Sister Veronica Vuantei, 53 years old, has embraced a triple vocation: religious sister, nurse, and midwife. A member of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians, she tirelessly bears witness to the love of Christ through service to her neighbor at a health center in the village of Sohklong, in the Indian state of Meghalaya.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Sister Veronica Vuantei has made these words of Christ (Jn 10:10) the cornerstone of her life.
Originally from Aizawl, a town in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, she finished her nursing studies in 2000—training and knowledge she now uses to help the poor in remote towns, reports the Indian daily The Shillong Times. She currently works at a health center in the village of Sohklong, in the state of Meghalaya, where she practices her nursing profession, especially as a midwife. The center has 11 beds, including a one-bed delivery room.
“A nurse is one who opens the eyes of a newborn and gently closes the eyes of a dying man,” she told Shillong Times reporter Lamphrang Nongspung. “It is indeed a high blessing to be the first and last to witness the beginning and end of life.”
When pregnant women come to her, she never asks their age; she only asks if they have their parents or husband with them. “I never ask for their age since some of them are under the age of 18 years. These young pregnant mothers are afraid to go to the CHC [community health center] because they will have to reveal their age there,” she told Nongspung.
The situation of women in India, especially pregnant women, remains extremely precarious. In addition to rape and sexual violence, of which women are regularly victims, there is also the problem of “selective” abortions to avoid having a girl.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and its report on the state of the world population in 2020, from 2013 to 2017 India averaged 461,500 “missing female births” per year, and is now missing 45.8 million women in its population.