Sister of Charity of Nazareth Shalini D’Souza, the first Indian president of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, died Nov. 6 at Kurji Holy Family Hospital in Patna, India. She was 76 and served as a religious for 52 years.
Sister D’Souza, a native of Bombay, India, attended Nazareth College in Nazareth, Ky., and Spalding College (now Spalding University) in the 1960s. She served as a teacher, principal and formation director in Ohio and India.
Sister D’Souza’s passion, which she described in a 2005 story in The Record, was in her ministry with women working in the commercial sex trade. In the 1990s, she immersed herself in the lives of trafficking victims — living in the red light districts of India and Thailand.
“I saw the whole dehumanization of the women,” she said during an interview for that story. “As a congregation, our priority is women and children. And I saw women being sold as commodities.”
She worked with them directly for nearly a decade, helping them find health care and learn skills for better jobs. She worked to enroll their children in school — with mainstream society — to give them a chance at a better life.
She also accompanied the women wherever they went. She sat with them in brothels as their customers came and went and in the bars where tourists from the Middle East, Europe and the United States took part in the trade.
Sister D’Souza also helped establish the House of Hope to educate the children of sex workers.
In 1998, she was elected a vice president of the congregation and in 2003 she was elected president, roles that brought her to Nazareth, Ky. After her term ended in 2008, Sister D’Souza returned to India. She led retreats and started a new ministry to aid domestic workers and trafficking victims at the Catherine Spalding Centre in Ranchi, India.
A memorial service will be held today, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. St. Vincent Church in Nazareth, Ky., on the grounds of the SCN campus. The service will be streamed live at https://scnfamily.org/live. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Patna, India, on Nov. 9.