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Indian Catholics mourn death of Salesian nun

11 febbraio 2011

Church people in northeastern India have mourned the death of Salesian Sister Margaret Greppi, a pioneer of girl child education in the region for more than seven decades.

“It is a great loss for the northeast region as she had spent nearly three quarters of a century here,” Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati told

Sister Greppi died on February 7 in Guwahati. She turned 99 on January 12.

The nun, a member of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians congregation, spread awareness about educating girls in the region. She worked as a catalyst for building various educational institutions all over the region, the Salesian archbishop said.

Sister Ivy D’Souza, who lived with Sister Greppi for 10 years, recalled her as an “authentic religious.”

“Though she practiced austerity, she was very large hearted, broadminded and generous,” said Sister D’Souza, Superior of Little Flower Convent in Kohima, capital of Nagaland state.

Sister Greppi was born in Partengo, Italy, in 1912 and joined the Salesian congregation in 1933 at the age of 21. She made her first profession in 1935 and arrived in India the following year.

Her brother Salesian Father Don Livio, who is in Italy, said she was the eldest of the siblings and was like a second mother to them.

Salesian Sister Teresa Puthenpurakel, Provincial Superior of Guwahati Province, said Sister Greppi spent her religious missionary life mostly among the people of northeastern region and courageously faced the hardships of beginning a mission.

Sister Greppi was the only surviving nun of the congregation who had come from overseas as a missionary.

Benedict Fernandez, who knew Sister Greppi for many years, said the Italian nun used to go from village to village on foot spreading awareness about child education.

From, by Lissy Maruthanakuzhy, Guwahati

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