Festival Day

Today the city shifted gears into festival mode for the annual Teej festival at the Pashupati Temple, a Hindhu temple to an avatar of Vishnu named Pashupati, or "Lord of the Creatures." On this day, women fast all day and wear red clothing as they pray for their husbands' prosperity and faithfulness, and that they will remain loving companions.

The main road around town passes by the Pashupati Temple and was closed to traffic. It was jammed with women in red and vendors selling religious goods and food (but not the women, of course. Funny how that works). A man came up to me and painted a red dot on my forehead (it brings good luck on day like this). Even though the women were earnestly fasting, there were no dour faces. Everyone joined in the festive spirit. I guess you throw a good party and many people come.

I wandered through the festival on my way to mass with the Missionaries of Charity (my three wheeled bus could not take me as far as it did on other days). The MC's have an orphanage and an old age home for the homeless here in town, and a larger old age home and school for poor children about a half hour from here. They also have a mobile clinic and family visiting, hospital visiting, sewing classes and many other activities.

There are 10 sisters here, 10 sisters for all of this work. But at the moment there are five men from Spain who took their three weeks vacation time to come here and volunteer, washing sheets and floors and toilets and whatever. And there are volunteers from Japan, England, and local Nepali who volunteer as well to help them with the work.

This is the miracle of the Missionaries of Charity. They take on this incredibally difficult work at the drop of a hat, caring for people that others actively ignore or despise. In doing this work of Jesus, they open up a space for others to join in, and others do. I guess you throw a good party and everyone comes.

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