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Updated: February 17, 2000 05:00 PM GMT
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Bangladeshi Catholics recently celebrated the death anniversary of their first martyr, Missionaries of Charity Sister Mary Sueva.

Sister Sueva was shot dead by rebels on January 22, 1999, in the western African country of Sierra Leone where she served as a missioner.

"We are proud of the sacrifice of Sister Sueva," said Bishop Francis A. Gomes of Mymensingh during the commemoration Mass in Madhabur, the late missioner´s home village, some 200 kilometers northwest of Dhaka.

The Mass was held at the local church where a picture of the martyr is enshrined at an altar decorated with blue-edged white cloth, which symbolize the Missionaries of Charity habit.

During the Mass Bishop Gomes introduced Jalomee Magdalena Ashacra, the mother of Sister Sueva. He said that the country needs more mothers like her who raise sons and daughters to witness to Christ.

"I hope this will be an example to inspire youth to sacrifice their lives for a great purpose," Bishop Gomes added.

After Mass the attendees made a procession to the home of Sister Sueva.

A book on the life of Sister Sueva, titled "Neelpori" (blue sky) has been published. Montu Angelo, a theology student, lauded the publication, saying that it would help local people understand that foreign missioners really work for the people of the country they serve.

Angelo told UCA News that there are now about 100 Bangladeshi missioners worldwide. About 90 of them are Missionaries of Charity sisters, he said.

Sister Sueva was born Jan. 6, 1956. She joined the Missionaries of Charity in 1980 and worked as a missioner in Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Yugoslavia.


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