09/29/2010, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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In Dhaka, Bangladeshi nuns treat the sick with loving smiles

by William Gomes
Following the example of Mother Teresa, Sister Mary Orpa of the Sisters of Mary Queen of Apostles, helps children hospitalised in Dhaka irrespective of caste or creed. For her, “If you treat a patient with a smile, loves spreads everywhere”.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – “In each one of them is Jesus in disguise,” Mother Teresa said, and Sister Mary Orpa is fond of quoting the blessed nun to explain her work as a doctor at the Dhaka Shishi Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in Bangladesh. She and her fellow nuns from the Sisters of Mary Queen of Apostles help the sick irrespective of their caste or religious background.

Sister Mary Orpa is also convinced of the value of smiling. For her, “If you treat a patient with a smile, loves spreads everywhere”. Children are of special concern because when they are ill they need constant attention and affection since they cannot take care of themselves.

Helping women is especially important, the nun told AsiaNews. Too often, they are neglected in Bangladesh’s predominantly Muslim society.

“Women are helpless during their pregnancy. Some are so poor that they suffer from malnutrition,” she said.

The death rate among pregnant women is 320 per 100,000 births.

Sister Mary Orpa was born in Toomilia, a village in the Archdiocese of Dhaka. She joined the congregation of the Sisters of Mary Queen of Apostles in 1993, and graduated as a medical doctor in 2004.

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