54 years of selfless service of Sister Enedina in Odisha rewarded with expulsion from the country

Sister Enedina, 86 years old, belonging to the Daughters of Charity Congregation, left India on 20th August to Spain after the Indian government denied renewal of her visa on August 11.

Sister Enedina had come to Berhampur in Ganjam district in 1966 from Spain and after 5 years of social work there, she shifted to Aliganda village in Gajapati district of Odisha state to treat the people affected with TB which was rampant in the village.

Sister Enedina Costilla had a degree in medicine and surgery from Madrid Capital Medical College and she was engaged in serving the poor and needy by providing health care and other services from the last 5 decades. Her patients were mostly Dalits and Tribals from the surrounding villages that are mostly Maoist affected.

Apart from starting a dispensary, Sister Enedina also started four schools for the children. The services were provided for free of cost to the people and thousands of poor people benefited from these services.

Sister Enedina’s compassion for the poor and her dedication touched the lives of the people in the village who bid her a sad farewell when she departed from the village to go to Delhi from where she flew to Spain.

Like all law-abiding citizens sister Enedina used to renew her visa on time and never over stayed. But this time when she applied for renewal, the Ministry of External affairs refused to renew her visa and gave her 10 days’ time to leave the country.

She has applied online for the visa renewal and paid the fees but her application was rejected and no reason was given. It is alleged that Hindu groups had been demanding expulsion of foreign missionaries from India accusing them of converting the poor tribal and Dalit people into Christianity.

Not just the people even her long time colleagues and other missionaries across the country have expressed their sorrow at the departure of Sister Enedina who had rendered great service to the people.

Many even referred this act of expulsion of the nun to the fact that the overstay of several illegal immigrants in India who are allowed to stay on while a honest nun who contributed to the Indian society with her service has been asked to leave. They termed this as an unfortunate thing and a huge loss to the Odiya people.

The dispensary which she ran is now without a doctor and the other nuns are on the lookout for someone to take charge and run the hospital. Her patients are all distraught and heart broken. Sister Enedina held a place in the hearts of many a patient who saw a ‘mother’ in her.

She had learnt the local language and knew her every patient by name. Her departure from India has left a void in Berhampur. With no means of communication with Sister Enedina all that the people have are rich memories of Sister Enedina.

The Daughters of Charity, to which Sister Enedina belonged, was founded in France in 1633, serving people through hospitals, orphanages, old age homes and educational institutions. In India the Daughters of Charity arrived in 1940 and is working in 14 dioceses with 232 members of the congregation living in 42 houses.

Courtesy: Two Circle



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