Nun from persecuted Church heads Daughters of Charity
By Purushottam Nayak
Berhampur: The new head of Daughters of Charity’s North India province says she is happy to serve the most vulnerable in society.
One such group is her own people in Kandhamal that witnessed ten years ago the worst anti-Christian violence in modern India.
“Our people are still in agony and pain. There is still fear in the minds of people. They need special care and love,” says Sister Martha Pradhan, who Kandhamal, a district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
She told Matters India on March 11 that she wants to serve the poor, downtrodden, underprivileged and marginalized in society.
“Let us work with a new love in service of the poor, looking for the most destitute and abandoned among them. Let us recognize that before God they are our lords and masters, and we are unworthy to render them our small services,” she added quoting their founder Saint Vincent de Paul.
The French priest founded the Daughters of Charity or Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent De Paul in 1633 along with Saint Louise De Marillack, a widow. Its members make annual vows throughout their life that makes them free to leave the congregation without obtaining the Church permission.
They are devoted to serving Christ in the poor through corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
They manage hospitals, orphanages, old age homes and educational institutions. They are also involved in the pastoral activities of the Church.
Sister Pradhan was born on September 13, 1959, in Pajimaha, a village under Our Lady of Charity Parish Raikia under Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese. Raikia was one of worst affected places in the anti-Christian violence of 2007-2008.
She joined the congregation in 1982 after novitiate at Berhampur took her first vow in 1990.
A qualified teacher with master’s degree whe was the headmistress of St. Mary’s Girl’s High School Krisnachandrapur. She has served in Mirtrapur (Balasore), Barbil, Daya Ashram-Cuttack communities. She was provincial Councilor for nine years.
The congregation has 60 provinces in the world with 16,179 members working in 90 countries. They arrived in India in 1940.
They have houses also in Assam, Haryana, Jharkhand, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The North India province has 232 members living in 42 houses and working in 14 dioceses of 10 states.