05/18/2006, 00.00
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Sisters of Mother Teresa in Kabul

A Missionaries of Charity House opens in the Afghan capital. Four nuns start helping street children.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – Four nuns from Mother Teresa's order have arrived in Kabul where they have set up a shelter for street children. Their community was set up on April 10 but the plan for the house was already in the works for a year. Fr Giuseppe Moretti, superior of the missio sui iuris in Afghanistan, blessed the building on May 9.

For now, the missionaries of Charity do not have a phone. Father Moretti, who does, told AsiaNews that their presence has so far not "caused any opposition as some might have thought".

The nuns, who are of different nationalities, move around the city in their white and pale blue sari, clearly different from Afghan women who wear blue burqas. Their dress plainly shows to what religious group they belong. Many feared this might cause problems with local Islamists in a country that is 99 per cent Muslims.

"They have started helping children, whose situation in the country is really bad, and have already take in some street kids," Father Moretti said.

The clergyman is certain that the "sisters of Mother Teresa will be respected and loved like the Little Sisters of Jesus who have been discretely working in hospitals in the country for 46 years and are well-loved by the Afghans."

One Little Sister of Jesus from Japan, who works in a big Kabul hospital, said she already saw some positive signals.

"Yesterday, Nurses' Day, the hospital director, a Muslim, urged the hospital staff to take Mother Teresa as an example. Like her people ought to take care of others with the same diligence irrespective of race or religion".

Months ago AsiaNews had already seen the esteem and respect Muslims have towards the missionaries of charity.

In October the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, when he met the sisters of Mother Teresa waiting for their visa to Afghanistan, reassured them that it would be "an honour" to help them. (MA)

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