The Nightingale of refuge


The soft glow in her eyes outshone that of a little child. Every breath that filled her bosom bore the painful cries of souls that needed a healing touch. Lines on her face caused by tears from countless prayers,  carved hills and valleys  through her skin, and added more beauty to her cherubic face. One of her hands caressed the disfigured face of a weeping child,  the other fed crumbs of food to a starving woman.She had sworn to follow Christ and to serve the underprivileged after having left home at a young age of 18. She was a teacher and a model of grace and compassion. Wearing her white cotton saree bordered with blue, she scanned through the forsaken streets of Calcutta, looking for  victims of the Bengal famine,  silenced souls that needed nourishment . The grace with which she spoke made it seem as though it was the Holy Spirit himself who spoke through her. In suffering and humility she tended and nurtured the weak in flesh and spirit.  Her gentle feet kissed the Earth as she tread the merciless ground. It was the very ground that couldn’t yield enough fruit for animals, let alone humans. Like a determined mother, she tended the wounded, she fed the hungry, she became a beacon of hope to all who sought comfort.  She not only provided nourishment to those who could be saved, but also gathered those who were dying , under her protective wings. Many of her sacrifices and painful toiling have never seen the light of day. It was too late by the time modern medical aids or the media could reach and witness the mother giving her all ;body ,mind and soul to those who found it physically impossible to even reach their arms out. Throughout her life she lived a life of simplicity and did what she could to share the abundant love that stemmed from her very core.  In the waning of her life spent in service, she met with a fall and suffered from respiratory problems simultaneously. She went through a heart surgery , but the doctors knew that it wouldn’t help her rapidly declining health condition.  Though she was a foreigner to the land, she represented the subtle purity in the beauty of an Indian woman.  Let’s carry this legacy of hers, to be selfless in service , giving our mind, body and soul to aid those who are less privileged .  Peace be with all.

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