkable and would be hard to find anywhere else. We too as her sisters have great satisfaction and joy of giving our dear Sister Apolina our loving care. Great indeed are the blessings we enjoyed from the Lord through her illness and in each of our sister’s company. Whenever Sister Apolina in her weak moments made some complaints or was irritable, she would take courage to call the concerned sisters individually and as a community and ask pardon from them; this brought great peace to her, she became calm and silent in her suffering.

From Friday morning, the 12th March, she had no strength to move; her gaze was fixed heavenward and her breathing became labored. Her brothers and dear ones were informed of her condition. When her youngest brother and his wife and then her priest brother visited her around noon on Saturday, the 13th she shed a tear in recognition of their presence. We took turns to be around her all the time, giving her water or plain tea which she swallowed with difficulty. Sister Adelcia remained by her side on Friday and Saturday nights. On Saturday night around 11.30pm she was fed with an ounce of water which she swallowed with difficulty. After a little while Sister Adelcia heard a gurgle and attended on Sister Apolina immediately. The hour had struck 11.45 pm, on 13th March when the Lord embraced Sister Apolina and took her to His abode, as Sister Adelcia, prayed, ‘Jesus, Mary, Joseph, we commend Sister Apolina’s soul into your hands’. Sister Roseema, our Superior was also there as Sister Apolina breathed her last. All the other sisters came in at once to pray together for the dear departed soul of dear Sister Apolina. Her mortal remains were then kept ready for the last rites. Our Provincial Superior, Sister Maria Shamita and all those needed to be informed were informed. Doctor Bharat Kumar was informed and he came to certify Sister Apolina’s death.

On 14th March morning, Sister Apolina’s mortal remains were placed in our chapel and the community, sisters from the neighbouring convents, the ACAs, neighbours, ward members, parishioners, the children of the Children’s Home, our novices, Betharram Fathers and brothers prayed for the repose of her soul. Around 1.45pm Sister Apolina’s mortal remains were taken in procession with the children of the Children’s Home, joining it, to the Presentation Convent Chapel, Maryhill for the Funeral Mass and the last rites at 4.00 pm. The main celebrant for the Eucharist was Rev. Fr. Paul Melwin D’ Souza, Capuchin, Episcopal Vicar for Religious; Sister Apolina’s brother, Fr. Cyril Rodrigues svd was one of the concelebrants with other 11 priests. He performed the last rites in the chapel and at the cemetery of the Presentation Convent, Maryhill. The chapel was filled to capacity with her relatives, sisters from all our convents, our parishioners and our Provincial Superior Sister Maria Shamita and her team.

We thank all our sisters who visited her frequently. We specially thank Dr Herald Mascarenhas and other doctors, nurses, staff and helpers for their care when she was at Fr. Muller Hospital.

We offer our sincere thanks to our Provincial Superior and her team, for supporting us and visiting her frequently during her illness, very particularly for being with us early morning on Sunday, for making all the arrangements for the funeral rites and for remaining with us till the end. We also are grateful to our Superior General, Sister Maria Nirmalini, for visiting Sister Apolina with her team members during her illness, encouraging her and supporting us. We specially thank her for making provision to have the burial of Sister Apolina in the Cemetery of the Presentation Convent, Maryhill. Our profound gratitude to Sister Juliana Mary the Superior, and to the community of Presentation Convent, Maryhill for making the Chapel and the Cemetery available and for all the arrangements for the funeral Mass and the last rites of our dear Sister Apolina. We remain grateful to Sister Maria Melissa for executing the minute details pertaining to the events of the day and for seeing to the choir.

Thank you, dear Sister Apolina, for your presence and love; you by your life witness kept us awake and alert to the Lord’s coming. Till we meet at Jesus’ feet pray for us and beseech the Lord to send fervent vocations to our congregation.

Bio- Data
Name in Religion : Sister Mary Apolina of the Sacred Heart
Maiden Name : Apoline Rodrigues
Institute Number : 1594
Date of Birth : 10.04.1948
Entrance into Postulancy : 15.07.1967
Date of First Profession : 31.05.1970
Date of Final Profession : 09.05. 1977
Date of Decease : 13.03.2021
Date of Burial : 14. 03. 2021
Place of Burial : Presentation Convent Maryhill Cemetery, Mangaluru.

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