Two Indian Sisters of Mother Teresa choose to stay in Kiev

Sr Rosela and Sr Ann rejected the prospect of moving to a safer area so as not to abandon those who suffer. The link between the Missionaries of Charity and Ukraine goes back to Mother Teresa herself, who managed to cross the Iron Curtain into the then Soviet Union in 1987 to assist the victims of Chernobyl. Today, she repeats her appeal for peace: "I beg you on my knees: nothing can ever justify the pain and losses caused by your weapons".

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Two Missionaries of Charity from Mizoram, the small state in north-east India with a Christian majority, have chosen to remain in Ukraine alongside the victims of war. The Indian Catholic agency MattersIndia reports that Sr Rosela Nuthangi and Sr Ann Frida in Kiev are risking their lives to serve the poor.

On 2 March, the Superior General of the Sisters of St Theresa of Calcutta, Sr Mary Prema, managed to contact them and suggested they move by land to a safer part of Ukraine. But the sisters replied that they preferred to stay and care for those in need, regardless of the possible consequences. Their courage in India is intertwined with dramatic news about the evacuation of thousands of young students trapped in the country by the conflict: one of them has already been killed in Kharkiv, while a second is hospitalised in Kiev after being wounded.

The link between the Missionaries of Charity and Ukraine goes back to Mother Teresa herself, who after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1987 went to Kiev, then in the Soviet Union, where she and her sisters started to help the people evacuated from the area of the nuclear power plant following the accident. The government of the Soviet Union awarded her the gold medal for peace because of this gesture, which marked the beginning of the sisters  presence in the former Soviet Union that today sees the Missionaries of Charity carrying out their ministry not only in Ukraine, but also in Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

Sister Rosela Nuthangi, originally from the village of Sihphir, is one of the pioneers of this presence. She arrived in Russia when the Soviet Union still existed and ministered in St Petersburg and Latvia before coming to Ukraine. Sr Ann Frida was born in the city of Aizawl, and after initially ministering in India, has been in Kiev for some ten years now.

All over the world the communities of the Missionaries of Charity are praying for peace in Ukraine. On the official website of the congregation the letter that Mother Teresa wrote in January 1991 to the presidents of the United States and of Iraq, on the eve of the Gulf War, has been republished, which sums up the spirit with which the religious also look at today's conflict: "In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread, but that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain and loss of life which your weapons will cause. I plead to you for those who will be left orphaned, widowed and left alone because their parents, husbands, brothers and children have been killed.I beg you please save them".