BANGLADESH - The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate (PIME) yesterday marked the anniversary of 75 years of service by announcing they would expand their reach in the country through new mission work, including a program of assisting people living with HIV/AIDS.
About 2,000 local Catholics, including six priests and 12 nuns, attended a Mass celebrated by Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi at Bonpara Catholic parish in Natore district to commemorate the occasion.
Italian Sister Gianfranca Foiadelli, the local community superior, said after the celebration that the group hopes to build on past accomplishments. “Over the years we’ve tried to help the local Church grow and preach the Good News to all people with our service. Now we have planned to start newer missions soon for the service of HIV/AIDS patients. We would also like to produce some lay missioners who can work with us.” She added that the PIME sisters have served people physically, mentally, spiritually and morally irrespective of caste, creed or gender.
In his homily, Bishop Rozario told those in attendance that he was himself a fruit of outstanding service by the missionary nuns. “PIME nuns were my first catechism teachers and they prepared me for sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. I was inspired to enter religious vocation life with inspiration from their service,” he said.
“I recall the days when there were no registered doctors in the area. The nuns were a great source of comfort … with their health services. I’m proud to have them in my diocese.” Inspired by Blessed Father Paolo Manna, two Italian nuns, Giuseppina Dones and Giuseppina Rodolfi, founded the congregation on December 8, 1936, in Milan.
The order sent three nuns, Srs Annunciata Dragoni, Germana Barba and Carmela Corti, to the East as the first missioner group in 1953. The nuns started their mission in northwestern Dinajpur district by setting up a leprosy hospital, one of the first of such health services in the country.
Since then 56 local women have entered the missionary order, and there are now 68 nuns from PIME working in the country.
Published: December 9, 2011