Calcutta (Agenzia Fides) - The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM), which brings together the religious better known as "Sisters of Loreto", celebrates 175 years of missionary presence in South Asia. "With immense gratitude to God we celebrate the arrival in India of the first sisters, who 175 years ago brought the love of God", says to Fides sister Anita M. Braganza, head of the religious Province of South Asia.
Eleven Sisters of Loreto came to Calcutta on 30 December 1841 from Ireland (the congregation was founded in Ireland, ed) and were the first religious sisters to land in North India. The first house of the religious sisters was opened in January 1842 and during the same year an orphanage in Calcutta was launched. Later on, the congregation founded several monasteries and schools in many parts of India, Nepal, Bangladesh.
"That experience was the result of a missionary zeal: a life dedicated to mission, saying goodbye to their loved ones, with no plans to return home. Catholic nuns were the first to set foot on Indian soil, in particular by contributing to the training of women and children from all social classes", says Sister Braganza.
Sister Priyanka Toppo, Indian, bears witness: "The community became my second home, where I received training, was educated and given every opportunity to grow at a human and spiritual level. Cultural programs and other extracurricular activities gave me creativity, responsibility and maturity. This testimony was the seed of my vocation to become a sister of Loreto, in order to take care of others just like others took care of me".
The Loreto Sisters were founded by Mary Ward and help children and young people to grow through education and other works that address the needs of the times. (PA-SD) (Agenzia Fides 04/01/2017)