Ruthika, born of the love of a leper father and a HIV positive mother (Photos)

The parents of the little (healthy) girl are patients of the Swarga Dwar, in Taloja, a dispensary created by the PIME missionaries.  The place welcomes those who have been "rejected by society".  Ruthika is the fruit of the "desire for life of these people, whom society rob of dignity and hope".



New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Mahesh and Ramya, one sick with Hansens disease the oter with HIV met and fell in love.  Their love of life is so great that they decide to give birth to a child, despite the negative opinion of the doctors who advise against a pregnancy due to the woman's virus.  In the end she arrived: her name is Ruthika, she is three years old, and she is "beautiful and healthy".  This is the story of this family, to which the Swarga Dwar center of the PIME missionaries (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) in Taloja (Mumbai) has given true human dignity.  Fr.  Rayarala Vijay Kumar, regional superior of the congregation, tells their story: "I was amazed by their desire to give love, to create a family, to generate a new life despite the risks.  This is the miracle of life ".

Ruthika is in a sense a "daughter" of the PIME missionaries.  In Taloja, a suburb of Mumbai with a Muslim majority, the institute opened the Swarga Dwar ("Gate of Heaven"), which welcomes leprosy patients, HIV-positive people and their children, as well as abandoned and orphaned children, the poor and single women.  The motto of the center is: "The Kingdom of God is founded on the stone rejected by the builders.  This means that we welcome all those who are rejected, marginalized, are without a light of hope in their lives ”.

Next to the dispensary is the chapel-ashram "Shanthi Sangam" (an interreligious room for retreat and prayer) and the first House of Mercy of the missionary institute, created to "be a concrete example of sharing".  Here, explains Fr.  Rayarala, "one shares everything and learns to give to others as has been given to us".  The guideline is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (10: 8): "Freely you have received, freely you will give".

 In recent days the superior was in Taloja to inaugurate the academic year: "The Swarga Dwar in fact also hosts 20 children who study in our school and offers support to about 80 other children who live several kilometers away.  It is a remote project sponsored by the Pime Foundation Onlus.  Also since 2008, once a year there is the "Sneha Sammelan" (Friendship Meeting), with which we inaugurate the new year, celebrating with teachers, children, parents and operators ".  The event is important "because in this way we remember why we are here: sharing the little we have in study, work, prayer.  Tomorrow, when the children are grown, they too will be called to share ".

The project to support children is "an important initiative to learn how to grow together and guarantee a better future for children.  At school children learn three languages ​​(Hindi, English and Marathi), study sciences, mathematics and ethics ".  All the moments of the day are rigorously marked, "to teach discipline: there is interreligious prayer, study, school and the reorganization of rooms and common spaces.  We get up at 6.30am and go to sleep at 9pm. "

In the compound, in addition to the Fathers of PIME and the missionaries of the Immaculate, other congregations operate: "The Catechist Sisters of Saint Anne, the Missionaries of Saint Francis de Sales and the Sisters of the Abandoned".

The Pime superior syas Taloja is an "expression of Christian charity and the engine of mercy".  In this context, Mahesh and Ramya,  Ruthika's parents, "discarded by the community" met.  Their love for life and the desire to give themselves to each other was greater than society's attempt to rob the of their dignity ".