Sr. Dr Lilly

Realms of value contains short thought provoking stories from Sr. (Dr) Lilly SJL who is presently Vice Prinicipal of Fatima College, Madurai. She has chaired many international missions and her works belong 'Geneder discrimination in Indian Societies' and 'Education and Empowerment of women'.


We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. (Thornton Wilder)
Learn the art of being aware, our success depends upon our power to perceive, to observe, and to know. Keen observation is a chief factor in the success of all great businessmen, executives, artists and military leaders. Men and women go about the world unaware of the beauty, the goodness, and the glories in it. A greater poverty than that caused by lack of money is the poverty of unawareness.
Helen Keller said, hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you through the several means of contact which nature provides. But of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful. As you open your awareness, life will improve of itself, you won’t even have to try.
Seven men went through a field, one after another. One was a  farmer, he saw only the grass; the next was an astronomer, he saw the horizon and the stars; the physician noticed the standing water and suspected malaria; he was followed by a soldier, who glanced over the ground, found it easy to hold, and saw in a moment how the troops could be disposed; then came the geologist, who noticed the boulders and the sandy soil; after him came the real-estate broker, who pondered how the  line of the house lots should run, where would be the drive-way, and the  stables. The poet admired the shadows cast by some trees, and still more the music of some thrushes and meadow lark.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 22-12-2017

What Is Charity?

“Charity is a virtue of the heart and not the hand. Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving,  lies the expression of my aliveness.”
Erich Fromm
Every good act is charity. Your smiling in your brother’s face, is charity; an exhortation of your fellow-man to virtuous deeds, is equal to alms-giving; your putting a wanderer in the right road, is charity; your giving water to the thirsty, is charity. In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. This experience of heightened vitality and potency fills me with joy. The greatest gift we can give to others are not material things but gifts of ourselves. The great gifts are those of love, of inspiration, of kindness, of encouragement, of forgiveness, of ideas and ideals.The rabbis taught: In three things are deeds of love greater than charity.Charity is done at the mere sacrifices of money, deeds of love are performed with one’s money and one’s person.Give a smile to everyone you meetGive happiness and you will be made happy.
A little girl came home from a neighbour’s house where her friend had died.“Why did you go to that house?  questioned her father.“To comfort her mother”, replied the child. “What could you do to comfort her”? “I climbed into her lap and cried with her”, answered the child.How often have I taken steps to comfort someone in pain or in sorrow?

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 11-12-2017

Instill Motivation

“Always bear in mind that your resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing.” Abraham Lincoln

Motivation helps people to know what they should do. Everybody needs motivation from time to time. Motivation makes it possible to accomplish what you should accomplish. Vince Lombardi, was a feared disciplinarian and a great motivator. One day he chewed out a player who had missed several blocking assignments. After practice, Lombardi stormed into the locker room and saw that the player, Kramer was sitting at his locker, head down, dejected. Lombardi mussed his hair, patted him on the shoulder, and said, “One of these days, you’re going to be the best guard in the team. Lombardi’s encouragement had a tremendous impact on my life.” Kramer said. And he did
become the number one player in the team. There are two ways you can get others to do what you want: you can compel them or persuade them. Compulsion is the method of slavery; persuasion is the method of free people. Persuading requires an understanding of what makes people tick and what motivates them, that is, a knowledge of human nature.

Nothing can motivate a person like adversity or failure. Olympic driver Pat Mc Cormick said, “Failure is one of the greatest motivators; failures are milestones on the success journey.” As Thomas Edison said as his laboratory burned to the ground “Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start again fresh.” No one ever accomplishes anything without a goal. Goal setting is the strongest force for self motivation.
Have you ever fiddled with the dials of a radio on the shortwave band, and come upon Morse code signals that sound like: ti, ti, ti,tititi ……; They are actually saying something —- if you know the code. They have a message for those who can read the code. This sort of coded message is all around us daily. We call it Inspiration. God has a way of sending us signals thorough persons, places and things to motivate us. How do I respond to these signals?

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 01-11-2017

Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude for our existence should be as regular as our heartbeat. Gratitude is the memory of the heart. It means that we do not take for granted things that are done for us but appreciate them and in one way or another make a return for them. It is said that a grateful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues. Gratitude is like the sunshine, we can do without it, but when present, it brings warmth and throws light on the whole scene of life. The more one is able to return an act of kindness, it enhances the nobility of the person. If we develop right attitude we will be able to see everything in the right perspective and accept it as a blessing.
We are dependent on others till we say goodbye to this world. With gratitude in our hearts, life becomes richer and more joyful. Many of our troubles could be eliminated if we could focus more on the blessings received and be grateful to God. As the culture of saying “thanks” is slowly vanishing in our day to day humdrum of life, let us foster it consciously in our own personal lives.
Thanksgiving is gratitude in action. An attitude of Gratitude brings healing and wholeness. We have heard of persons
suffering from terminal illness being healed because of their positive attitude and spirit of thankfulness to the Lord. Besides thanking God for all the favours received, we need to be grateful to our fellow human beings for all the
favours and services received and reciprocated. More than ever we need to develop a sense of gratitude to our Mother
Earth for providing for all our needs. The greatest challenge ahead of us is to protect and sustain the scarce resources for the future generation. “The finest test of character is seen in the amount and the power of gratitude we have.”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 23-10-2017

Compliment People in Public

Physician George Adams found encouragement to be so vital to a person’s existence that he called it “Oxygen of the Soul”
The most fundamental and straight forward way of winning with people is to give them a compliment- a sincere and meaningful word of appreciation. If you want to make others feel like a million bucks, you’ve got to master this elementary skill. It is essential that we learn to compliment people in public which will instantly have a positive impact. When you compliment a person’s attitude, you reinforce it and make it more consistent. Like the repetition of weightlifting regimen, routine compliments build up people’s qualities and strengthen their personalities. As former Secretary of defense and World Bank President Robert McNamara said,” Brains are like hearts, they go where they are appreciated”. Remember people’s names and take time to show them your care. If you want to add value to people, you have to value them first. Believe in the best in others, and you will bring out their best. 
As commander of a 10 billion warship and a crew of 310, Mike Abrashoff used grassroots leadership to increase retention rates from 28 percent to 100 percent, reduce operating expenditures, and improve readiness. How did he do it?  Among other things, he placed supreme importance on public compliments.
“The commanding officer of a ship is authorized to hand out 15 medals a year”, he wrote. “I wanted to err on the side of excess, so I passed out 115”. While awarding the medal, Abrashoff also delivered a short speech describing how much we cherished the recipient’s friendship, camaraderie, and hard work.  
Whenever you have the opportunity to publicly praise another person, don’t let it slip by. You can create these opportunities, as Captain Abrashoff did, but you can also find countless opportunities if you look for them.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 17-10-2017

The Value of Team Work

A Chinese proverb states, “Behind an able man there are always other able men”.

The truth is that team work is at the heart of great achievement. If you want to reach your potential or strive for the seemingly
impossible, you need to become a team player. It may be a cliché’, but it is nonetheless true: Individuals play the game but teams win championships. If you lead a team, then you must convince your teammates to sacrifice for the good of the group. The first quality of a relational leader is the ability to understand how people think and feel. As you work with others, recognise that all people, whether leaders or followers, have something in common. Recognizing these truths a leader must still be able to treat people as individuals. The ability to look at each person, understand and connect with him is a major factor in relational success.

The leader need to figure out which button to push with each individual person on his team. One person will respond well to being challenged; another will want to be nurtured, another will need frequent follow-up. One of the best way to inspire others and make them feel good is to show them who they could be. Years ago, a manager of the New York Yankees wanted rookie players to know what a privilege it was to play for the team. He used to tell, “Boys, it’s an honour just to put on the  New York pinstripes. So when you put them on, play like world champions. Play like Yankees. Play proud.” When you give someone a reputation to uphold, you give him something good to shoot for. It’s putting something that was beyond his reach but within his grasp.  Why is that important? Because people will go farther than they thought they could when someone they respect tells them they can.

A well known organist was performing a concert on the huge, antique organ in the local church. The bellows were hand-pumped by a boy who was behind a screen, unseen by the audience. The audience was thrilled by the organist ability at the keyboard of the old instrument. After taking his ovation, the musician walked triumphantly in to a side passageway. As he passed the boy he heard him say,” We played well as a team, didn’t we sir?”

The organist haughtily replied,” And what do you mean, ‘we’? After the intermission, the organist returned to his seat at the
impressive five-keyboard and began to play. But nothing happened; not a sound was heard. Then the organist heard a youthful voice whisper from behind the screen, ‘Say, mister, now do you know what ‘we’ means?”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 11-09-2017


One ounce of patient suffering is worth far more than a pound of action.
The greatest mystery of life is that satisfaction is felt not by those who take and make demands but by those who give and make sacrifices. In them alone the energy of life does not fail, and this is precisely what is meant by creativity. There are three ways that prepare us for life’s trials. One is the Spartan way that says, “I have strength within me to do it, I am the captain of my soul. With courage and will that is mine, I will be the master when the struggle comes.”Another way is in the spirit of Socrates, who affirmed that we have minds, reason and judgment to evaluate   and help us to cope with the enigmas and struggles of life.
The Christian way is the third approach. It doesn’t exclude the first two, but it adds, “You don’t begin with yourself, your will, or your reason. You begin with God, who is the beginning and the end. When your strength grows weak and your reason fails you, faith in the Creator gives you the power to  overcome all things” .We have in life many troubles, and troubles are of many kinds.  Following are the Seven Mischievous Misses who are responsible for most of our troubles. Miss Information, Miss Quotation, Miss Representation, Miss Interpretation, Miss Construction Miss Conception, and Miss Understanding.
A legend says that a man found his cross too heavy and beyond his strength. He prayed to  the   Lord to  relieve him of it. The Lord, after much prayers, agreed, led the man to  a large room where there were many crosses, and invited him to  choose one less heavy. He went several times round the room but could not find a cross that could please him: One was too heavy, another too light, a third too small. Finally he picked up one somewhat satisfactory.
“Do you like it?” asked the Lord.
“Yes, it seems more fitting than all the crosses I tried”.
Then the Lord said, “Well, that was the cross you yourself laid down when you entered the room.”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 14-07-2017

The Power Of Recognition

A too common mistake, especially among leaders, is failure to share recognition and show appreciation to others. J C Staehle did an analysis of workers in America and found that the number one cause of dissatisfaction among employees was their superior’s failure to give them credit. It’s difficult for people to follow someone who doesn’t appreciate them for who they are and what they do. As former secretary of defense and World Bank President Robert McNamara said, “Brains are like hearts—they go where they are appreciated.”
Recognition is greatly appreciated by everyone, not just people in business and industry. Even a little bit of recognition can go an incredibly long way in a person’s life. Everyone is hungry for appreciation and recognition, only the degree varies. Remember people’s names and take time to show them you care and give others recognition at every opportunity.
Travelling during his term as vice President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson requested a room at Baltimore’s principal hotel. The vice president was travelling alone incognito, without secretary or attendants; it had been a long trip and it showed in his clothes and appearance.  The proprietor, not recognising his distinguished guest, refused him room. After Mr. Jefferson left, the proprietor learned that he had just turned away from his establishment the vice president of United States! The horrified proprietor immediately sent his subordinates out to find Mr. Jefferson and offer him whatever accommodation he wished. Mr. Jefferson had meanwhile taken a room in a small inn not   far from the principal hotel. He sent the subordinate back to their proprietor with this message: “Tell your master I value his good intentions highly, but   if he has no room for a dirty farmer, he shall have none for this vice president!”
Those of us who have had the privilege of hearing the Lord’s words of wisdom at the Final judgement as reported in the Gospels should shudder at the prospect of we being told, “As long as you did it not the least of my brethren, you did it not to me!”
How often in our lives we have a tendency to look at people whom we consider ‘unimportant’ and can –be-ignored-types’, and do not have a desire to come to their aid. If we behave thus, neither will the only One who matters find any substance in our lives!

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 03-07-2017

Law of Priorities

Prioritizing requires to continually think ahead, to know what’s important, to know what’s next, to see how everything relates to the over all vision. When we are busy, we naturally believe that we are achieving. But busyness does not equal to productivity. Activity is not necessarily accomplishment. What is Required?  What must I do that nobody can or should do for me? What gives the Greatest Return? Work in your areas of greatest strength. Is there something you’re doing that can be done quite well by someone else? If so, delegate it. What brings the Greatest Reward? Life is too short not to do something you love. What energizes you and keeps you passionate?
What creates the effectiveness necessary for converting talent into results? It comes from the choices you make. Orator, attorney, and political leader William Jeannings Bryan said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” People who have passion but lacks priorities are like individuals who find themselves in a lonely cabin deep in the woods on a cold snowy night and then light a bunch of small candles and place them all around the room. On the other hand, people who possess priorities but no passion are like those who stack wood in the fire place of that same cold cabin but never light the fire. But people who have passion with priorities are like those who stack the wood, light fire, and enjoy the light and heat that it produces.
At a certain check post, an Octroi officer observed daily, a cyclist passing the check-post carrying grass for cattle. There was no tax levied on grass and the Octroi officer allowed the bundle of grass to pass. This continued every day for years. Only after retirement did the Octroi officer find a cycle shop near his place of work. To his surprise, he came to know that the cyclist, who used to carry grass, was the owner. Further enquiries revealed that the cyclist all along smuggled one cycle a day across the check-post under the pretext of carrying grass for his cattle. Today, people look for short cuts- to happiness, fame, wealth, and even to God. 
The Octroi officer to his dismay found that during his tenure, he had only checked the bundle of grass, missing out on the essentials. Priorities are wrongly placed and essentials in life are forgotten or are replaced by trifles.
We chase the shadows and  miss the substance.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 13-05-2014


“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long  so  regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Look at every situation as an opportunity and not a disgrace. Who knows what is going to unfold to us?  Often we condemn the opportunities and close the door, and closing it forever and kill it at the start itself. Be little patient and try to extract the best out of every opportunity that you get rather than killing it at the start. Try to learn something from everything that happens in life. Each event brings us a learning associated with it. If we are able to see it in the right perspective, we have gained something. Confront every situation with a question to yourself: what am I going to benefit/gain out of this? How does this particular event help me to enhance my personality and my life? So let us try to find something good and meaningful even in the worst of adversities which will make the life worth living and rejoicing. Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities, strong men make them.
Appu was travelling through the countryside in a hot afternoon, he had to walk a long distance to reach the next village. After walking for some time he got tired and felt very thirsty. There was neither a house nor a well nearby to quench his thirst. However, he thought of taking rest for a while which would temporarily give some kind of relief. Appu went and sat under huge tree. As he was tired and body was weak he started feeling drowsy and began to doze. After a while some kind of shrill noise woke him up from the nap. It was a crow chasing a squirrel and the latter was jumping from one branch to the another to save his life. Appu really cursed the creatures for disturbing the nap. As the squirrel was jumping it happened to land on a branch which was already heavy with ripened mangoes and a ripened   mango fell right in front of Appu. Tired and weary Appu grabbed the mango fruit and refreshed himself. Then he said to himself, “rather than blaming the situation I should learn to benefit from every situation and event without judging”.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 29-04-2014