Mother Teresa Nuns open to free, fair inquiry

By Sr. M. Prema MC

Kolkata: We are deeply saddened and grieved by the recent developments at Missionaries of Charity Home – Nirmal Hriday at East Jail Road, Ranchi, Jharkhand state capital.

Even while we place our full trust in the judicial process that is underway, we wish to express regret and sorrow for what happened and desire to express in unequivocal terms our condemnation of individual actions which have nothing to do with the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity. We are fully cooperating with the investigations and are open to any free, fair and just inquiry. In this context, especially in view of many myths being spread, information distorted and false news being diffused and baseless innuendos being thrown about regarding the Mother Teresa Sisters, it is expedient to lay down the turn of events as they actually transpired.

Sr. Concelia MC was appointed as the sister-in-charge of the ‘unwed mothers’ section at Nirmal Hriday, East Jail Road, Ranchi on June 6, 2017. She was responsible for admission, hospitalization, counseling, record keeping, accompanying mothers and babies to Child Welfare Committee (CWC), when necessary and for a discharge of the unwed mothers from the Home.

Mrs. Anima Indwar began working at Nirmal Hriday from January 2012. Initially, she worked as a ward helper and then as a staff member to care for the unwed mothers. She learnt the work very well and ably assisted Sr. Concelia MC. Mrs. Anima Indwar thus came to enjoy the trust of the Sisters at Nirmal Hriday. As and when Sr. Concelia MC got engaged in pressing responsibilities, Mrs. Anima Indwar would escort the unwed mothers, their babies and their guardians to Sadar Hospital, the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) and CWC office as was required, by herself.

On June 29, 2018, at around 12.30 pm, the Child Protection Officer, Ms. Seema and other Social Welfare officers, about five of them, came to Nirmal Hriday. They called for the admission and attendance registers containing information about the inmates at the Home. They seized the registers and records maintained by Nirmal Hriday without providing the receipt for such seizure to the Home.

From the records maintained for ‘unwed mothers’, the said officials particularly enquired about Ms. Karishma Toppo and her baby. Ms. Karishma Toppo had taken admission in Nirmal Hriday on March 19, 2018, and had delivered her baby on May 01, 2018. After her delivery, Ms. Karishma Toppo had declared in the Home’s register that she would surrender her child to CWC. Mrs. Anima Indwar, Ms. Karishma Toppo and her guardian thus, took the baby from Nirmal Hriday to surrender the child. Neither Nirmal Hriday nor the Sisters had any way to ascertain whether the child was actually surrendered to CWC. This is so because CWC as a matter of practice did not give any acknowledgment to the Home after obtaining custody of a child from an unwed mother.

On July 3, 2018, Mrs. Anima Indwar when summoned by CWC, admitted that Ms. Karishma Toppo’s child was not surrendered to CWC. Upon such admission, she was handed over to the police by CWC. Ms. Karishma Toppo’s child too was surrendered to CWC by Mrs. Anima Indwar and Ms. Karishma Toppo on the same day.

On July 04, 2018, Sr. Concelia MC and Sr. Marie Deanne MC, Superior of Nirmal Hriday were also questioned by the police. Sr. Concelia was arrested by the police while Sr. Marie Deanne MC after being kept in police custody till 7 pm the next day, was finally let off.

On the evening of July 4, 2018, CWC along with Child Protection Officer, Ms. Seema without serving any notice to Nirmal Hriday, carried away the 11 unwed mothers, one unwed mother along with her baby and one guardian from the Home. The said women were subjected to utmost humiliation and public embarrassment by the officials as they were carried in full view of the media.

For reasons unknown, our Shishu Bhawan Home at Hinoo was raided by CWC with a police force consisting of about 7 members on July 06, 2018. 22 children lodged in the said Home were carried away by CWC, which included a one-month-old baby. One such baby took very ill in the custody of CWC and was admitted to the ICU at Rani Hospital. The records and registers of this Home too were carried away by the officials without providing the Home a receipt of such seizure. It is distressing that CWC has meted out such treatment to a Home which its officials themselves had described as having an “excellent environment for the care of children” only about two weeks before.

The Missionaries of Charity following the footsteps of our foundress St. Mother Teresa is caring for the poor, destitute and the afflicted since 1950. Today, there are 5,167 sisters, both active and contemplative, with 760 houses in 139 countries. The Missionaries of Charity have 244 houses in India including those in Jharkhand. Our works include running homes for leprosy patients, TB patients, AIDS patients, physically and mentally challenged children and adults, night shelters, indoor primary healthcare facilities, homes for women in distress, girls in danger, abandoned pregnant women, and for women whom poverty and starvation have driven into the streets.

The Congregation of Missionaries of Charity vows to continue their whole-hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor, by serving the needy and vulnerable even in the middle of the unprecedented and unfounded criticism that it faces today. We have full faith in the courts of law and the investigating authorities and are confident that justice shall prevail.

We pray for all those who have been hurt by the recent developments and we ask God to bless all those who are standing by us in these painful and difficult moments, and we lift up to God in prayer all people of goodwill.

May our Mother, St. Teresa of Calcutta intercede for us before our Almighty Father.

(Sr. M. Prema MC is the Superior General of the Congregation of Missionaries of Charity)

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11 thoughts on “Mother Teresa Nuns open to free, fair inquiry

  1. It was another media initiatives, to tarnish the good and one of the finest and sensitive works which MC sisters do. Let those with authority recite the act contrition

  2. The article is silent about other three babies involved. There is no mention of money changing hands. Let’s hope and pray that the weak and downtrodden are not made scapegoats to save the famous and mighty.

  3. The Press Statement released by the Missionaries of Charity (MC), Kolkata, is at best a hurried PR exercise. MC may be the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. But this does not mean it won’t be subject to scrutiny / government inspection. As Bishop Dabre of Pune said on Republic Channel on 14th July: We must give up “Holier than thou” attitude, book the perpetrators and bring in our Church organisations robust systems, with proper checks and balances.

    The first crucial error in the Press Statement is the disclosure of the name of the unwed mother, who apparently is in the eye of the storm.

    Secondly how is it possible for the CWC as a matter of practice not to give any acknowledgment to MC Home in Ranchi after obtaining custody of a child from an unwed mother. This is naive for there should always be a matching between the Register of babies of MC Home and the CWC. The moment a child is born of an unwed mother, there should be a Plus entry in the MC Home’s Register. The moment the child is handed over to CWC (as officially MC has officially given up child adoption since 2015), there would be one exit or minus entry on the other side of the Register, countersigned by the CWC. Thus the effect on MC Register would be NIL. There cannot be a mismatch between MC and CWC Registers. How can Sr Prema vouch this practice is not followed? If this is true, then she has invited the problem, as CWC can always claim that MC did not hand over a child, as has been mentioned in the Press Statement.

    Also how could Child Protection Officer and other Social Welfare officers, seize the admission and attendance registers containing information about the inmates at the Home maintained by Nirmal Hriday, without providing the receipt for such seizure to the Home? The MC Home in charge should have insisted on getting a receipt for such seizure. She could have taken photographs of such seizure and obtained a copy from the concerned Police Station by calling over the CWC Officials. Similar seizure, as per the Press Statement, was done at another MC Home at Hinoo, again without providing any receipt. MC being such a large, worldwide organisation, cannot be so casual and should have proper systems in place, with proper checks and balances. Why did it not call its auditors of lawyers during the raid and seizure? These are huge gaps in the MC system/MIS which will not help the MC Home, except may be sympathy.

    Sr Prema has also not mentioned anything about the sister Concelia, one of her co-workers still being in 14-day Judical Custody. If all were clear, how is it that the sister still continues to be in custody and no top notch lawyer has been able to secure her and Mrs Anima Indwar’s release?

  4. The witch hunt launched against MC Sisters must stop. The entire incident and its flare up seems to have been intended to malign the selfless good work of the Sisters and tarnish their image. If any Sister or staff has flouted the rules, the law must be allowed to take its course. But the trial by media must stop.

  5. My sincere prayers for the sisters of charity and for all those who are involved in this event. I pray that the Holy Spirit may guide those who do the investigations and the judicial process. Be assured that Jesus is at the head of your boat. It will not tilt and the seemingly strong waves are not going to affect you. You are doing His work and He will come to your rescue. He has said, “You will have troubles in the world, but take courage for I have conquered the world.” A lot of people are praying for you; me too.

  6. The Press Release raises more questions, which I do not wish to publicise due to reverence for St Mother Teresa. However, it is hard to believe that sister in charge knew nothing about it. Attempt to put the blame on the staff is deplorable.

  7. It is extremely unfortunate that those who have never ever in their lives visited any of the homes or orphanages run by the Missionaries of Charity are making irresponsible and immature comments on what they have only heard. Some are even trying to make themselves popular by using this opportunity and making negative or controversial remarks.

    However, the good work that the missionaries of charity sisters are doing all over the world will surely continue. I wish if all those childless couple who have adopted children from the MOC all over India and today can call themselves proud parents, could come out and give witness, many mouths will be shut.

    If taking money is wrong, then giving is equally wrong. Why are those who have paid the amount to buy the children not arrested?? Why are their names and photos not flashing yet on TV screens??? Who can afford to pay such big amounts??? who is protecting them??

    I call on all those who feel that everything is wrong at the MOC, to please come forward and spend a day or two, volunteer to be with the children or the dying destitute and show by
    example, how to run a home with perfection. They could begin with Nirmal Hriday situated at Kalighat in Kolkata which looks after the dying destitute.

    No body is perfect. There could be lapses, there could be mistakes which need to be corrected. But one cannot generalize and talk nonsense.

    Dear Sisters of the MOC, please continue your good work. It is a matter to be upset and sad but do not be demotivated. If there are people to criticize you there are many more to appreciate you and your work.

    “Let the one who has never sinned, throw the first stone”

  8. Isn’t it also improper to reveal the name of one of the unwed victims? I also hope and pray that the home was not being used as a parking lot by priests who have impregnated poor tribal women, it has happened before.

  9. It would seem that the MCs are either naive, incompetent or badly advised. Why did they take so long to give their version? It is difficult to swallow the claim that the staffer did something without the sister’s knowledge or consent.

  10. Much prayers continue for our sisters in Mother Teresa’s Homes, including all the inmates they care for… There is nothing that can set us FREE as The Truth, am glad we have the information before us now.
    This situation most certainly re-iterates Romans 8:28 for us, altho it does call for us to review n streamline processes all across, especially in every Institution that caters to the needy and the helpless, such that we do not have to accept unnecessary humiliation for our cubs…
    With love in Christ Jesus everyone,

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