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Sister Nirmala

Sister Nirmala

      Sister Nirmal, age 63, is Mother Teresa's successor as Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity. Born in Ranchi in 1934 to a Brahmin soldier who came from Nepal, Nirmala Joshi joined the order at the age of 17, after converting from Hinduism. Her sister, too, embraced Christianity and became a Carmelite nun. After joining the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Nirmala studied law at the insistence of Mother Teresa, who often took her along during her tours abroad. The Mother's confidence in her abilities was evident when she asked Sister Nirmala to open their homes in Panama, New York and Kathmandu.

     She is a modest woman, and when she succeeded Mother she quietly said, "Mother Teresa can never be replaced. She is gifted with rare charisma that can never be acquired in one's lifetime." Sister Nirmal is not without her own strengths as well, however. As spiritual adviser Father le Joly said, "In her, Mother found signs of energy, dedication, and charisma."  When journalists once asked Mother Teresa what made Sister Nirmala so exceptional, she replied, "She is a Missionary of Charity".

Excerpts from an interview with Sister Nirmala upon her succession:

Commenting on her relationship with Mother Teresa:

I am her child.

How does it feel to step into Mothers shoes ?

I do not feel like the head of the Mission. Mother is till the head and we are all equals in the eyes of the Lord.

How can you function without the charisma of Mother Teresa ?

I am not going to be another Mother Teresa. I am sister Nirmala in whom resides the spirit of God. I pray for the support of everyone in discharging my duties. The work will go on as usual, in the same way as it always has.

Why did you choose to convert yourself from a Hindu to join the Order ?

I felt that the Lord had called me. It happened one day when I was a college student at the Patna Women's College many years ago. My room-mate, a Hindu girl, was kneeling and praying. It was then that I heard the summons. Later, at 17, I came to Calcutta and joined the order.