Our 16 Sisters in North East India are among almost 600 Medical Mission Sisters trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer today.
In the northeast corner of the nation of India, Medical Mission Sisters reach out in a special way to many persons who have long lacked the opportunities for good health care, education and life-supporting livelihoods. Malaria is very common in most of the towns and villages in which our Sisters serve. So, too, are poverty, illiteracy and exploitation of women. An active advocate for the empowerment of women as valuable agents of change, Sister Alex Illimoottil has been working with the North East Diocesan Forum in Kohima to help women become more aware of the realities that are part of their lives, and to organize them into groups that can address these issues. Leadership training is an important part of her ministry. “We aim to ensure women equal status in all spheres of life,” she says. Sister Alex is also very involved in the informal education of school-age children who do not have access to any other form of education. Other Medical Mission Sisters in Kohima offer special programs for teen-age boys and reach out to those addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Sister Rose Kayathinkara has been honored by the government for having “the best cooperative in North East India.” She founded the Mendipathar Multipurpose Cooperative Society two decades ago and has seen many women gain knowledge, confidence and incomes to help support themselves and their families. Another of our Sisters spends her time caring for the sick in the interior villages that have long gone without health care.
In Rajabala, Medical Mission Sisters try to live an eco-friendly life and care for the Earth through organic farming. Sister Nirmala Chirackapurayidam also trains local health personnel in basic health care and health education, and holds life and justice awareness classes for the youth.
Our Community members living in Chumekedima are neighbors to migrant peoples who are poor and marginalized in many ways. They live in great poverty and most cannot read or write. With these limitations, they have found it difficult to change their lives. We reach out to them, offering health care, feeding programs, nutrition classes, informal education, literacy training, and support to obtain safe housing. In this and all of our ministries in North East India, our Sisters try to be present in a healing way, helping women, children and men who have been denied the basics of life to come to experience what being a human being can and should mean.
February 1, 2013