Sister Albina Gomes of the “Maria Bambina Sisters” is a "shining star of evangelization" in northern Bangladesh's rural areas.
The 89-year-old nun of the Sisters of Charity of Sts. Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa has been working for many years among the poor and the needy, especially by educating children.
She shared that during her pastoral work she was able to prepare more than 5,000 people for the Sacrament of Baptism in three dioceses of Bangladesh.
"It's my inner joy and peace in life,” said the nun in an interview with Radio Veritas Asia.
She would visit villages riding a tricycle. "Do you know what happens? I fell down 14 times," she said in jest.
Sister Albina said she continues to suffer pain because of those accidents.
"I am still suffering this pain in my body, but these 14 falls I offered to Jesus's 14 Stations of the Cross," she said.
Sister Albina was born on Dec. 25, 1932, to Mr. Albin and Maria Costa and was baptized Maria. She adapted the name Albina after her father when she had her religious profession.
“I started my work out of pure love for God and the poor," she said, adding that her congregation "work with love and dedication" in "giving hope to the abandoned."
She said that even when she was young she dreamt of preaching the Good News to the poor and the marginalized.
She joined as a postulant of the Maria Bambina Sisters on Jan. 7, 1951, and later went to Krishnagar in India for her religious formation. She joined the novitiate on Jan. 6, 1952, and made her first profession on Jan. 6, 1953 in Kolkata.
After completing her Juniorate on March 25, 1960, she made her perpetual profession in Kolkata, India.
From 1953 to 1967, she served in the missions in Kolkata and Krishnagar. In 1967, she went back to Bangladesh to help in the mission, especially in teaching catechism.
From 1968 to 1971, during the war for independence in Bangladesh, the nun worked in Jessore as a teacher. She was later sent to St. Vincent Hospital in Dinajpur.
After the war in 1972, she was transferred to the Shimulia mission in the Diocese of Khulna as a school teacher.
In 1989, she was sent to the Mariampur mission in the Diocese of Dinajpur where she stayed until 2009.
Her work involved preparing people in villages for the Sacrament of Baptism. She also worked as a vocation promoter.
In 2009, she was transferred to the Sursunipara mission under the Diocese Rajshahi. - Nikhil Gomez / RVA News