Sister Sujita: Profile of an Indian Nun

sister sujita

Sister Sujita Kallupurakkathu, the global leader of the Sisters of Notre Dame, the religious community of 2,400 nuns serving in 17 nations, was born into a middle-class Catholic family in southern India, earned degrees in social work and communications from Bombay University, and learned many of her most important life lessons in an Indian slum. This interesting profile of a nun comes to me from Holly who read it in The Blade.

“This general superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame says it is only by living with the poor that one can truly understand their plight and help them achieve a sense of dignity. The Sisters of Notre Dame worldwide focus on providing education, social services, and pastoral care. In India, Sister Sujita said the nuns’ primary concerns are education, health, and direct involvement with the poor.

“The religious order educates more than 21,000 children in India, most of whom are in rural areas and otherwise would not get an education. In the beginning, the nuns gathered the children under a tree and students wrote in the sand because there were no school supplies.

“She helped the Sisters of Notre Dame establish micro-loan programs for women in the ghetto, helping to empower these people and helping them live with dignity as they develop small businesses.

” ‘I used to imagine Jesus among them and that really opened my eyes how to relate to them. It was always a tremendous help for me,’ she said. ‘I could not always preach about Jesus but I could always be like him. Nobody could prevent that. That is where I learned more and more to be like Christ’.

“The nun said that living with no material possessions is liberating. ‘It gives you freedom. I feel very free when I have less. So my motto is: ‘Be more and have less’.”

(Photo of Sister Sujita above courtesy THE BLADE/HERRAL LONG)

Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.

1 Comment

  1. Swaraaj,

    Thank you for exposing us to this wonderful soul.

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