ASIA/NEPAL - On mission in Nepal for 25 years serving the poor and the needy: Nazareth Sisters of Charity and the rest of the local Church continue mission to assist people suffering from war and violence

Friday, 11 June 2004

Kathmandu (Fides Service) - Educating children and young people, works of apostolate, offering comfort to the sick and prison inmates, offering work training classes to women: these are the sectors of the activity of the Nazareth Sisters of Charity who are marking the 25th anniversary of their mission in Nepal.
The local people deeply appreciate the work of the Nazareth Sisters who are held in high esteem for their simple life style of service and prayer which continues despite the situation of social tension in the country.
The whole of Nepal is militarised with road blocks everywhere. Schools of all grades, including Catholic schools, have been closed for security due to the threat of violence by Maoist rebels. 2003 was a difficult year for the country, marked by violence. Many families had members taken hostage or killed. Despite the danger the small Catholic community, 6,000 out of a population of 23 million, strives to continue with works of charity and assistance to the poorest people and those struck by tragedies. In the fighting between government troops and Maoist rebels over the past year at least 9,000 people were killed, with causalities among the military and guerrillas but mainly among civilians.
The sisters and clergy and missionaries -pro-Vicar of Nepal Father Pius Perumana told Fides - share the difficulties of the situation in Nepal. Catholics schools and dispensaries have been attacked and threatened. Despite the insecurity the little Catholic continues to serve those in need. In the meantime a new Pastoral at Kathmandu has been completed.
The first group of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth came from India to Nepal in 1979 and they opened a mission near the capital Kathmandu, and began to offer assistance to the needy, women and children in particular. Today in Nepal there are 10 Nazareth Sisters of Charity
Looking back to 25 years ago the Sisters recall the warm welcome received from the local people and also the difficulty in learning the language. Today they run New Light School for children with mental disabilities in Kathmandu and a craft and job training school for women from rural areas. They have another mission at Dahran, in eastern Nepal.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 11/6/2004 lines 24 words 252)