Sister-Doctor Illigem (Gemma) Susanta

Sister-Doctor Gemma is one of 600 Medical Mission Sisters and 80 Associates in 17 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.

Born in Takengon, Indonesia, Sister Gemma converted to Catholicism at the age of 15. After high school she joined a diocesan religious congregation and became a doctor. She transferred to the Medical Mission Sisters in 1980.

Sister Gemma has worked at a number of medical facilities. She has served for many years as a general practitioner in the outpatient department of Fatima Hospital in Parepare, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Managed by the Archdiocese of Makassar, this is the only Catholic hospital in the midst of the Muslim population in Parepare.

Sister uses alternative health therapies, such as herbal medicine and acupuncture, in her healing ministry. In conjunction with the local government health services, she also cares for persons with leprosy (Hansen’s disease) in the Lauleng Leprosarium.

For the past five years, Sister Gemma has been in charge of the national tuberculosis program in Parepare, in collaboration with the local government services. In addition, she is involved with the poor elderly, in the parish and the city, helping them with handicrafts, prayers, health care and nutrition.

May 1, 2011