Sister Shobka Rani Talari is not your average nun. Dressed in her simple grey habit, this smiling witness to the Gospel can be found travelling all over Northeast India on a motorcycle, helping people in need.
As a member of the Congregation of Divine Providence, Sister Shobka works in the mission of Chhaygaon, at the Archdiocese of Guwahati, in an impoverished region of North-eastern India, where missionaries have to travel long distances to help in areas that are both remote and abandoned.
Her mission location is one of extreme poverty where the presence of rich forestation contrasts sharply with the absence of medical services, electricity and primary education. Most of the people these young missionaries visit are illiterate and poor. To make matters more acute, adolescent marriages are common in the region. Newly married young couples struggle to maintain their own homes. At the same time, their parents grow old in abject misery, trying to keep their meagre plantations from the frequent ravages of elephants and other wild animals.
To help improve the plight of the inhabitants, the nuns from Sister Shobka’s congregation, and under her leadership, have established a small boarding school for the children from the local villages. In the little school of one hundred pupils, the ‘motorbike nun’ also teaches first aid and health care to eighty women. And because of her newly acquired means of transport, Sister Shobka can now go where ‘no nun has gone before’ and reach areas that were previously inaccessible on foot. It is in these remote places that the nuns try to convince parents to send their children to school and help them understand the benefits of education.
Of course, it is not common for a nun to travel on a motorcycle, but the leaders of the community realized that the work that she did was far more tiring than a young woman could endure, particularly if she has to walk between the villages. Additionally, the outbreak of Coronavirus has not made things any easier. That is why, the Superior General decided to put aside €930 from the donations of the faithful to buy a motorcycle for Sister Shobka Rani.
“Since Sister Rani received her motorcycle, she has visited twice as many places as before”, Lilly Urakadan, Superior General told ACN.
As a missionary, Sister Shobka’s primary task is to spread the Gospel among the people. Since they belong to different indigenous tribes, they all have their own religion with their own gods. It is through her brave efforts that the story of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed to the locals. Many now listen out attentively, not only for the sound of her approaching motorcycle, but more importantly, for the message of the Gospel that she brings with a smile.
Source, photo: ACN