Mother Teresa of Calcutta successor, Sister Nirmala, dies

MC, NJ Viehland

MC sisters join Lament service in Paco Church, Manila,2013. – NJ Viehland Photos

Sister Nirmala Joshi, who had succeeded Mother Teresa as the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity in 1997  passed away around midnight June 23. She was 80.

The nun has been suffering from a heart ailment, The Indian Express reported.  Her remains will be kept at the Missionaries of Charity headquarters in Kolkata until her funeral on June 25 afternoon.

The Missionaries of Charity under Sister Mary Prema Pierick’s lead since 2009 continue to care for the homeless and dying in Kolkata. The congregation that began as a small community with 12 members in Calcutta currently has over 4,500 Sisters running orphanages, AIDS hospices, charity centres worldwide, and caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless and victims of floods, epidemics and famine in Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, Europe and Australia.

After Pope Paul VI granted in 1965 Mother Teresa’s request to expand her congregation to other countries it established its first house outside India in Venezuela. Others followed in Rome and Tanzania, and eventually in many countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe, including Albania.

The first home of the Missionaries of Charity in the United States was established in the South Bronx, New York. In the USA, the Missionaries of Charity are affiiated with the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, a body of female religious, representing 20 percent of American nuns.

By 1996, the congregation was operating 517 missions in more than 100 countries. Today, more than one million co-workers and donations from ordinary people reportedly support the group.

In the Philippines mission, 53 foreigners and 50 Filipinas are among some 138 members a Catholic Directory published by Claretian Publications reports.. Six are contemplative sisters. Some 116 Filipinas are serving abroad, and the rest care for sick and malnourished children and destitute adults in centers located in five archdiocese and eight dioceses around the country.



Calcutta is everywhere in the world – Mother Teresa

By: N.J. Viehland

In a recent interview with Indian priest Father Ivan Vas of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) who is in Manila studying at UST, he offered Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a model of Christian discipleship.

Radical discipleship “calls us to leave everything and follow the way Jesus lived as a young man,” which is not happening today among Religious men and women in his country, Father Vas said.

“When people go to church, they want to see how the priest and religious [have] followed the Master, and they are waiting to hear or experience those testimonies,” Father Vas said citing the example of Mother Teresa.

He explained, “She saw people without health care, without food, and she just started the work. Seeing this, people come for help, and also to help,” adding, “No wonder that the Missionaries of Charity do not encounter problems with vocations and volunteers.”

This documentary on Mother Teresa shows me “Calcutta is everywhere in the world”, how she responded and why, and what drove Father Vas to say what he did about her.

Missionaries of Charity at Arzobispado de Manila for Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s birthday 2012. / N.J. Viehland Photo