05/16/2017, 14.49
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Four nuns of the Cross act as ‘messengers of Christ’ among Hindus and Muslims in Uttar Pradesh

by Santosh Digal

The state, which is the most populous in India with more than 200 million people, is now ruled by a Hindu nationalist cleric. The missionaries work in social and educational fields, including help to students, visit remote villages and listen to people's requests. Despite challenges and problems, they “do no lose heart," said one.

Gorakhpur (AsiaNews) – Four Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod work in Gorakhpur, a remote village about 275 kilometres from Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh. Their mission is to be “messengers of Christ” among local Hindus, Christians and Muslims.

Their pastoral outreach involves social and educational work, including help for students. It is that more important considering that Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous states with more than 200 million inhabitants. The Hindu nationalists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently took power.

"We are messengers of peace and solidarity and we promote dialogue through love and service in light of Christ's teachings," Sister Reena Paul told AsiaNews. "We are like small lamps that move around and guide people to Christ, offering the values ​​of [God's] Kingdom," she added.

She and her fellow nuns visit villages, meet residents and listen to their joys and sufferings. "We are involved in various ministries such as social work and teaching. We take care of students in the hostels,” she explained.

Among their various activities, the nuns promote organic farming and welfare programmes as well as help farmers, women and children. They are also involved in protecting human dignity and in trying to curb human trafficking.

"Our guiding principle is to make people happy despite their struggles and put them in the condition of being able to improve their social, economic and human capital,” Sister Paul said. “This way they can promote peace, harmony, solidarity and brotherhood among the various religious communities that exist in society."

The missionary admits "that we face many challenges and problems every day in our work, but we do not lose heart. Our pastoral zeal remains unchanged." When asked what motivates her, she said: "We put our trust and faith in God, and carry on with patience and love."

The Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod are a female congregation of pontifical right, operating in 16 countries in four continents. Speaking about the institute in general, Sister Paul noted, "We joyfully share the mystery of Jesus dead and risen, and we work together for God’s glory and the salvation of all, in accordance with everyone's freedom and availability."

Finally, "Fortified by the Passion of Christ, we are called to reveal the merciful love of the Father in every circumstance and the liberating power of the Paschal Mystery through our simple, joyful and evangelical life."

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