Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Always “humble, simple, illuminated by the light of faith and with an extraordinary inner strength, exuding a spirit of calm and tranquility." This is how Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Council of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), remembers Sister Nirmala Joshi, the first to lead the Missionaries of Charity after Mother Teresa to AsiaNews. The nun died yesterday in Calcutta. Today her funeral is being held, at the Congregation’s mother house.
The Indian prelate remembers " the priviledge of several meeting with Sister Nirmala and was always refreshed and encouraged in my Misison. I have always felt supported by the daily gift of her prayer for me personally and for the Church in India and Asia. Sister Nirmala was intensely spiritual, and edified the Church, by her sanctity".
The example of Sister Nirmala and her contribution to the mission carried out by the Sisters of Mother Teresa were remembered by people of all religions not only in India but also in the rest of the world. In Nepal, her country of origin, thousands of people expressed their condolences with public displays of her photographs and flowers. Many charitable organizations have organized public gatherings.
The Kathmandu government recognized the services of the Missionaries of Charity, defining Sister Nirmala and the congregation as "the best examples of humanity and service to the community" in the world. In a statement, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said: "We are proud to support and carry on her work and her vision through the work of the Missionaries of Charity in Nepal. Their organization has earned the highest respect and their services are alive in the hearts of every poor, marginalized and needy person. "
Prime Minister of India, Nrenda Modi also expressed his "deepest condolences to the family of the Missionaries of Charity" for the death of Sister Nirmala, via Twitter, recalling that "her life was devoted to the service and care of the poor and disadvantaged . We are saddened by her death. May her soul rest in peace ".
The eldest of 10 daughters, Sister Nirmala was born into a Hindu family from the village of Regmi, in the district of Syangja (western Nepal). Her younger sister, Sabitri Sharma, lives in Jhapa Dhulabari (eastern Nepal). "We last saw her 10 years ago – she remembers - and her inspiration has always guided me. She was lucky to have received from God the grace to become Catholic. Although we are not, we always support the Catholic community and its work. "
Biswa Prakash Sharma, a member of the Nepali Congress (ruling party), is a grandson of the religious, Sabitri’s son. He believes, "Nepal should honor Sister Nirmala for her enormous sacrifice and the contribution she has made to humanity."
Rada Sharma, another sister of Sister Nirmala, explains: "She was guided by spirituality and trying to serve people in any way she could. She worked with determination and was ready to sacrifice everything to achieve her objectives. My son went to India to attend her funeral. Unfortunately I can not, I'm too old. "