10/17/2016, 14.39
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PIME sisters mark 50 years in Bonpara treating Muslims, Hindus, and Catholics

by Sumon Corraya

The Missionaries of the Immaculate, a female congregation associated with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, run a medical dispensary whose staff provide medical care and a smile to the poor. Some 75 sisters work across the country in schools, health facilities and parishes.

Natore (AsiaNews) – The Missionaries of the Immaculate (MSI) in Bonpara, Natore District, have treated thousands of needy people, mostly Muslims and Hindus, for the past 50 years.

Known as PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) Sisters, they run a health facility, the St. Mary's Dispensary and Maternity, which welcomes patients of all religions.

One of them, a Muslim woman in her eighties, told AsiaNews, "I have been coming here for 40 years, that is since I became ill. The Christian doctors are kind to us and spend time with patients. I never received treatments other than in this clinic run by nuns. I will continue to come here for the rest of my life."

The local Church opened the medical facility in 1966. The Muslim patient remembers. "The first time I came, this dispensary was a simple, just a small cabin, but from the beginning the sisters carried out the treatments with sincere love."

"Every day about 50 patients come here in conditions of extreme need,” said Sister Clare Coast, a staff member. “Serving the sick is one of the tasks of our mission."

“I heard about this centre from my community,” said Muslam Uddin, 50, a Muslim religious scholar (Maulana). “Many of them are being treated here, and I have started myself treatment 10 years ago."

"The doctors and health professionals prescribe the right medication,” he said. “They visit the sick with a smile. I appreciate their style. That is why I come here from far (20 km) even though there are several large hospitals in my area."

"The doctors do not ask for money,” said Morjina Begum, another Muslim patient. “They ask a modest payment for the medicines. They do not want to profit from patients, but treat us with love. They are real doctors."

About 75 PIME nuns work in Bangladesh, in schools, parishes and dispensaries. At the Bonpara facility, the staff not only provide medical care, but also moral teachings, preaching mutual respect, personal care, and opposition to abortion.

Bonpara’s parish priest, Fr Bikash H. Reberio, believes that "PIME Missionaries provide great service to the poor of the area. The clinic operates thanks to their kindness. This is why it draws so many people.”

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