Nearly three decades after she met Mother Teresa,Sister M Prema was officially announced as the new Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity on Friday.
She took over from Sister Nirmala after the latter stepped down citing ill health. Sister Nirmala had been in the charge of the missionary since Mother Teresas death in 1997.
I am surprised by the election and have really not thought of plans for the next few years. Mother led the society in spirit given by God and Sister Nirmala followed her for 12 years in her own capacity and displayed sensitivity in building up the Missionaries of Charity. God will be my guide, she said in her first interactions with the mediapersons after the announcement was made.
During the interaction,she admitted that the institution is facing a crisis with very few youths coming forward to join the missionary.
Worldwide the number of youths wanting to join us has dwindled in the past 10 years. While Africa,the Philippines,America and Europe still have good groups,the numbers have decreased here in India, she said. According to her,the reason could be smaller families and lesser children that people are increasingly choosing to have.
On the issue of conversion attempted by various communities,she said everybody has a right to believe in their God. Mother Teresa understood that each person was born with great dignity and kept growing closer to God in a way that they understood. Conversion is Gods work and is not the work of any person, she added.
On canonisation of Mother Teresa,which is still pending,she said investigations into the miracles performed by Mother are still on,adding,God has predestined the canonisation and it will happen when he is ready.
Along with Sister Prema,four new counsellors were chosen that include Sister Joseph from Kerala,Sister Joanna from Delhi,Sister Adriana from Italy and Sister Joseph Maria from Austria.
The Missionaries of Charity has 766 houses across the globe,with 246 centres in India alone. Around 4,950 sisters work for the missionary.