07/06/2007, 00.00
NEPAL
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Sisters of Mother Teresa helping and assisting the weak

by Kalpit Parajuli
The Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity have dedicated their life and work to building a better Nepal, giving hope to those without hope, helping those who are weak. Sister Leslie, superior since 2003, says that whilst there were problems at the beginning, now things are much better even if there is a lot to be done.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Every day the Sisters of Mother Teresa give their work to the disabled and the weak. In the country for many years, they came to Nepal hoping to build a better country. Since then they have witnessed momentous changes especially since the April movement stripped the world’s only Hindu monarch of all its power.

Sister SK M. Leslie, superior of the Missionaries of Charity at Chabahil in Kathmandu is happy with the progress in Nepal.

“When I was given the responsibility there were problems everywhere but now many have been solved. Still there is much more to be done,” she said.

Sister Leslie, 42, was appointed to her post in 2003. Now she is leaving for India.

In May 2005, when the country was at the height of the Maoist insurgency, the rebels placed a bomb inside the Missionaries of Charity building. It partially destroyed the building.

She remembers that time: “We were inside. Some men, their face covered, came to me and asked for money but when I said we didn’t have any—brandishing knives they started searching and eventually left with whatever they could find.”

How things have changed! Now the Marxists are in the government and the state has declared itself secular.

The Missionaries of Charity provide assistance at the Pashupati Bridhashram in Kathmandu, a retirement home for more than 200 elderly, mostly Hindus.

Mother Teresa’s Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially recognised by the Holy See on October 7, 1950. In addition to the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, it requires “dedication and free service to the poorest among the poor.”

Currently, the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity operate in 95 countries.

On January 13, 2006, Sister Nirmala Joshi, Mother Teresa’ successor, visited Nepal for two weeks. She was in Kathmandu at a time of heightened tensions because of ongoing violence, and in the resort town of Pokhara where the Sisters are very active.

During her visit, she expressed concern for the country’s political situation. This is very important for her since her family hails from Shyangja district, one of the most affected by the Maoist insurgency.

Nepal is largely a Hindu country. There are 7,000 Catholics in a population of some 25 million.

About 13,000 people died since a Maoist insurgency was launched in 1996.

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