On November 15th, Sister Valsa John of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary was shot to death in an Indian coal mining town in the state of Jharkhand. The 53-year-old nun was buried from the cathedral in Dumka, where she was remembered for her fidelity to her mission, despite intense pressure from moneyed interests in the region:
Among the crowd that filled the cathedral, the brother, sister and two nephews of the nun, who for 20 years dedicated her life to the Santal tribal region. Bishop Julius Marandi of Dumka, told AsiaNews: "Her violent death was a terrible shock and a great loss to the Church. We seek justice, but while we mourn this loss, our mission for the poor, the weak and voiceless will continue, strengthened and renewed by the blood of Sister Valsa, who now intercedes for human rights, justice, dignity and hope of these people. "
Fr. Tom Kavala, SJ, who has worked for over 15 years with the nun, told AsiaNews: "Sister Valsa created a tribal organization to stop the expropriation of land sought by the powerful coal lobbies, including helping them to obtain compensation from companies. Six years ago, one of these lobbies e tried to buy out nine villages and Sister Valsa mobilized the local poor people. These coal barons lodged 33 complaints against her and her supporters, and many of them ended up in prison".
"Sister Valsa - said Mgr. Marandi - paid for her struggle for the poor and defenseless, against the interests of the powerful coal mafia with her life. The Church of Dumka and all Jharkhand pray that her martyrdom will renew the mission of the Church to be a witness of faith. "
Bless her for her courage and dedication to the people she loved. May she rest in peace and intercede for all who call upon her.