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This article gives an overview of the SDFI’s endeavors from its inception in 1993 till 2000. It highlights some of the remarkable events that occurred, and the initiatives taken in the early years to strengthen the Forum.

As the Chinese proverb says, “In the evening you tum back and see how beautiful the day was!”

Yes! As we tum back into History, 1993 was a memorable year for SDFI. The forum was born during the Golden Jubilee celebration of CHAI at Kaloor, Kerala, when the Sister Doctors were present. Fr. John Vathamattam SVD, who was the Director of CHAI then, facilitated the formation of SDFI.

The 1st National AGBM of the SDFI was held at Bangalore in May 1994. About 90 Sister Doctors attended the meeting. The General Body elected Sr. Dr. Lillian as President, Sr. Dr. Terezine as Vice President, Sr. Dr. Hermina as Secretary and Sr. Dr. Rosina as Treasurer.

  • An important achievement was the preparation of the Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulation and By-laws in Dr. C.M. Francis, Dean of SJMC, assisted us in framing the draft. This was circulated to members at the regional level, and after studying their reactions, suitably modified and approved by the members of the AGBM. The National office of SDFI was established at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore.
  • The Forum, which had 400 members then, formed the following 8 Regions:
    1. Kamataka 2. Andra Pradesh 3. Tamil Nadu 4. Kerala 5. Western Region 6. Northern Region 7. Central Region 8. Eastern Region
  • The office bearers of SDFI visited the regional units to strengthen them, offered suggestions and encouraged them in their Identifying the main Thrust areas, the Governing Body gave some action plan to the Regional units –
    1. Women and Health 2. AIDS 3. Rational use of Drugs 4. Pastoral Care

The 2nd AGBM was held at SJMC, Bangalore, on 20th December 1995

190 members attended. A programme of CME was held on 17th, 18th and 19th Dec 1995. The CME covered Medical problems, AIDS update, Obstetrics and Gynecological update, common skin problems and psychiatric problems. There was a discussion on Human Life issues – Ethical and legal aspects and Rational Drug Therapy.

  • The members of SDFI have been of immense help to Sister Nurses, Sister Paramedical staff, and other health personnel working in different remote parts oflndia.
  • Members also showed keen interest to be financially self-reliant and they took steps to build a Corpus Fund for

The 5th AGBM was held at Yercaud, Tamil Nadu, on 3rdMay1998

  • Being the year of the Holy Spirit, there was a special sharing on the ‘Healing and Transforming power of the Holy Spirit’ by John Vattamattom SVD. Prior to the AGBM, a National Symposium on “Health Priories and Challenges in India Today,” was held on 1st and2ndMay 1998.
  • Dr. Lillian and Sr. Dr. Hermina, were re-elected as the President and Secretary. Sr. Dr. Florine was elected as the Treasurer.

The 6th AGBM was held at Jeevan Jothi, Secunderabad, on 18th February 2000

The theme was “Health Care Challenges in the Third Millennium – Our Response as Sister Doctors.” About 90 Sister Doctors attended the meeting. Rt. Rev. Dr Arulappa, Archbishop of Secunderabad, gave the Presidential address.

The Forum took the initiative to respond to the disastrous situation in Orissa due to the effect of the cyclone. Some of the Sister Doctors joined the medical team of SJMC along with CHAI and Action Aid for the relief work.

  • The Forum participated in the following programmes, in collaboration with CHAI, CMAI, and VHAI:
    • Health care Priorities in
    • Effects of Globalization on
    • Globalization, Liberalization,
    • Alternative models for Health
  • About 50 Sister Doctors attended the CME programme on “Recent Trends in General Practice,” organized by St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences,
  • About 7 Sister Doctors from the Forum attended the International seminar for all the Health Personnel at Vatican City, Rome, in October 1998, organized by the Holy See in view of Jubilee 2000. One of the members of the Forum, Sr. Dr. Concilia from Vijaya Marie Hospital, presented a paper on “Health Situation inAsia” during the seminar.
  • About 8 Sister Doctors, who are also major Superiors, attended the National Assembly of CRI at Chennai from 10th to 15th January 2000. The theme of the Assembly was “Yesu Krist Jayanthi­ A Renewed call for Discipleship in the pluralistic context”

Sr. Dr. Lillian, the Founder President, contacted the CRI President of the Women Section, for SDFI to be approved by CRI. She also contacted the Major Superiors of all the Congregations to encourage the Sister Doctors of their congregation to become members of SDFI.

I thank the Board Members and all the Sister Doctors for their co-operation in building and strengthening the Forum, so that the members may fulfill the Aims and Objectives by following the mandate of Jesus Christ, the Divine Healer, to bring about health, wholeness and healing to all, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, age, sex etc.

Sr. Dr. Lillian JMJ