Sr Sudha Varghese spoke on servanthood and doing selfless service for the poor during her speech at the AMC 2017 in Yangon.
Sr Sudha Varghese, a Roman Catholic nun and social activist who has been working for over two decades among the most downtrodden and oppressed Musahar community (rat eaters) in Bihar state of India shared her struggles as she was leading a life in servanthood.
Speaking on “Journeying Together: Mission as affirming the Servanthood” on the second day of the Asia Mission Conference, Sr Sudha, a 2006 recipient of India’s fourth highest civilian honour Padma Shri, narrated stories on how she stands and serves the poor and vulnerable as a selfless Christian.
For Sister Sudha, the foremost concern in her 32 years of service and work among the downtrodden in underdeveloped areas of the Bihar state has not been to preach Christianity among the Musahar people – a community of rat-eaters with no access to land or basic government welfare measures – but to make them fully human beings first by giving them the right to dignity, food, clothes, education, housing and so on.
Sr. Sudha says, she believes that preaching the word of God can come after they leave a situation where they are forced to live in an animal-like existence, but help them to live with human dignity.
As the head of Nari Gunjan, (Women’s Voice) a non governmental organisation that works towards uplifting women and educating girls of the Musahar community, Sr Sudha says she has lived many lives and died many deaths on account of death threats from the dominant upper castes who have been oppressing the vulnerable Musahars. Her life in deep faith in Christ has helped her not to show fear amidst adversities and threat to her life.
Sr Sudha had her calling to serve the poor at the young age of 16, and she has lived among the community in a mud-house, fighting their battles and uplifting and empowering them. Her testimony that “my life has been made meaningful,” was received with applause by more than 600 particiapnts who listened to her thematic address at the morning session.
She repeatedly vouched her testimony as she remembered the goodness, generosity and loyalty she has received in return from the recepients of her true Christian life and witness.
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