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Touring sisters keep faith alive in northeast
By reporter, Guwahati

A self-renewal program has helped remind the “touring sisters” of northeastern India their unique role in spreading the Gospel.

The “touring sisters,” a group unique to the Church in northeastern India, are nuns who live in remote villages for a week or a month. Besides faith formation, they help the villagers resolve social issues and other problems.

These nuns often walk long distances or ride bicycles to villages inaccessible by other means for transport.

Salesian Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, who presided over the Nov. 9 program in Guwahati, hailed the touring nuns as the backbone of the Church in northeastern India.

The archbishop regretted that many Religious have lost interest in their mission. “This does not happen with the touring sisters whose aim is to bring the Gospel to those who have not heard it,” he added.

About 70 Religious attended the one-day program organized by Guwahati archdiocese.

Father Mathew Kottaram, vicar general of Bongaigaon diocese, reminded the participants that their work is crucial for the Church’s growth. “You are doing what Christ has done. He lived with people and taught them,” he explained.

The vicar general said the “touring sisters” have to evangelize and re-evangelize because even those who have accepted Christ do not know the fundamentals of the faith.

He also stressed team work to make the nuns’ task easier. He also asked them to seek help from youth, women, and catechists.

Sister Concepta Dkhar, a participant, said the touring sisters face issues such as illiteracy, poverty, language divisions and environment degradation.

The Missionary Sisters of Mary Help Christians asked the participants to use street theater to explore health, water and hygiene issues with villagers.
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