Mother Teresa’s successor Sister Nirmala dead
Kolkata, June 23 (IANS) Sister Nirmala, who succeeded Mother Teresa as superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, died here on Tuesday. She was 81. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said her life was devoted to “caring for the poor and underprivileged”.
Nirmala became the second head of the Missionaries of Charity after its founder Mother Teresa stepped down from the post in March 1997. The Nobel laureate died on September 5 the same year.
Nirmala held the post till March 24, 2009, when she was succeeded by Sister Mary Prema.
Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza told IANS that the funeral mass will be held at the Mother House on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Sister Nirmala will be laid to rest at the St. John’s cemetery.
Born Nirmala Joshi in Ranchi to a Brahmin family from Nepal in 1934, she joined the MoC after converting from Hinduism in het youth.
An MA in political science and a trained lawyer, Sister Nirmala started the MoC’s contemplative branch in 1976 and headed it till 1997 when she was elected to succeed Mother Teresa as the order’s Superior General.
She was elected for a second term in 2003.
Sister Nirmala was re-elected for a third term on March 13, 2009, but the MoC held a second election days later after she wanted to be relieved of the responsibility owing to ill-health and also expressed a desire to return to the contemplative life she led before heading the order.
Sister Nirmala was honoured with India’s second highest civilian order Padma Vibhushan in 2009 for her services to the nation.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled Sister Nirmala’s death and tweeted: “Saddened at the passing of Sister Nirmala who headed Missionaries of Charity after Mother Teresa. Kolkata and the world will miss her.”
Banerjee paid her last respects to Sister Nirmala at St John’s Church here.
Describing it as a personal loss, she said the state government will extend all help and cooperation for the last rites.
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) also extended its condolences.
“Her life of dedication and service especially to the poor is a great inspiration and it is to be pondered upon and to be followed,” ISKCON’s spokesperson Radharaman Das said.