In 2018, the Mother of Divine Love Province of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters in India ventured into another step ahead in opening a new mission in the State of Tripura. In response to the invitation from the Holy Cross Fathers, the three missionaries namely: Sr. Sharmila Pinto, Sr. Punam Tete and Sr. Ranjita Kujur started their humble beginning in the diocese of Agartala.
Tripura is a state in northeastern India. The third-smallest state in the country, it covers 10,491 km and is bordered by Bangladesh to the north, south, and west, and Assam, Mizoram to the east. The population is a mixture of the ethnic groups of indigenous Tripuri and Bangladesh people. Though there are several ethnic group languages, widely spoken are Bengali and Kokborok. Tripura lies in a geographically disadvantageous location in India and only one major highway connects it with the rest of the country. The easiest and fastest mode of travelling is the airplane. Therefore poor people have little opportunity to go out of the state. The state has a tropical climate, and receives seasonal heavy rains. Forests cover more than half of the area, in which bamboo tracts are common. Due to its geographical isolation, economic progress in the state is hindered. Poverty and unemployment continue to plague Tripura, which has a limited infrastructure. Most residents are involved in agriculture and allied activities.
Hinduism is the major religion in the state. Through the Jesuit and Holy Cross missionaries the Catholic faith has been practiced from 1856 but only in 1937 missionaries took permanent stay in the villages of Tripura. Now only about 50,000 Catholics live in the whole State. Through the efforts of the Holy Cross missionaries, Tripura is one of the most literate states in India. Until today the religious missionaries serve the population through the educational ministry which provides easy approach for the evangelization.
Our Sisters in collaboration with the Holy Cross Fathers live in a village called Twichakma, which is 70km away from the town and 35km from the parish Church in Moharpara. They supervise and teach in the primary school which belongs to the HC Fathers and stay in the same premises in a small temporarily built house. Once in a week the Holy Mass is celebrated in the convent chapel and sisters accompany the priest to 15 villages for the Holy Mass, house blessings and other religious activities. They also are involved in the pastoral activities by teaching catechism for the first Holy Communion of children and prepare adults for Baptism. In the absence of a priest, with the help of the catechist the Sisters organize prayers and communion services in different villages. It is a challenging mission because people live in low poverty level and villages are in the dense forest.
Since the children have to walk many miles to reach the school, in order to help them and for their security a simple hostel is constructed near to the house of the Sisters. At the moment there are 32 girls and boys living in this hostel.
During the visit to India, Sr. Izabela Świerad, Superior General and Sr. Josephina D’ Souza, Vicar General also visited this new mission. We were very impressed to see the involvement of the priests and sisters in the work of the evangelization. We also visited Bishop Lumen Monteiro CSC, various apostolates of the Holy Cross Fathers, school and villages where our sisters do their ministry.
We entrust this challenging but beautiful mission into the hands of Mother of Divine Love, the patroness of the Province. May the Holy Spirit grant our Sisters and all missionaries there, courage to proclaim the newness of the Gospel in the land of Tripura.
For every prayer and donation you wish to send to support this mission, we say thank you.