German Elected to Lead Missionaries of Charity
Mother Teresa's Successor Steps Down
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CALCUTTA, MARCH 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- German Sister Mary Prema was elected as superior-general of the Missionaries of Charity, the congregation founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
The Union of Catholic Asian News reported today that the election took place during the congregation's general chapter, which ended today in Calcutta.
Sister Mary Prema succeeds Sister Nirmala Joshi, who has headed the congregation since the founder's death in 1997.
Sister Nirmala was re-elected for the third time, but UCAN cited sources inside the congregation that revealed she requested to be relieved of her obligations for health reasons, and because she wanted to dedicate herself to a more contemplative life within the Missionaries of Charity.
Some 163 sisters voted at the general chapter, of whom 74 are of Indian origin and the rest are from other countries of the world.
The outgoing superior, Sister Nirmala, was invited to preach spiritual exercises to directors of Asia's diocesan Caritas chapters at a meeting planned for this September in Taipei, Taiwan.
The meeting is being organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the dicastery responsible for coordinating the charitable activities of the Catholic Church, which already convoked a similar meeting for Latin America in Guadalajara, Mexico, in June 2008.
Sources of the dicastery confirmed to ZENIT that Sister Nirmala has not declined this invitation, and will honor the commitment to preach the spiritual exercises, together with other prelates of the Asian continent.