Hundreds attended an Indian nun’s funeral who died in a road accident. She was 80.
Sister Paul Vincent, a member of Daughters of St. Anne of Calcutta died on March 27 in a remote area in West Bengal state. The funeral was on March 28.
After the Sunday Mass, she was returning home to St. Anne’s Convent compound, Kamarchowki, which is in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district, some 135 km southwest of Kolkata, the state capital.
As reported she was hit by a motorcyclist from behind. She fell and had severe injuries. Immediately she was rushed to the hospice in Keshiary, a place in the Kharagpur subdivision of the Paschim Medinipur district. The nun died in the hospice.
Sister Paul hailed from Bangladesh, her original home at Molasikanda. Her parents were deeply religious. Her elder sister Late Sister Florence joined Missionaries of Charity in the early 1950s when Mother Teresa looked for vocations from St Teresa’s Parish. This parish gave many vocations to various congregations.
Sister Paul joined the Daughters of St Anne congregation. At the time of joining religious life, the Congregation was under the patronage of the Loreto Sisters.
In 1968, the Daughters of St Anne Congregation began to function independently. Late Sister Margaret Mary was elected the Superior General. During those years of the 1960s and 1970s, the Congregation was blessed with vocations from the grassroots parishes, from Kolkata city and South 24 Parganas, present Baruipur Diocese of West Bengal state.
Sister Paul inherited deeper faith from her family background. Seeing her elder sister joining Missionaries of Charity, she too opted to be a nun in the Daughters of St Anne.
She felt that her vocation was to teach basic catechism to the children, prepare them for first Holy Communion and Confirmation. This way she spent most of her time in ministry in rural parishes.
For the last 25 years, she lived in St Paul the Apostle Parish, Kamarchowki, and helped the clergy in all faith formation and catechetical training programs.
Being a Bengali missionary among the Santhal indigenous communities, she remained a shining witness to Jesus and His mission to preach the Good News.
In the 1970s when Morning Star Regional Seminary at Barrackpore, near Calcutta, was in its infancy, Sister Paul looked after the kitchen and organized the catering department very well.
She was sensitive to the needs of priests and all the seminarians. She showed special care to the sick and infirm. She was truly a mother to all and ‘Martha’ to the community of Morning Star.
With this tragic loss of Sister Paul, the Church has lost huge support for the cause of evangelization and witness to Christ in the most challenging times. May her soul rest in peace!
(The author is a priest of the Archdiocese of Calcutta.)
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