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New nun makes history

Congregation of Jesus welcomes first Nepalese sister

Sister Sharma takes her vows (photo by Deepa Olikunnel) Sister Sharma takes her vows (photo by Deepa Olikunnel)
  • Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
  • Nepal
  • July 30, 2012
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Marina Sharma made history yesterday morning when she became the first Nepalese nun to join the country’s largest congregation of Catholic sisters, the Congregation of Jesus.

The 22-year-old took her vows at a simple eucharistic ceremony at St Mary’s School chapel in central Kathmandu as she joined the oldest congregation of nuns in the country, following their arrival in 1955.

In his sermon, Bishop Anthony Sharma – the first Nepalese Catholic Priest in Nepal – had a special message for the new sister’s family, all of them Hindus from Nepal’s highest Brahmin caste.

“In Nepalese culture, right after a girl marries, she leaves home for good to go and live in her husband’s home,” said the priest, who is not related to Sister Sharma. “But in your case she will remain your daughter forever.”

Initiation into a congregation of nuns remains a practice that is unfamiliar to the majority of people in this predominantly Hindu country. Howeve, several more women were scheduled to take their vows, said Regional Superior for the Congregation of Jesus, Sister Margaret Mary.

“The culture of really celebrating when someone from local families goes to become a nun, brother or priest will take time to develop,” she said.

Sister Sharma was taking her first religious vows alongside a young Indian woman from Tamil Nadu in India, Sister Josephine Rita.

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