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    » 09/05/2008, 00.00

    INDIA

    On the feast day of Mother Teresa, 3 camps opened for refugees’ from Orissa

    Nirmala Carvalho

    They will host a small part of the 50 thousand people still hiding in the forests in the aftermath of recent violence. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sends a letter to Sr Nirmala Joshi, mother superior of the Missionaries of Charity.

    Kolkata (AsiaNews) – News of the violence in Orissa has not quashed the atmosphere of celebrations in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity.  On the feast day of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Archbishop Lucas Sirkar this morning presided over mass in the chapel before a congregation of 500, drawn from diverse religious backgrounds.  10 priests concelebrated.

    One of the sisters described the atmosphere as one “filled with joy and peace”.  Throughout the day there will be various encounters and a continuous pilgrimage to Mother Teresa’s tomb.

    To mark the feast day of their founder, in Orissa Missionaries of Charity have decided to open 3 refugee camps to gather those who have fled and are still homeless in the wake of the destruction of and violence carried out by radical Hindus.  According to protestant sources there are at least 50 thousand men women and children still in hiding in surrounding forests or in temporary shelters set up by the government of Bhubaneshwar.

    At the onset of the violence, Sr Suma, along with a group of Mother Teresa’s sisters, was stoned by a group of fundamentalist youth who destroyed the car they had been travelling in.  They were saved from being lynched thanks to the intervention of a group of village elders.  Sr Suma told AsiaNews: “Today on the Feast of Blessed Mother, we will open 3 relief camps in three villages in Khandamal district of Orissa, we have the permission, but we are praying to Blessed Mother to intercede for the safety of the patients - the victims of the violence- to be brought to these Relief Camps”. Kandhamal district was the epicentre of the recent violence, which left at least 20 people dead, 52 churches destroyed and 4 thousand Christian homes across 300 villages in ruins.

    Mother Superior of the Missionaries of Charity, Sr Nirmala Joshi, has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of her concern over events in Orissa. Singh replied with a letter promising government support and protection for Christians.

    The central government in Delhi may only intervene at the behest of the Orissa state authorities.

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    See also

    07/03/2004 india - women's day
    Sister Nirmala witnesses to Christianity in her Hindu home town


    29/09/2005 INDIA – SYNOD ON THE EUCHARIST
    Sister Nirmala Joshi speaks about the importance of the Eucharist in Mother Teresa's life
    In an exclusive interview with AsiaNews, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity remembers how central the Eucharist was in the mission of the Blessed Mother. From its adoration, she drew "light and energy to recognise, love and serve Jesus amongst the poor". "May It lead to an explosion of charity," says the message of the Missionaries of Charity.

    26/08/2008 VATICAN – INDIA
    Orissa: Vatican expresses solidarity to victims; Indian bishop calls events shameful for the state
    The Holy See has called on everyone to rebuild an atmosphere of dialogue and reconciliation. Cardinal Gracias, who chairs the conference of Indian bishops, accuses the government of being too slow in acting and the police of being ineffective. He expresses sorrow for the death of Hindu fundamentalist leader Swami Laxamananda. Violence against nuns and missionaries, who give their life for the social development of the population, is “diabolic”. Mother Teresa’s successor Sister Nirmala Joshi says that one cannot be disciple of Christ without paying the price, on the Cross.

    03/08/2005 INDIA
    British journalist makes accusations against the Sisters of Mother Teresa
    According to the reporter (who pretended to be a volunteer), the Missionaries of Charity keep disabled children tethered to their cots and are unprofessional in providing medical care to their patients. Sister Nirmala responds saying that criticism is welcome but we are alone with the children and no one is helping us.

    03/10/2005 CHINA – VATICAN – INDIA
    The sisters of Mother Teresa are waiting for Beijing's permission to open a home in China




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