Celebrating the life and work of Sister Nivedita

Indian Swami pictured during a visit with Chair Cllr Sean McPeake.
Indian Swami pictured during a visit with Chair Cllr Sean McPeake.

An Indian Swamis has visit Hill of the O’Neill and Ranfurly house to celebrate the life and work of Sister Nivedita.

Margaret Elizabeth Noble, who became Sister Nivedita, was born in Dunganon in 1867, after spending her early years living with her grandmother in the town she relocated to England to be with her family.

Margaret went to India in 1897 and became a member of the Ramakrishna Order, it was then that she was given the name Nivedita, meaning The Dedicated One.

In India, Sister Nivedita threw herself into Indian culture, serving the Indian people and living the Hindu religion.

She won over the hearts of Indian people with her self-giving and devotion to their plight of Indian people particularly helping the cause of women and the poor.

She was a pioneer in girls’ education and provided health services even playing a pivotal roll during the plague epidemic in Calcutta. She nursed and took care of poor patients and helped in clearing rubbish from the streets. She also inspired and motivated youths to render voluntary services.

However during the plague outbreak in Calcutta in 1899 and the great East Bengal famine of 1906 she risked her own life to treat patients and after treating people during the famine, she contracted a severe form of malaria that eventually took her life. She died in Darjeeling on 13 October 1911 at the age of 44.

To honour such an amazing local lady and mark the 150th anniversary year of her birth, the Indian Swamis and dignitaries visited the Hill of The O’Neill and Ranfurly House as part of a two day trip.

Welcoming the Indian visitors to Dungannon, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr Sean McPeake said: “It is with great pride that we remember Sister Nivedita here today in her birth town as the 150th anniversary year of her birth draws to a close, and we are especially delighted today to join you in celebrating the inauguration of the Eire Vedanta Society as a new branch centre of the worldwide Ramakrishna Math.

“I am honoured that we are able to do so with religious leaders and dignitaries all the way from Dublin, Singapore and of course, India, a country which she knew and loved so much.”

A number of dignitaries from India attended the celebration including Swami Bodhasarananda Ass, Gen. Secretary Ramakrishna Math and Mission Belur Math Kolkatta India, Swami Vimokshananda Minister in Charge Ramakrishna Mission Singapore, Swami Sarvasthananda Minister in Charge Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre U.K., Swami Purnananda Spiritual Director of Éire Vedanta Society and Proj and Mrs Anita San.

The Indian Swamis and other dignitaries also visited Dungannon Library, the Sister Nivedita Blue Plaque which was unveiled in 2011 and enjoyed a guided tour of Hill of The O’Neill and Ranfurly House.

The centre showcases a terracotta statue which was donated to Dungannon in 2016 by Sister Nivedita’s grandniece.

* Back in October, the Ramakrishna Mission, held their own 150th birth anniversary celebrations for Sister Nivedita.