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)