Bhubaneswar (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic community in the Indian state of Orissa (or Odisha), which has suffered violence and massacres in recent years, is not discouraged and generates new vocations to consecrated life: yesterday, October 2 , was a memorable day for Sister Rebika Pradhan and Sister Anjali Singh, from the community of Kandhamal district, Orissa, who took their final profession of vows at St. Vincent's Church in Bhubaneswar, along with other 5 Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy, who come from the states of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. The official ceremony was presided by the Bishop of Berhampur, Mgr. Sarat Chandra Nayak. For the occasion there were 30 priests, 35 sisters and 2,000 faithful.
"Life has a meaning only when it is given to others. If you have nothing to give, it is not worth living", said Mgr. Nayak in his homily. "Every born child is a sign that God has not lost hope in humanity, and in every nun and priest God has not lost his hope", he added. "You are the jewels of the Church, you are her grace and you are her children", said Mgr. Nayak quoting Pope Francis.
"Why are Christians massacred and marginalized? These were the questions that accompanied me in my vocational path", said Sister Rebika Pradhan to Fides, recalling the sad experience of 2008."I got an answer when I saw the death of over 100 people only for witnessing their faith in Jesus Christ. I strengthened and persevered in my vocation to religious life for the glory of God", added Sister Pradhan.
The nun is originally from Belkoti, in the district of Kandhamal, part of the archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, where anti-Christian violence exploded in 2008. She is the eldest in the family, she has two sisters and two brothers. She currently teaches at St. Joseph School in Bhubaneswar.
The other nun, Anjali Singh, is also from Kandhamal. "The first wave of violence that took place in my parish in Bamunigam, Kandhamal during the Christmas season of 2007 shocked me. Christians had put lights in the street as a sign of the Christmas celebration. About 150 to 200 radical Hindus destroyed it. On Christmas Day violence took place against Christians who, over time, were faced with systematic riots in which the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) group was involved. Many churches were burned and so many people massacred. Odisha had become the center of anti-Christian violence", says Sister Anjali Singh. "Hindu fundamentalists destroyed churches in 2008 for the second time. Listening to the cry of consolation of the faithful was one of the reasons for my vocation to religious life. My people suffered and died because of anti-Christian violence to witness the faith in Jesus Christ: this gave me enough strength and courage to continue and witness that God is right and loves peace",adds Sister Singh.
Sister Anjali Singh is originally from Alanjuri, Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, where the first riots occurred at Christmas in 2007. She has four sisters and three brothers. She is the fourth in the family. One of her sisters, Gitanjali, is a religious of the Sisters of Charity of the Saints Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa (SCCG). One of her brothers, Ranjit, is a priest of the Indian Missionary Society (IMS), Varanasi Province. "I want to be a messenger of peace, harmony and love in my religious life", said Sister Anjali.
"Today I am very happy that God has called my daughter to be an instrument for His glory", said her Father Bipin Bihari Singh. "Violence against Christians in Kandhamal has not disheartened us, it has instead strengthened our vocation", concluded the religious women. (PN/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 3/10/2017)