08/29/2023, 13.50
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Sister Rozario, from Bangladesh to Milan to bear witness to Christ among young people

by Sumon Corraya

The 33-year-old member of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate,  a congregation linked to PIME, is set to leave shortly for the mission in Italy. In the farewell Mass, Fr Giacominelli highlighted the joy of working in education, which many Italian Sisters experienced in his parish of Bonpara. Her testimony is an example for other girls and young women who want to follow the same path.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Sister Happy Martha Rozario, a 33-year-old member of the Missionaries of the Immaculate (MSI), a female congregation linked to PIME, is ready to leave for Milan (Italy) to bear witness to the faith among young people with a mandate from the Church in Bonpara, her parish of origin.

“In the past, the Italian sisters of PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) came to our country as missionaries, now it is we who go to their country as missionaries,” she said speaking about her new task.

Before departing, her community bid her farewell on 18 August, during a solemn Eucharistic celebration attended by more than 300 people and led by Fr Dino Giacominelli (PIME), who gave her a Bible and a cross as symbols of mission.

"I am happy to go on the mission to be a witness of Christ among young Italians,” she told AsiaNews.

The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate arrived in Bengal in 1953 from Europe and today 18 foreign PIME missionaries, mostly Italians, still serve in Bangladesh. Conversely, 52 PIME Sisters are local, including 16 serving as missionaries abroad.

For Sister Rosary, most of her time will be devoted to passing on Christian values to young people. In the past, she worked at a hostel and a school.

"Italy needs foreign missionaries to work with young people,” explained the Sister, the sixth of seven children. “I will serve those in Milan. As an educator, I will pass on Christian values to them so that they can follow the teaching of Jesus."

“During my childhood I saw many PIME sisters visiting families in our village of Bahimaly, in the parish of Bonpara,” she said when asked about the origin and development of her religious vocation.

"Their sincerity, their simple life, their smiling faces and their good behaviour pushed me to become a nun. Among them, Sister Gertrude Reberio attracted me the most.”

This shows how PIME Sisters won the hearts of local Catholics.

Sister Martha admitted that she did not have a clear idea about missionary life, but when she began her training at the congregation’s house, where she lived from 2007 to 2018, she immediately had a clear idea of her religious vocation.

After completing her studies, she “became a nun on 15 August 2018”. Although “my parents did not agree” at the start, they still provided her with support, as did PIME Sisters.

Italian missionary Fr Giacominelli is another key figure who boosted her vocation. In his homily saying goodbye to Sister Rosario, he stressed the change in the missionary perspective.

“In the past we PIME missionaries came to Bangladesh, now it is the young people of Bangladesh who go to our country (Italy) as missionaries. This is a good sign,” he noted.

“I congratulate Sister Happy Martha for the blessing received" because her choice to devote herself to consecrated life has already become a source of inspiration for other young women who wish to become Sisters.

"I want to become a nun and be a witness of Christ to others,” said 15-year-old Saroshi Corraya.

This is a challenge in a country like Bangladesh, overwhelmingly Muslim, home to 166 million people, where Christians number about a million, half of them Catholic.

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