Mizoram nuns who refused to leave war-torn Ukraine are safe, says family
Sister Ann Frida (48), left, and Sister Rosela Nuthangi (65)

Aizawl: Two Missionaries of Charity (MC) nuns from Mizoram, who refused to return to India and vowed to stay in Ukraine with over 30 homeless Ukrainians amidst the full-scale military invasion by Russia, are safe and in good health inside their hideout in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, family sources said on Tuesday. 

Sister Rosela Nuthangi (65), who hails from Sihphir village, about 15 km north of Aizawl, and sister Ann Frida (48) from Aizawl’s Electric Veng locality are currently camping and taking refuge with 37 homeless Ukrainians, a student from Kerala and 3 other sisters from foreign countries, in a storehouse (godown) in Kyiv, the sources said.

Sylveen Zothansiami, niece of Rosela, said that her aunt and sister Frida were safe and sound but on the verge of a food shortage. She said that they contacted them over the phone on Monday. 

Sylveen said that sisters Rosela and Frida along with three other sisters are giving care to 37 homeless Ukrainians inside a packed godown. Recently, they were joined by a student from Kerala, who rushed to the MC’s home when Russia launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, she said.

“We are fine and still have food to eat as we hoarded them before. We can’t move outside and now hiding in a storehouse,” Sylveen quoted sister Rosela as saying. 

Although sister Rosela was managing to get essential supplies secretly, they could face shortage if the war continues and are now living on small bread in a day, Sylveen said.
She said that they are now happy as they could make phone calls and video calls to the two Mizo nuns frequently through the Keralian student, who possessed a mobile phone. 

Sister Frida’s brother Robert Lalhruaitluanga also said that his elder sister told them not to worry when they communicated with her on Monday. 

“My sister told us not to worry about them. They are happy despite the hardships they face because of the ongoing war,” he said.

Earlier, sisters Rosela and Frida defied the request to move to a safer place and chose to stay in a war-torn Ukraine, risking their lives to serve their inmates, the injured and those fleeing the war.

“We fear nothing because of God. We refuse to leave Ukraine because serving the needy and the homeless in all seasons is one of our primary commitments,” Robert quoted sister Frida as saying. 

According to Sylveen, sister Rosela joined the MC in 1981 and made her first religious profession in 1984. She became a complete nun after her final profession in 1990 and was sent to the former Soviet Union (USSR) as a missionary in 1991. She worked in Moscow for 10 years.

The sixth daughter of 8 siblings (all females) is known to be the second MC sister from Mizoram. Having mastered the Russian language, sister Rosela also worked in other foreign countries, including Latvia and Estonia, before she finally moved to Ukraine in 2013, Sylveen said.

She said that her aunt returned to their village only on two occasions (2009 and 2015) since moving to the USSR as the MC’s nuns could return to their homes every 10 years for a month-long holiday. She returned to Mizoram in 2015 on special permission to attend the ordination ceremony of her cousin, Father Alwyn Zothansanga, who died in 2020 due to COVID-19, she said. 

Sister Frida, who joined the MC in 1995, made her first religious profession in 1998 and final profession in 2004. She has 4 brothers and a sister. 

After working in India for a few years, she worked as a missionary in various foreign countries, including Lithuania, Siberia and Armenia, according to Robert.

The nun moved to Ukraine in 2019 and still serving there, Robert said. 

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