Christians dedicate a new church in memory of Golden Mother-Sister Ida

Christians dedicate a new church in memory of Golden MotherThe villagers in Chainatalanarva, Andhra Pradesh, India, now have a church of their own where they can pray, "Legacy of a true missionary who was taken from Italy and planted in Vegavaram to produce fruits of love and charity in the name of Jesus," said Fr Almaraj, Jesuit provincial in the Indian state, as he spoke about Sister Ida Moiana, a missionary of the Immaculate who spent 63 years in India, devoted to children and people suffering from leprosy.

Sister Ida Moiana

In honour of Sister Ida Moiana, who died at the age of 97 in 2011, the community built a church, which opened on July 26, feast day of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim, to whom the church is dedicated. The date also coincides with the 100th anniversary of Sister Ida’s birth. She was part of the first group of Missionaries of the Immaculate (six in all) who arrived in India on October 02, 1948 to start the mission.
As a congregation affiliated with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), the nuns were sent to the village of Gudivada (Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, India) to help the missionaries already present, focusing in particular on the treatment and care of the sick.
At the time, the area was in the grip of constant floods, famine and cholera. At Amalapuram and Gudivada, there were no medical facilities and initially the missionaries were working from two rooms with a thatched roof, one for pregnant women and the other that operated as a dispensary and surgery. After opening many health centres and hospitals in several villages, Sister Ida was called to lead a leper colony in Vegavaram, where she stayed until her death. Here, she took care of sick children, many of whom orphaned, earning her the nickname "the golden mother."
One of those kids was Fr Raju, Sister Ida's "adoptive" son, whom she raised in the leper house. The diocese of Vijayawada appointed him pastor of the new church in Chaintalanarva. "I worked day and night," Fr Raju said on opening day, "to fulfil this wish in memory of my adoptive mother."
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