Sister Shobka Rani Talari is not daunted by the poor roads that she often has to take into the jungle as she carries out her work for the mission in Chhaygaon, which is located in the Archdiocese of Guwahati in the impoverished north-eastern part of India. She is always on the go, day after day, visiting people living in remote villages.
Her help is urgently needed. In these villages, many of which are located deep in the jungle, there is no medical care, no electricity, and virtually no one can read and write. Poverty abounds, sanitary and hygienic conditions are poor, and families have a lot of problems to deal with.
Sister Shobka visits families and checks to see if any of the sick require treatment – such as 10-year-old Benedict Rabha, who fell out of a tree and had to be taken to hospital.
Her fellow Religious Sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Providence run a small boarding school to enable even those children living in remote villages go to school. She herself runs a village school with 100 pupils.
The Sister also works with 80 women to guide them in helping other women – by providing care during pregnancy and birth, supporting them in raising their children, and educating them about the dangers of alcohol abuse and tobacco use.
This assistance has become all the more necessary in the times of the pandemic.
However, pastoral care is most important of all. The Religious work closely with the Priest. In this region, the Church is still young and its members, who belong to various indigenous ethnic groups, have converted to Christianity from traditional tribal religions.
They are full of religious fervour and enthusiastically take part in Church life, but need someone to stand by them and encourage them along the way. In these remote villages, it is not possible to celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday and so the faithful meet to pray the rosary or for other prayers and devotions.
Without transport, the work of such a “touring Sister” is quite arduous. Also precious time is taken up to arrive to these communities – time that could be dedicated to the pressing needs of these new Christians.
Thanks to the support of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the Order was finally able to purchase a moped. “Since Sister Shobka got the moped, she has been able to double the number of visits she makes to the villages,” her Mother Superior is pleased to report.
She adds: “We are extremely grateful for your generous help. You and all of the benefactors can be assured of our prayers. Please pray for us that we may always eagerly proclaim the kingdom of God through our words and deeds.”
With your kind support, ACN can continue to provide transport for Priests and Sisters who struggle to reach remote parts of the world in order to bring the Word of God to the faithful.