Indian nuns working in Kyiv running short on food, but remain determined to continue

Sisters Rosela and Frida along with 3 other Sisters were caring for 37 homeless Ukrainians inside the packed storehouse

Aizawl: Two Missionaries of Charity nuns from the northeastern state of Mizoram who refused to leave Ukraine and remain in the war-torn nation's capital are safe with the homeless they are looking after but running short of food and unable to move out of their temporary shelter.

Sister Rosela Nuthangi (65), from Sihphir village, about 15 km north of Aizawl, and Sister Ann Frida (48) from Aizawl's Electric Veng locality along with three sisters from other nations are currently looking after 37 homeless Ukrainians and a student from Kerala in a storehouse (godown) in Kyiv and remain determined to continue with their work in Ukraine, their relatives here said.

Sylveen Zothansiami, niece of Rosela, told PTI that her aunt and Sister Frida were safe and sound but on the verge of a food shortage. She said that she managed to speak to them over the phone on Monday.

"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.

Sylveen said that Sisters Rosela and Frida along with 3 other Sisters were caring for 37 homeless Ukrainians inside the packed storehouse. Recently, they were joined by a student from Kerala, who managed to find shelter with them when Russia launched an intensive attack on the city.

Although Sister Rosela was earlier able to procure essential supplies secretly, the fear of shortages loom large as the war and bombings drag on, Sylveen said. “They are now eating economically … they are not sure they can continue getting supplies brought in by fathers from other missions,” she said.

She said that the advent of the student from Kerala has been a great help as they are able to make calls and talk to family using his mobile phone.

Sister Frida's brother Robert Lalhruaitluanga also said that her elder sister told them not to worry when they managed to communicate 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 told PTI.

Earlier, Sisters Rosela and Frida defied a request to move to a safer place and chose to stay on in a war-torn Ukraine risking their lives to continue serving refugees and injured people who had sheltered with them.

" We refused 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.

Sister Rosela joined the Missionaries of Charity in 1981 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 sisters, Sister Rosela has mastery over the Russian language and has worked in a number of former Soviet counties including Latvia and Estonia, before moving to Ukraine in 2013, Sylveen said.

She said that her aunt returned to their village only on two occasions in 2009 and 2015 since moving to the USSR.

Her last visit to Mizoram was 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 MoC in 1995 and after working in India for a few years, went as a missionary to several countries including Lithuania, Siberia and Armenia, according to Robert.

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

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