01/09/2019, 16.25
INDIA
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Film about the 'Great Evangelisers': Mother Teresa, Sr Rani Maria, Fr Constant Lievens

by Nirmala Carvalho

The documentary was screened at the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of Latin Rite in Chennai. It presents the testimonies of those who met the evangelisers in person. Sr Rani Maria gave us "a purpose in life". Mother Teresa inspired the painter Ritu Singh.

Chennai (AsiaNews) – The Great Evangelisers is a documentary about the lives of three models of Christian evangelisation, namely the servant of God Fr Constant Lievens, the Blessed Sr Rani Maria and Saint Teresa of Kolkata.

The film is “touching for its content and perfect from a technical point of view,” said Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), speaking to AsiaNews.

The prelate watched it on the side lines of the Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Latin Rite underway in Chennai.

Produced by Vishwa Jyoti Communications, the documentary was directed by Fr Anand Mathew.

Shot “in English, it contains various interviews. One is with the famous painter Ritu Singh, who met Mother Teresa in person several times in the general house. The painter was sick and the saint’s prayers healed her.”

"Mother Teresa attributed her healing to Our Lady of Lourdes, and therefore invited her to give thanks. Ritu Singh accompanied the Mother to villages and slums and each time she was amazed at the work done by the nuns serving the poor and the needy."

In order tell the life story of Sr Rani Maria, stabbed to death in 1995 in Indore 54 times, Fr Anand travelled to a number of villages, and in one he met Tarachand Solanki and his wife.

From a high caste, that latter "drank a lot, whiling away his time. He had no purpose in life, and had lost the right path, until he met the nun and started to follow her in her visits to villages.”

"Under her guidance, he set up self-help groups to make people help themselves. He worked with Sr Rani Maria for three years in his village, now renamed 'Anand Nagar' (city of joy), in Dewas District, Madhya Pradesh.”

Before the nun came, "our village was a desolate land. There was no drinking water, electricity, roads. We had nothing to do all day and so we wasted our time drinking or talking. Everything changed when she arrived. She explained the risks of alcoholism, listened to us and insisted."

His wife Nani Bai confirms that her husband "no longer touches a drop of alcohol. The men of the village began to tend to the fields, take care of the livestock and spend time more advantageously."

Today the area has its own well and the land grows corn, beans and soybeans, whereas before they had to walk three kilometres to collect the water from a stream. The houses now have electricity, windows and doors, whereas before here there were only huts.

Tarachand Solanki explained that at the beginning his family did not like him seeing the nun. "They said she wanted to convert me to Christianity. But I defended her in a fair manner and I only told the truth. For too many years our high caste origin had not given us a purpose in life, and we were only wasting precious time."

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