Indonesian nun dedicates life to making elderly people happy

Light of truth

Despite her advancing years and having to walk with the aid of a stick, she continues to help dozens of lonely elderly people from various religious backgrounds at a home she runs in Purwokerto, in Central Java.

Sister Indrawati of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph established the Panti Wreda Catur Nugraha home more than a decade ago to create some love and help elderly people abandoned by their families.

From just a few people, it now cares for 52 senior citizens from across Indonesia. Most were hardly able to look after themselves.

“The trauma of being rejected by their relatives is a heavy burden to carry through the last stages of their life,” Sister Indrawati said.

“All they need is love.”

She says it’s her mission to make them as happy as they can, even though to fulfill their daily needs, she has to knock on people’s doors for support.

“Other people have to help,” she said, saying she actively seeks donations and volunteers to come to the home to provide some of the residents some much-needed company.

Caring for people like them was a goal even before she became a nun, Sister Indrawati says. “Since joining my congregation in 1971, I have cared for marginalized people, particularly the elderly,” she said.

Prior to setting up the home, Sister Indrawati worked at several care homes run by the Soegijapranata Social Foundation, which was named after the first native-born Indonesian prelate, Jesuit Bishop Albert Soegijapranata.

This gave her invaluable experience in taking care of the elderly and knowing what makes them happy.

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