COVID crisis in India reaches Good Shepherd

COVID has reached challenging levels in India and Nepal. A mission partner in the Province of Central East India Nepal said, “When the pandemic first started, it was outside of our circle. Then as the number of cases escalated, it gradually came to our doorstep and now it has entered our homes.” 

As the COVID crisis in India reached Good Shepherd, the Sisters of the Province of Central East India Nepal mourned the loss of Sister Zita Oliveira and mission partner Suresh Kumar. Both succumbed to COVID.

The Sisters in the Province of South West India operate one of the oldest hospitals in Bangalore, St Martha’s Hospital, which is currently stretched to the limit with doctors and nurses attending to COVID patients at maximum capacity. 

St. Martha’s Hospital has dedicated 70% of the 350 beds available to COVOD cases. Sisters salute the medical teams and support staff, who they say remain awake 24/7 to attend to the distress calls and sick patients. 

There are Sisters, mission partners, their families, and students in both units in India who have also tested positive for COVID. 

Good Shepherd International Foundation assisting Indian government

The COVID crisis in Nepal is very grave with the public health system not able to cope with the rising cases. The Ministry of Health and Population has reached out to development partners like Good Shepherd International Foundation (GSIF) Nepal to help procure medical equipment and supplies.

We are seeing what we can do to assist the government.  All community-based program activities in India and Nepal have ceased for the time being.

We thank all in the Province of Mid-North America for their prayer support of India and Nepal during this time of crisis.

How you can help with the COVID crisis in India 

GSIF is raising funds to buy medical equipment in India and Nepal and everyone is invited to donate through the GSIF website  at

Battling for lives in Nagpur, India

Good Shepherd Sisters in Nagpur are fine at the moment, but life is very uncertain. People are living in fear and anxiety.

Nagpur top city for new cases of COVID

Nagpur in central India is badly affected by the record-breaking spike of COVID cases that are soaring practically every day. We have lost many lives in our Archdiocese including a few young Sisters and priests. The loss is insurmountable and yet we have no time to mourn. We must think of those who are battling for their lives.

Nagpur is a city in central India. It is the sub-capital of Maharashtra, which is the second largest state of India. Four cities with the highest number of fresh cases per million population over the last month are all in Maharashtra. Nagpur is at the top, followed by Nashik, Pune, and Mumbai.

Lack of vaccines adding to the COVID crisis in India

Production of Remdesivir, an antiviral medication that targets coronavirus, is slowed due to the lack of raw material coming from abroad. The Nagpur district did not receive Remdesivir injections in the month of April at all, causing the death toll to rise. The whole city has become a crematorium with dead bodies scattered around the city. There are more funeral pyres than there are people who can perform last rites.

There is an acute shortage of hospitals, beds, oxygen, ventilators, and vaccines, all of which add to the COVID crisis in India. There are roughly 2,000 Catholics within the city. Of that number, 110 Catholics died from COVID just last week. Ten of them were religious including our own Good Shepherd Sister Zita Oliveira (see related story on page 23).

People wait in huge lines outside the hospitals. Some of them die while standing in line while waiting for their number to be called. Once you are in the line, it takes a minimum of four days to get admitted into the hospital. And even if you get admitted, there are not enough beds or medical equipment to combat the sickness.

Long lines at hospitals contribute to the COVID crisis

In most cases, people get affected badly while waiting in lines. Their weakened conditions deteriorate and their oxygen saturation levels drop, resulting in multi-organ disorder and death. We are supporting the best we can the Diocese COVID Care Centre with essential medical needs and medicines.

The second-largest parish of Nagpur Archdiocese is also affected by the pandemic. The people of this parish are daily wage laborers, domestic workers, masons, and mostly unskilled people with low incomes. Every house in the parish is affected by COVID. People have no money to treat themselves, so their numbers are not disclosed.

The media is reporting a decline in COVID cases in Nagpur, but the fight is not over yet. We are struggling but also looking forward to being among the countries that have succeeded in eradicating COVID. All are willing to bring our lives back on track.

Please pray for us.

Sister Zita Oliveira’s brother has produced a beautiful tribute song to her on YouTube.

Read this story and others in the May-June issue of the province newsletter Items of Interest.

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website