Sis­ter Nir­mala, Mother Teresa’s suc­ces­sor, dies at 81 in Kolkata

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Sis­ter Nir­mala Joshi, who suc­ceeded Mother Teresa as head of her Mis­sion­ar­ies of Char­ity in the eastern In­dian city of Kolkata, died on Tues­day at the age of 81, church of­fi­cials said.

Joshi had been suf­fer­ing from a heart con­di­tion and her health had been de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­cently, con­fin­ing her to a Mis­sion­ar­ies of Char­ity home, Arch­bishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza and media re­ports said.

“She had been suf­fer­ing from a heart dis­ease for quite some time, but she never lost her smile and was al­ways cheer­ful,” D’Souza told AFP.

“She passed away peace­fully, sur­rounded by sis­ters pray­ing for her.”

Her body has been placed in St John’s church where some 60 nuns were singing and pray­ing on Tues­day to celebrate her life, an AFP pho­tog­ra­pher said.

“Sis­ter Nir­mala car­ried for­ward Mother Teresa’s legacy of com­pas­sion, gen­tle­ness, ser­vice to the poor­est of the poor and ho­li­ness of life,” D’Souza said.

“Even af­ter she ceased to be head of Mis­sion­ar­ies of Char­ity, she served the peo­ple with the same zeal as she did be­fore.”

Six months be­fore Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, Sis­ter Nir­mala took over as head of the or­der of nuns that the No­bel Peace Prize win­ner founded in Kolkata 65 years ago.

As head of the or­der for 12 years, Nir­mala kept up Mother Teresa’s work of help­ing the poor and sick in Kolkata’s slums, be­fore step­ping down in 2009 be- cause of ill health.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi led tributes to Sis­ter Nir­mala, who was born a Hindu but em­braced Ro­man Catholi­cism later in life.

“Sis­ter Nir­mala’s life was de­voted to ser­vice, car­ing for the poor & un­der­priv­i­leged... May her soul rest in peace,” he tweeted.

Hun­dreds are ex­pected to turn out for her fu­neral which is to be held in Kolkata on Wed­nes­day.

AP

Peo­ple pay trib­ute as the body of Sis­ter Nir­mala, who suc­ceeded Mother Teresa as the head of Mis­sion­ar­ies of Char­ity, the or­der founded by the lat­ter, is kept at the St. John’s Church in Kolkata, In­dia, Tues­day, June 23.

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