Sister Nirmala (Joshi), who headed the Missionaries of Charity following the death of Mother Teresa, died in Sealdah at the age of 81. She was suffering from prolonged illness. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjer tweeted to inform about the sad news.
“Saddened at the passing of Sister Nirmala who headed Missionaries of Charity after Mother Teresa. Kolkata and the world will miss her,” tweets Mamata. Sister Nirmala’s funeral will be held with full state honours tomorrow.
Prime Minister also condoled the demise of Sister Nirmala. “Sister Nirmala’s life was devoted to service, caring for the poor & underprivileged. Saddened by her demise. May her soul rest in peace. My deepest condolences to the Missionaries of Charity family on the passing away of Sister Nirmala”, he tweeted.
Sister Nirmala was born in 1934 in Ranchi, Bihar and Orissa Province in the British Indian Empire (now the capital of the Indian State of Jharkhand). Her parents were from Nepal and her father was an officer of the British Army until the nation’s independence in 1947.
Although the family was Hindu, she was educated by Christian missionaries in Patna (capital of Bihar state). At that time she learned of Mother Teresa’s work and wanted to share in that service. She soon converted to Roman Catholicism and joined the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa at the age of 17.
Sister Nirmala had completed a Master’s degree in Political Science and had additional training as a Lawyer. In 1976, she started the contemplative branch of the Missionaries of Charity and remained at its head until 1997 when she was elected to succeed Mother Teresa as Superior General of the institute.
She was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, in 2009 for her services to the nation. Her term as Superior General ended on 25 March 2009, and she was succeeded by German-born Sister Mary Prema Pierick, M.C.