Sister Joseph Michael elected as fourth superior general of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata

KOLKATA: The sisters of Missionaries of Charity elected Sister Joseph Michael as the fourth superior general of the order that had been founded by Mother Teresa in 1950. Sister Joseph takes over from Sister Mary Prema who had taken over as head of the order in 2009 when Sister Nirmala Joshi stepped down citing poor health. Sister Prema, too, cited health reasons to be relieved of the responsibility.

Educated at Loreto Convent in Kolkata, Sister Joseph has been Mother Teresa’s secretary for years.

“She has been with the order for a long time and has held several key positions. The last one was general superior in Kerala. Now she will be based at the MC headquarters in Kolkata,” said MC spokesperson Sunita Kumar.

Sources in Missionaries of Charity said that member of the congregation from 110 countries had assembled in Kolkata and gone into a retreat to engage in prayers and elect the new head of the order.

Four others have been elected councillors – Sr Christie, Sr Cecil, Sr Marie Juan and Sr Patrick.

Sources said the sister will continue to be engaged in prayers till March 16 when they would emerge from the retreat and offer further details.

By several accounts, Sister Joseph will be the first Missionaries of Charity superior general who was born in India. Sister Joseph was born in Kerala, sources said. Sister Prema was born in Germany, and before her Sister Nirmala was born in Nepal.

“Sister Joseph has not only studied here, she has also worked extensively in Kolkata,” a person aware of the developments, said.

According to sources, in an internal mailer on Saturday night Sister Christie informed the stakeholders of the developments. Sources said in the mail it was informed that Sister M. Joseph MC was elected Superior General of the MC on March 12, 2022. Apart from naming her councillors, the contemplative branch was also announced. The councillors named are Sr Ancy, Sr Maryam Sleewa, Sr Bridgid and Sr Rafqa.

The mailer also thanked Sr Prema “for her dedicated and wholehearted self-giving to the Society over the last 13 years.” The mailer also thanked the councillors who had assisted Sr Prema during this period. The mailer also said, “We are in the Chapter for another week. Please pray for us.”

The appointments come on the heels of a controversy in January in which the ministry of home affairs first suspended and then restored the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of Missionaries of Charity.

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