Being a widow in Bangladesh is a curse no matter what religion the woman follows, a recent seminar for Catholic widows revealed. Sandhya Rozario, 55, has been living a nightmare over the past three decades. “I was twenty three when my husband died. After that I was seriously mistreated by my in-laws who eventually deprived me of my husband’s property,” said Rozario, who has relied on making handicrafts since. Society doesn’t value her, she lamented. There are many widows like Rozario across the country who form what is a forgotten and downtrodden section of society. However, the Holy Cross Congregation, the largest religious order in Bangladesh, has heard their cries and aims to bring some solace to their life of isolation and despair. The seminar at the Holy Cross Center in Bhadun near Dhaka brought together 43 Catholic widows from across Bangladesh to help them overcome their problems. During the June 11-12 program they attended classes aimed at giving them more inner strength and life sharing sessions to learn how to overcome obstacles in life “I became a widow after seven years of marriage,” said 32-year-old Golapi Costa “At work I’m looked down upon, especially so by some male co-workers. This gathering has helped me learn how I can overcome challenges and live a good life.” She said the seminar has made her realize she’s not the only one and that there are other women who have suffered more than she has. American Father Frank Quinlivan, the Holy Cross Fathers’ provincial in Bangladesh said that they wanted to give moral support for windows. He hoped the seminar would help change attitudes towards widows. Center director Holy Cross Father Anal Terence Costa said the congregation aims to follow this seminar up by organizing similar events twice a year.