“From reincarnation to rainbow children, from microcredit to mosquito nets, Sister Cyril opens to us the heart of an institution and the soul of a city, moving us, charming us, and certainly enriching us with wisdom born of experience and an insight that can only inspire…”
“In this compelling book, Sister Cyril collaborates with Neil Farrelly and Greg Dale to tell the story of her extraordinary journey with the children she has raised. This volume on the one hand is an arresting portrait of a woman in a religious order who fights both creatively and combatively to construct better and fairer life chances for the most dispossessed of Kolkata’s girls; on the other, the book affirms luminously the intrinsic equality of all children and the possibilities of creating spaces where children of the rich, the poor and the destitute can be nurtured and educated together, where they can be taught to grow side by side with confidence and self-worth, as well as mutual understanding, compassion and respect.”
“Sister Cyril moves your heart and persuades your soul that caring for others is both an individual and a social responsibility.”
“It was so engaging, it brought back vivid memories of my school and of Kolkata. It’s a great piece of work that enlivens your spirit and makes you question your values… Is my education system being an agent of change? I see it as a must read for those in professions working with children, for teachers, social workers and those in child services.”
Wow, this is an important testimonial, so many delights here!
“This is not a biography but rather a compilation of Sister Cyril’s thoughts on a number of topics: education, life, sexuality, social life, and religion, interspersed with jokes, interviews with staff and students, and comments from alums. At the end of this romp through a life of giving and doing and developing programs to embrace more children and adults in opportunities to improve their lives, one agrees with Sister Cyril that “Life is energy. Life is joy. Life is happiness. Life is living. Life is movement.”
In this chaotic world, Sister Cyril’s words are like a soothing balm. She doesn’t give us the answers – although she has some very smart ideas and guidelines – but ‘talks’ to us employing humor, common sense, anecdotes, and examples of successes and some failures. Her perspective is refreshing and inspires one to look around, see the good in people, assess where there is need, and then, GET BUSY.”
“This book allowed me to delve into my own practice, to question, compare and to take insights that profoundly affected my dealings with my own students. It was also through reading and hearing Sister Cyril’s stories that gave rise to my need to help empower young people, especially the underprivileged children in my back yard. It reminded me of “Tuesdays with Morrie” – each page giving you more insight on how to be a better person and help the world we live in. A truly inspiring read.”
“As an educator, I constantly question the purpose of my job, as a woman I often wonder if my voice is being heard, as a parent of two young women I fear for the future of the world. Reading this book has given me hope. It is a story of a woman, or rather a force, who sees education as liberation. She has made it her job to empower so many young women, many of whom may not otherwise have had a chance in this world. It IS a book about faith but it does not preach faith. It suggests that having an individual faith is crucial to getting the job done. It is not a book about how to make friends and influence people, but it will influence people. I offered some passages to my young trainee teachers as a starting point for a discussion about the purpose of education. They suggested that even after twelve years in school and three years of studying education in university, they could never come up with an answer. Having read about Sister Cyril’s Rainbow Children, they now know the answer.”
“Sister Cyril is a phenomenon. In her own words a “practical radical” blessed with extraordinary energy and determination, and an incredibly optimistic outlook on the world. So what is it like to spend time in the company of such a person? I did just that on a number of annual visits to Loreto School where I helped out in a minor organisational capacity – and I have never been the same since. Now it is possible for people not fortunate enough to have had such first hand experience to get to know her through this book. Her authentic voice comes straight off the page with all the intelligence, humour, wisdom, idiosyncrasy and often sheer stubbornness that characterise the woman. And above all, you feel her love and understanding that have influenced the lives of so many people lucky enough to have known her. Be prepared to be challenged and inspired by what you read here. If you open your heart to Sister Cyril’s words, I promise you too will be changed by them.”
“You never stop learning. I think I have learnt more about being human from Sister Cyril’s stories, her interviews, and the musings contained within these pages than I have from a lifetime of studying our western quest for happiness.
This is a book that needs to be read slowly, contemplatively and again. So much of life is covered. I imagine the content will ruffle some feathers. I am sure that some readers will be shocked at the forthrightness of Sister Cyril’s viewpoints, her (refreshing) disregard for political correctness. Who cares? Not Sister Cyril, of that I’m sure.
There are lessons here for teachers, parents, doctors, makers of policies and guardians of purse strings. As I reluctantly came to the last page I reflected on who else I would like to read this book. My list was long and rich. The world needs practical radicalism and it needs it now.”