09/04/2006, 00.00
INDIA
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Nine years after Mother Teresa's death, Sister Nirmala remembers

by Nirmala Carvalho
The current head of the Missioanries of Charity speaks to AsiaNews about the Blessed's message as a way to understand how to respond to the attacks of Hindu extremists.

Kolkata (AsiaNews) – Mother Teresa is "is a powerful advocate for us all before God, we need not be discouraged about events and situation that confront us," said Sister Nirmala Joshi, the current head of the Missionaries of Charity.

In an interview with AsiaNews on the ninth anniversary of the Blessed's death, she reiterated the Blessed's message, that "universal brotherhood and love may encompass all humankind".

"This Feast day is a call, an invitation to become holy," she said. "By allowing God to live in us and with us, God is love; this is the foundation of our living in peace and harmony with each other, which propels in us a spirit of service and charity to the other."

It is this attitude that should inform our response, Sister Nirmala believes, to the recent attacks by Hindu extremists against nuns in Andhra Pradesh, the anti-conversion laws in the country, and the heightened religious nationalism in India.

"Let us remember that God is our Father and we share in brotherhood. These sad events take place because of ignorance, not because of any particular identity—today it is them; tomorrow it may be us—but rather because our minds and eyes have  a veil over them. For our part, we forgive them and hold nothing against them. We pray that His light may illuminate the darkness. We are all human beings.  It is only Him that can dispel the darkness. We pray that each of us may see and choose what is right."

"Love," she said, "draws men together because it makes them overcome barriers that divide and classify one another. Truth draws men together because it frees them. May Mother Teresa intercede that His Love reveal His Truth."

"Mother Teresa," she added, "respected people of all faiths. Devotion to her is spreading across religious boundaries, and she is surely watching over us all, praying that universal brotherhood and love may encompass all humankind."

"This is also a wake-up call for each of us, to rediscover our dignity as human beings—as children of God."

According to Sister Nirmala, if Mother Teresa has a message for AsiaNews readers, it is that "God loves each of us—with the most tender love." Choose life and spread love in every small thing we do.  Above all else, we must trust Him totally. "

September 5, nine years ago, Sister Nirmala said, "may have been the day she left us, but for everyone it was also the moment when she met Him, face to face. The anniversary is thus a day of joy and celebration. Now we are waiting anxiously and with hope the day when she will be canonised."

Mgr Lucas Sirkar, archbishop of Kolkata, tomorrow will celebrate mass at the Missionaries of Charity's mother house.

In Ahmedabad, where religious tensions are frequent, citizens from all faiths will take in a ceremony tomorrow at 9:30 am in front to the bronze statue that is dedicated to her in order to pay homage to the saint of the poorest of the poor.

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