DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY September 9, 1998 vol. 9, no. 176
SPECIAL Q & A INTERVIEW WITH SISTER NIRMALA
To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
CWN INTERVIEW WITH MOTHER TERESA'S SUCCESSOR
The following is the first part of a two part exclusive interview with Sister Nirmala, head of the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa. The question and answer session took place in Calcutta at the headquarters of the Order and was conducted by Rodolfo Bermejo for Catholic World News in anticipation of the one-year anniversary of Mother's death.
CALCUTTA (CWNews.com) -- It all began exactly 50 years ago, in this city, famous around the world for its population density and the impoverished conditions in which its nearly almost 14 million inhabitants live. A small nun known as Mother Teresa began her work with the poorest of the poor.
The body of Mother Teresa now lies in a simple white marble tomb in the central house of the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order that she founded. Today that order has spread around the globe, and is now at work in 133 countries, with more than 4,000 nuns from 80 different nationalities.
In August, Catholic World News had an exclusive interview with Mother Teresa's successor as head of the Missionaries of Charity. Sister Nirmala--whose name means "Immaculate" in Hindi--was born in Nepal, and raised a Hindu. She met Mother Teresa here in Calcutta in the spring of 1958, when she was 23 years old, and was about to ask to be admitted to the Catholic Church.
The interview was conducted with Sister Nirmala sitting on the same bench where Mother Teresa used to receive her visitors. Sister Nirmala invited also Sister Frederic--a British nun, whom she describes as her best counselor, to sit in on the interview.
Q: Sister, can you explain to us how the life of Missionaries of Charity
has changed since Mother left?
Q: But have the people of Calcutta changed their approach to you and
the sisters since Mother is here no more?
Q: What are the main changes that have occurred in the order since
Q: But ordinarily how many houses would you open every year?
Q: And have you seen a change in the number of new vocations?
Q: Have you been traveling at the same pace that Mother used to do
when she was governing the order?
Q: Can you tell us about the future goals of the Missionaries of
Q: What are the main problems that Missionaries of Charity are
Q: But perhaps some of those "challenges" are obstacles to your work.
Q: What about financial means: food, medicines, material goods?
Q: But Sister, what would you tell those people who are so afraid of
lacking the "indispensable? things every day, or those who want to
possess more material things?
Q: How does the Order cope with all the financial and economical
Q: That reminds me of the current controversy about the committee
that is being formed in Calcutta to name the city's main street as
Mothers Teresa's Avenue and to build an statue of her. You are
opposed to that effort. Why?
Q: So would you allow the naming of the street if it is a case of
something that is done spontaneously--or at least without this
Q: Is there any other place in the world where the sisters carry out
as much work as they do here in Calcutta?
Tomorrow: the second and final part of this interview
The above interview conducted by Rodolfo Bermejo
provided through Catholic World News Service.
Q & A WITH SISTER NIRMALA