Sister Amalia Pereda Ortiz de Zarate, known as Mother Teresa of Meghalaya, died in Meghalaya capital Shillong Friday morning. She was 85.
Born on 31 August 1927 to Daniel and Aurora Pereda Ortiz de Zarate in Spain, Sister Amalia joined the Missionaries of Christ Jesus in 1946. She came to India in April 1961 soon after completing her religious and academic formation in Spain.
Armed with a degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Valencia in Spain, Sister Amalia was one of the founders of Nazareth Hospital in Shillong, where she was the superintendent and surgeon for more than a decade.
Besides treating patients in Shillong, she was the doctor-in charge of one of the camps for refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan (Bangladesh later) from 1965 to 1977. After 1977, Sister
Amalia focused her attention on rural Meghalaya, covering countless villages with her mobile dispensaries.
A spinal injury and weak knees affected Sister Amalia’s humanitarian services a couple of years ago. In January this year, she caught pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. “Her death has left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill,” said Father VM Thomas, director of Guwahati-based Don Bosco Institute, a Catholic organization.
Sister Amalia mortal remains will be laid to rest at Shillong’s Laitumkhrah Catholic Cemetery on Tuesday.