Heeding Pope Pius XI’s call that self piety and self sanctification should move outwards for the sanctification and salvation of others, the Central Unit of the Ladies Social Service League (Regd), opened units in the different parishes of the diocese and thus the Bendur unit was started.
The main idea of this league is the missionary task of looking after the needs of its less fortunate neighbors with its acts of charity and mercy.
Ladies Social Service League, Bendur is a unit of the main registered association. It has units in all the Parishes of Mangalore. Each unit does its own work – helping the needy, visiting the sick, the old and the aged, visiting the lepers, HIV patients etc.
They conduct sewing classes in the Parish, where girls who are unable to pursue higher studies can learn a trade. The teacher’s salary and the maintenance of the machines is met by the members of the Parish unit. The students pay a monthly nominal fee and girls of all castes and creeds are admitted.
At present Mrs Cecilia Goveas is the Leader of the Bendur Unit, Mrs Celine Saldanha, the Secretary and Mrs Evelyn Martis is the Treasurer. Meetings are held once a month on the third Thursday of the month.
The minutes of each meeting are written down and the annual report is forwarded to the main unit. Accounts of Receipts and Expenditure is maintained by the Treasurer and given to the Auditor in the month of March every year and the Balance sheet is sent to the government.
The aims are:-
1. The diffusion of useful knowledge by establishing and maintaining centers for the teaching of arts and crafts, tailoring and dress making for women and children.
2. To promote cultural and recreational activities among women and girls.
3. Maintain libraries and many other community services like, visiting sick patients in the hospitals, distributing clothes, helping the poor & downtrodden, reconciling estranged couples, restore peace in the families and finally, do all that is necessary for the promotion of above objects.
In accordance with its aims and through the efforts of Mrs. Octavia Albuquerque and Mrs. Lily Cutinha (President and Vice President of Central Unit), a tailoring and craft class “Mahila Kendra” was opened in Bendur in 1959. The idea was to teach a trade to the girls of the economically backward community, irrespective of caste and creed.
The then parish priest, Rev. Fr. Albert Pinto of revered memory, whole-heartedly supported this venture and gave us a small place in the parlor. His Lordship the Bishop, the Central Unit, Mrs & Mr A. R. D’Souza and Rev. Fr. Gilbert Gonsalves donated the first four sewing machines.
The members of the Bendur unit carry on its work of visiting the sick in their homes and hospitals, homes of the Aged, leprosy wards of the hospitals, harijan colonies and help the needy, arrange counseling sessions and help out in any matter that is brought to their notice.
A trained teacher conducts the tailoring classes. By the help of many kind donors, we now have eight sewing machines, three steel cupboards, tables, chairs and other equipment. The student strength varies from twenty to twenty five. The league also helps the students to buy their own sewing machines through bank loans.
To encourage cultural activities, the League have an annual day and organize an exhibition of the works done by the students. We have also provided for them a volley ball set, a carom board and other indoor games. Time to time, qualified persons are invited to give talks on hygiene, home-making and such topics that are useful to young girls.
In addition to this the league took an active role in the parish activities as below:-
1. It organized a picnic for the domestic helpers for three consecutive years but was later given up due to poor response.
2. Every year on 28th of December, the Holy Innocents’ Day, they held Christmas Tree for the children of the Parish, below the age of five years and on an average about a hundred and twenty children participated.
3. A day is set apart for the Aged of the parish. With the help of donations and well wishers and co-operation of the parish clergy, elderly people attend the Holy Mass, followed by a get-together in the Parish Hall.
4. During the earlier years, a refreshment stall in the annual mission Sunday fete of the parish was conducted by the LSSL. with its own contributions and services.
5. From 1986, in memory of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Central Unit, this unit distributed coconuts and 2 kg rice to each poor families of the parish.
The present office bearers are:
President- Jovita Noronha Secretary – Flany Dsouza Vice President- Neena Treasurer- Jacintha Fernandes