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Nun’s  exemplary life ​wows Asian Mission Congress 

By: Roshin George

​Yangon: Sister Sudha Varghese, a Catholic nun and social activist who has been working for over two decades among the most downtrodden and oppressed Musahar community (rat eaters) in Bihar state of India shared her struggles as she was leading a life in servanthood.

Speaking on “Journeying Together: Mission as affirming the Servanthood” on the second ay of the  Asia Mission Conference , on October 13 here, Sister Sudha, a 2006 recipient of India’s fourth highest civilian honour Padma Shri, narrated stories on how she stands and serves the poor and vulnerable as a selfless Christian.

For Sister Sudha, the foremost concern in her 32 years of service and work among the downtrodden in underdeveloped areas of the Bihar state has not been to preach Christianity among the Musahar people–a community of rat-eaters with no access to land or basic government welfare measures–but to make them fully human beings first by giving them the right to dignity, food, clothes, education and housing.

She believes that preaching the word of God can come afterthey leave a situation where they are forced to live in an animal-like existence, but help them to live with human dignity.

As the head of Nari Gunjan, (Women’s Voice) a non governmental organisaaton that works towards uplifting women and educating girls of the Musahar community, Sr Sudha says she has lived many lives and died many deaths on account of death threats from the dominant upper castes who have been oppressing the vulnerable Musahars. Her life in deep faith in Christ has helped her not to show fear amidst adversities and threat to her life.

Sr Sudha had her calling to serve the poor at the young age of 16, and she has lived among the community in a mud-house, fighting their battles and uplifting and empowering them. Her testimony that “my life has been made meaningful,” was received with applause by more than 600 particiapnts who listened to her thematic address at the morning session.

She  repeatedly vouched her testimony as she remembered the goodness, generosity and loyalty she has received in return from the recepients  of her true Christian life and witness.

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5 Responses to Nun’s  exemplary life ​wows Asian Mission Congress

  1. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Nari Gunjan – a noble initiative. Wishing Sr Sudha God’s blessings.

     
  2. Fr. M.G. Selvin Raj SJ

    Sr. Sudha’s relentless service among the Musahar community in Bihar is really remarkable. As an Indian Christian she need not preach Christ to them and take them to a church, she is already bringing Christ to them amidst their abject poverty and inhuman condition through her committed service. Her authentic christian identity is seen in her work of human liberation.

     
  3. Ladislaus L D'Souza

    O! So you see, the government won’t mind humans eating rats but will make and enforce stringent rules when it comes to eating cattle meat. Maybe things may change if and when some rat-eater is helped through in life to so come up as to make it to the post of Prime Minister

     
  4. Purushottam Nayak

    It is really a commendable work for Sister Sudhan to work for the Musahar community. It is a Hindu caste who lives on the margin of society due to India’s harsh cast system.

    The rat-eaters community is considered the lowest of the Dalit groups, the untouchables, which are the most segregated communities in India. They are discriminated for their skin colour, religion, and traditions. She is an inspiration to many.

     
  5. Fr Joe Mannath SDB

    Thank you for your beautiful and challenging witness, dear Sr Sudha. We need more Christians like you, more religious and priests like you. In fact, all of us would do well to learn from your quiet heroism.

     
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