In loving memory…

Sister Mrinalini Goretti Rema, CSC

Sister Mrinalini Goretti Rema, CSC

The Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated September 25 at Holy Rosary Church, Tejgaon, Dhaka. Sister was buried in Bhadun in a small community plot. Her relatives, Holy Cross family and diocesan priests from the Dioceses of Dhaka and Mymensingh were able to participate in the various rituals.

Sister Mrinalini Goretti Rema, CSC

(Komeli Goretti Rema)

March 12, 1966 - September 25, 2019

Word has been received of the death of Sister Mrinalini Goretti Rema, CSC, who died at 12:40 a.m. on September 25, 2019, in Al Raji Hospital, Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Sister Mrinalini entered the Congregation from Netrakona, Bangladesh, on January 20, 1992. Her initial profession of vows took place on December 2, 1994. 

Please join us in prayer for Sister as we renew our faith in the resurrected Jesus and strengthen our hope that all the departed will be raised to eternal life.

A faded color photo shows a young woman of the matrilineal Garo tribe, the oldest daughter in a family of nine children, standing alone in a cultivated field in the hills of northern Bangladesh. The hibiscus bush behind her is taller than her diminutive figure. She is dressed in a simple blue and white sari. A crucifix hanging from her neck marks her as a Christian in a district where she is a religious minority among Muslims and Hindus. Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, where she was baptized and confirmed, is known by locals in Boroukuna, simply “the Catholic church.”

Sister Mrinalini Goretti Rema, CSC, a candidate for the Sisters of the Holy Cross, eventually made her initial profession of vows as a consecrated woman religious on December 2, 1994, having finished her training in Deepaneeta Novitiate, Savar, Dhaka. In May 2019, Sister Mrinalini celebrated her silver jubilee of perpetual profession with several other sisters at Holy Rosary Church in Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

On September 22, 2001, Sister Mrinalini committed herself to live her vows forever until death with God’s help. At the time, Sister M. Carmen (Davy), CSC, wrote, “Sister Mrinalini values prayer in her life. She loves life in Holy Cross and is ready to serve others in ministry, especially the poor. Her sincerity in approaching life witnesses to the fact that she is open to growth and transformation.”

Sister M. Rose Bernard (Tarleton), CSC, wrote that Sister Mrinalini’s cheerful smile and her friendliness would serve her well in ministry. Sister Marian Teresa (Gomes), CSC, described her as a young woman of deep and simple faith. “She is direct and has a joyful spirit. She is prayerful, lives community life joyfully and is very interested in her ministry,” having a deep desire to live as a religious woman.

Sister Mrinalini credited the inspiration to be a Catholic sister to her mother Veronica Rema, who herself had once had the desire to be a sister. Veronica was a widow when Mrinalini entered the convent.  Mrinalini’s father, Shodor Sylvester Nongura, was a farmer who died due to lack of access to good medical care in the village. Yet the family did not consider themselves terribly poor because they worked hard and prayed together. It was at Tejgaon College in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where Sister Mrinalini first met Sisters of the Holy Cross. “I saw the way they lived, and it touched my heart. I liked them very much and I wanted to join them. I believe God called me then to Holy Cross to do his work, especially for the poor.” It should be noted that two of her brothers are diocesan priests in the Diocese of Mymensingh.  Another brother trained as a master catechist.

Sister Mrinalini was involved in a variety of pastoral works in the villages and in parish life, such as family visiting, teaching children catechism in preparation for the sacraments, and moderating various groups like the Legion of Mary, Holy Childhood, and the St. Monica Society in such places as Noakhali, Jalchatra and Barisal. In Barisal, Sister completed her Bachelor of Arts at Barisal Government Women's College. She completed her theology diploma in 2001 at Jnanodaya Dharmaram in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

Her first years in ministry were “a combination of joy, pain and challenge” but were enough to convince her that “Jesus has given me a call to discipleship.” She spent most of her years in ministry at Corpus Christi Church in Jalchatra from 2001 to 2017, then was missioned to St. Anthony of Padua Church in Choto Bakshanagar. In June 2018, Sister Mrinalini took seriously ill and moved to Holy Cross Convent in Tejgaon, Dhaka, where her last year was devoted to a ministry of prayer.

Like the hibiscus flower or joba, which appears in many Bangla poems and songs, Sister Mrinalini was an ordinary flower, no different and no better, but beautiful and deeply rooted in the soil of her people. The Sisters of the Holy Cross, an international congregation, mourn the loss of this flower of Asia who died in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in the first hour of the new day, September 25. The Mass of Resurrection was celebrated at Holy Rosary Church, Tejgaon, Dhaka. Sister was buried in a small community plot. Her relatives, Holy Cross family and diocesan priests from the Dioceses of Dhaka and Mymensingh were able to participate in the various rituals.

We invite you to donate to the Ministry With the Poor Fund in Sister’s name.

Written by Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC