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St. Pius sisters returning to India

Sisters Viji Grace Kochuniravath and Leeja Mappalakayil in front of the house they lived in for the last seven years. After 15 years of service in Minnesota, 10 in Glencoe, the sisters will return to India in July.

After 15 years away, it’s time to go home.
Sisters Viji Grace Kochuniravath and Leeja Mappalakayil, who have served at St. Pius X for the last 10 years, will return to India in July.
Kochuniravath and Mappalakayil first came to Minnesota 15 years ago as part of a missionary program their order, Franciscan Clarist, has run since 1970. The move was a rare opportunity that only a few in the order experience.
“It’s a very special calling,” Mappalakayil said.  
Kochuniravath and Mappalakayil spent their first five years at another parish in Minnesota before moving to St. Pius. Their order is now calling them back to continue to serve within their community at home.
“They are thinking it’s time to come back, and we are thinking it’s time to come back,” Kochuniravath said. “We miss our parents and friends and sisters. It’s enough time to be away from home.”
The return, however, will be bittersweet for the two sisters.
“It’s a mixed feeling. It is good to be here and it is good to go home,” Kochuniravath said.  
“But we cannot be both places at once,” Mappalakayil added.
The sisters have one word to describe their life here. “Wonderful,” Mappalakayil said.
As the two sat in the home they shared for the last seven years, mere feet from the church itself, they smiled thinking about the time spent in Glencoe.
“Everyday was so special,” Kochuniravath said. “Everyday was beautiful.”

For more, see the June 24 print edition of The Chronicle.