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Rabi & Kiribati Nuns looking after Children at Lautoka Crippled School Hostel

FIJI TIMES ONLINEWednesday, May 20, 2009

Some of the children at the Lautoka Crippled School hostel whom the three nuns look after
THEY may not have grown up in the area, but three Catholic nuns mean the world to a group of disabled children in their adopted home.Though seas and miles away from home, the nuns of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, are both mother and father to 13 physically disabled children living in the hostel of the Lautoka Crippled School. The nuns are from Kiribati and Rabi. The children are from within the Lautoka area. On any given Sunday, they can be seen happily attending mass with the nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Lautoka.

For the nuns, it's part of their unpaid work to ensure the children know their creator. So escorting those children to church on Sunday is a must. The three women Sister Koreti Terimoa and Sister Touna Tirinteiti from Kiribati and Sister Etera Toaia from Rabi share a passion for helping disabled children. Sister Koreti said it was their calling.

The 42-year-old nun said she always dreamt of helping others while growing up on Maiana, Kiribati.
So when she was seconded to head the hostel in Lautoka, she didn't give it a second thought. There were no problems blending into the environment since this is her third overseas mission.

The first one was in Australia where she worked for two years and later on in Sudan. The Lautoka Hostel is home away from home for the three nuns as well as the 13 children. Her congregation took over from the Marist Sisters who ran the hostel for years. Sister Koreti said it was a blessing working with children.She said the children's special needs meant that there would always be a lot required from whoever was caring for them.

It is something that is borne silently in the service of others. And not something to be highlighted. "We are their mother and father, we do everything any parents would do for their children," she said.
Sister Koreti said the most rewarding part of their sacrifice would be seeing those children live independently.
"We are encouraging them to chase their dreams, we want them to be good citizens in the future,' she said.
She said that most encouraging part of their calling was to see those children live happily.
Sister Koreti believes their calling is to relay God's love to the children which she said they were fulfiling.

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