09/18/2022, 11.40
ECCLESIA IN ASIA
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Sr. Mary Elisabeth, 70 years before the Eucharist in the heart of Asia

by Sumon Corraya

In Dinajpur, Bangladesh, the anniversary celebration of her arrival at the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration monastery. Originally from Kerala, she built and guided the community of cloistered nuns. "I pray for world peace and the welfare of all."

Dinajpur (AsiaNews) - Sr. Mary Elizabeth, a religious of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, at Dinajpur Monastery celebrated 70 years of religious life a few days ago. Present at the ceremony were the Bishop of Dinajpur, Msgr. Sebastian Tudu, some priests and the other nuns.

Sr. Mary Elizabeth arrived in Dhaka on August 31, 1952 from Changanacherry, in India's Kerala, to become a nun along with four other young women. Their uncle brought them by train and ship, taking more than a week. She made her final profession on August 2, 1961. Her family consists of four sisters and two brothers, all of whom are elderly and still alive, and Sr. Elizabeth's sister, Sr. Aroti, is also a Sister of the Missionaries of Charity, working as a missionary in Jordan.

During the Mass, the bishop gave thanks for Sr. Mary Elizabeth's consecrated life. "Today we thank God who sent Rev. Sr. Mary Elizabeth for us from India. She left her loved ones behind and sacrificed her life for this country for the past 70 years. She also performed important tasks for the Catholic Church in Bangladesh. We are grateful to her," Bishop Tudu said.  

Sr. Elizabeth, who is now 87, told AsiaNews that she never returned to her birthplace, Kerala, after arriving in Dhaka, then East Pakistan. But her two sisters and a brother came to Bangladesh to meet her during the Golden Jubilee of her religious life. "At the beginning of my religious life, I used to communicate with my family by letter. Now we are in contact by cell phone," she told AsiaNews.

She said she was happy for her 70 years of religious life. "I was too busy praying and working in the monastery to notice that time was passing. I love the monastery life. I pray before the Eucharist for peace in the world, for the welfare of people, and that has always given me peace within myself," she says, smiling.

"I wanted to go to a faraway country as a missionary. That's why I joined the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. I offered myself to Jesus Christ because I love Him, I obtained immense pleasure by adoring Him," she explained.

Her fellow sisters admire her. "Sr. Mary Elizabeth is our pioneer. She made a huge contribution to our congregation. She offered us the best leadership. She was our Mother Superior in Mymensingh Monastery for 10 years and for 9 years in Dinajpur Monastery," related Sister Mary Petra, a member of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration and Mother Superior of Dinajpur Monastery. 

"She was the founding Mother Superior of Dinajpur Monastery. When the number of members in our congregation decreased, Sister Elizabeth began to pray to Jesus Christ for a religious vocation and Jesus answered her call. At Mymensingh Monastery, the number of our nuns grew to 50 sisters. We did not have enough space for our nuns. Later we opened a new monastery in Dinajpur with the cooperation of the local bishop," Sister Mary Petra related.

She also said that Sr. Elizabeth's prayer life and guidance as a senior nun are still an inspiration to the young nuns. 

The nuns began their ministry in Dinajpur in 2008. In the past 12 years they have been blessed with five new nuns and three more young people are studying in their formation house. In Bangladesh there is another nunnery of the congregation of St. Clare's Adoration Monastery, located in Mymensingh, north-central Bangladesh. The nuns of the monastery arrived in Bengal in 1933. They pray 24/7 for world peace, Pope Francis and other Church leaders.

 

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