North India was a land predominantly occupied by Hindus – a land where people have not heard the wonders of The Gospel. Assessing this situation and urgent missionary need, the congregation sent Sr. Rani Maria to North India, where she worked as one of the first women missionaries. It was the knowledge that there are millions of people who have not even heard of Jesus Christ that led Sr. Rani Maria on the northern missions.

She soon understood that to appeal to the masses, she would have to master the language for efficient communication, for which she engaged in a Language Study Course at the Provincial House of Sisters of Notre Dame, Patna. After her language study Sr. Rani Maria arrived at St. Mary’s Convent in the diocese of Bijnor and was appointed as a teacher in St. Mary’s School, Bijnor, where she served as a teacher for two years and was simultaneously involved in missionary works for the village. She also did her higher studies in Sociology. Along with her studies, she continued her social ministry without any failure.

Although she spent only two years in Bijnor, she would reach out to every little child, every sick and weak person. “The Franciscan simplicity and cheerfulness of Sr.Rani captured the hearts and minds of all with whom she came in contact”, said Rev. Fr. Varghese Kottoor CMI, the then Parish Priest of Bijnor.

In 1983, Sr.Rani Maria was transferred to Odagady in the diocese of Satna and was appointed as the coordinator of the social activities. She worked to uplift the poor and downtrodden. She organized educational programs for the children, the young, and the aged. She educated the poor about their exploitation and enabled them to realize their rights and duties as citizens of India. She soon became the object of the displeasure of their oppressors, who looked upon her work to uplift the poor as attempts to convert them to Christianity. Her life was at times under threat which only made her more enthusiastic and zealous. Sr Rani Maria brought substantial changes in Odagady during her almost decade-long tenure through the developmental activities carried out with the cooperation of the people of the locality.

In 1992, Sr.Rani was transferred to Sneha Sadan, Udainagar. As an experienced Social worker, she made a thorough study of the villages and realized that the villagers had unconsciously fallen into the debt trap laid by the Baniyas (tradesman) of Udainagar. Through various conscientization programmes, Sr.Rani Maria made them aware of their rights and injustice perpetrated on them. Thus, the poor of Udainagar became active citizens and started to free themselves from the bondage to their heartless moneylenders. She would often approach the government officials for the sake of the poor, often only to meet with refusal and rejection. They even laughed at her interest for the uplift of low caste people but that never deterred her spirit.

Sr.Liza Rose who was then superior of Sneha Sadan Convent, Udainagar remarks: “Sr.Rani Maria mostly worked among the Adivasis and among those who were marginalized by the society. They loved her as a mother because this was for the first time that they saw a person, who shared their life, lived with them and acted in their favor. It was her nature not to run away from difficulties and oppositions.”

Eight days before her death, she confided to her Novice Mistress Late Sr. Infant Mary, the continuous death threats she was receiving. And she disclosed to her, “I would desire to die a martyr for the love of Jesus and for my poor downtrodden brethren.”

Sr Rani Maria drew upon the Franciscan Charisma, she dedicated herself totally to the oppressed and marginalized without ever hating their oppressors.




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