Sister Nirmala, M.C. passed away on Tuesday, 23 June 2015 at
12:05 a.m. at the Missionaries of Charity contemplative house in Kolkata, India, at the age of 80, of heart failure associated with kidney failure.
Sister Nirmala was born on 23 July 1934 in Doranda, Ranchi, India, as the eldest of 10 children. Under the influence of her devout Nepali Hindu parents, Sr. Nirmala was strongly moved from her early childhood to love God and His poor. While at Patna Women’s College in 1951, she had a deep interior experience of Jesus who captured her heart. From that moment onward, she had a deep desire to know Him and follow Him.
In March 1958 she met Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She embraced the Catholic faith in April and joined the Missionaries of Charity in May of the same year. She served the materially and spiritually poorest of the poor in Calcutta, the Americas and briefly in Europe. In 1976, she was appointed the Sister responsible for the newly- founded Contemplative Branch of the Missionaries of Charity.
In March 1997, she was elected Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity succeeding Mother Teresa, and was re-elected in 2003.
At times of natural and man-caused calamities, she went to oversee the relief work of the Sisters, comforting the injured, the grieving, the displaced and the suffering, bringing them hope and courage. She went to Orissa at the time of the supercyclone, to Malda submerged by floods, to the West Indies ravaged by a hurricane, to Gujarat struck by an earthquake, to South India, the Andaman Islands and Sri Lanka devastated by the tsunami, to Sierra Leone torn by civil war and to Orissa suffering from communal violence.
Although re-elected in March 2009, Sr. Nirmala declined another term as Superior General for reasons of age and health, and returned to a life of prayer in the contemplative branch. In 2009, the Government of India conferred on her the Padma Vibhushan.
Sr. Nirmala, blessed with a listening heart and intelligence, generously shared with everyone the fruit of her contemplation in in her gentleness, kindness, simplicity and joyfulness.
She was sought as a guide by the Sisters and the people who trusted in her advice and blessings.
We are grateful to God for the gift of Sr. Nirmala's life. May the men, women and children of India and the world who surrounded Sr. Nirmala with their love and respect, be granted God*s blessing and peace.
Those who wish to pay their last respects to Sr. Nirmala, can do so at St. John's Church, Sealdah, until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, 23 June 2015; and at Mother House, 54A A.J.C. Bose Road, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 24 June 2015.
The funeral Mass will be held at the Mother House at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, 24 June 2015, followed by interment at St. John's Church, Sealdah.
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