Mother Teresa's Sisters Hoping for a Home in China

Awaiting Permission From Beijing

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ROME, OCT. 5, 2005 ( Blessed Mother Teresa’s religious sisters have written a letter to the Beijing government for permission to open a home in China, says the superior of the Missionaries of Charity.

The Missionaries of Charity would be the first international Catholic congregation, since the times of Mao Zedong, to officially establish a location in the People’s Republic.

Significantly, it was the government of China which asked to the Sisters to go to China.

«They asked us to go; for our part, we are glad to go,» Sister Nirmala Joshi, the superior, told AsiaNews.

The superior who succeeded Mother Teresa at the helm of the Sisters of Charity said that they were contacted last April by a government official who suggested that they open a home in China.

Beijing was still smarting at the time from the poor figure it cut for being absent from Pope John Paul II’s funeral, according to AsiaNews.

Sister Nirmala thinks that, in making this suggestion, China wished to «take a step towards opening diplomatic relations with the Vatican.»

When Benedict XVI heard of the news, he encouraged the religious to accept the invitation and to visit China.

In mid-July, Sister Nirmala went to China to look into the possibility of opening a home. On July 16, accompanied by two women religious and a priest, Sister Nirmala visited Qingdao, at the invitation of the government and local Bishop Joseph Li Mingshu.

The Sisters made plans to open a home for the elderly. On the bishop’s advice, Sister Nirmala wrote a letter to the Chinese government and has been waiting for a reply ever since.

She told AsiaNews: «Pray for us, that we may be able to go to China and serve those who are most abandoned.»

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