Sudha Arul

Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2022.

Degree Name

Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)


Mary E. McGann


This dissertation documents the transformation of mission and ministry undertaken by the Sisters of Loreto in Kolkata, India, over the past 180 years. This IBVM congregation, self-defined as a dynamic community of women dedicated to social justice and empowering the poor and marginalized, has embraced a radical new focus on direct service to unhoused children who live on the streets. The renewal is rooted in the charism and spirituality of Mary Ward (1585-1645), foundress of the Loreto community, who, at a time when women religious were required to live in monastic enclosure, sought a new apostolic form of religious life for women, based on the Ignatian model of "contemplation in action." Her prophetic vision has inspired the Sisters to respond wholeheartedly to an urgent social situation – what Vatican II has described as a “sign of the times.” Today, many girls who had lived alone on the streets, at risk of physical or sexual exploitation by parents or employers, have found refuge in the “Rainbow Homes” established by the Sisters. Moreover, the Sisters' work has inspired hundreds of schools across India to embrace this approach, enabling thousands of children to complete their studies and overcome poverty and exploitation. Each chapter of the dissertation focuses on a different aspect of how and why this new and remarkable path came to be.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 26, 2024

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