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Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
10 July 2017
Greg Kandra




Shilpa Joy provides physical therapy to youth at the Home of Peace. (photo: Don Duncan)

The current edition of ONE features an inspiring glimpse into the lives of young Indian men and women who experienced the profound positive impact of Catholic institutions. One of them is Shilpa Joy:

Shilpa Joy’s job as a therapist requires her to deal with many people every day, something she would never have imagined when she arrived at the sisters’ doorstep, a child escaping a violent home plagued by alcoholism.

“At the children’s home, I learned to adapt, live and work with many different kinds of personalities. I came to understand other people and see how the many other children are. Living with these different types of people helped me to get out of my childhood introversion,” she says.

Recently, Ms. Joy started a new job at the Home of Peace — a center dedicated to children with disabilities, run by the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy — a stone’s throw away from her home with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Indeed, the sisters have welcomed her to live with them once more, temporarily, as she searches for an apartment.

At work in the Home of Peace, Ms. Joy makes use of all her professional skills, providing physical and speech therapy. She also has to adapt constantly to the very specific and sometimes acute needs of the children at the home.

In the home’s physical therapy room, a sort of gym adapted to special needs, one boy works on his balance by sitting on a large ball. Another boy, who wears a prosthetic lower leg, practices walking on the treadmill. At a nearby table, Ms. Joy performs stretches and exercises with another boy who suffers from cerebral palsy.

“Now, I can cope with all kinds of personalities or with difficult people or situations. I have learned, at the children’s home, how to cope with such things.”

After work, she goes back to her accommodations with the sisters. There, she serves as a sort of role model and counselor to the children in the home. She helps the girls with their homework and she urges them to strive for great things.

“I try to share my own experience with them,” the young woman says. “It is a way of trying to motivate them to go further, to study further and to have a happy, fulfilled life.”

Read more about The Secret of Their Success in the June 2017 edition of ONE.