Sister Marie-Régina awarded Officer de la Légion d’Honneur, 2 January 2012
Investiture ceremony for award of Officer of the Legion of Honour to Sister Marie-Régina.
2 January 2012
Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, bestowed the French award of Officer of the Legion of Honour on Sister Marie-Régina on 2 January 2012.
Sister Marie-Régina is an exceptional person known for her missionary work and actions of charity in South India.
- Mr Richier, Ambassador of France to India, pins the insigna of Officer of the Legion of Honour on Sister Marie-Régina.
The senior-most foreign mission Sister, Sister Marie-Régina Cazabon was born in Toulouse, France, in 1910, the same year as Mother Teresa. She was educated in a military school, which, she said, inspired her to engage in social service. A bank employee, she met Sister Dolores, founder of the Institute of Foreign Mission Sisters, who convinced her to join the order.
In 1946, Sister Marie-Régina was sent to Puducherry, where she studied Tamil, and was sent thereafter to Yercaud, near Salem, to work among coffee plantation workers. In 1957, she was called back to Puducherry, where she was trained to treat leprosy by Dr Hemerijckx, eminent Belgian leprosy specialist, and covered the suburbs of Puducherry to detect and care for leprosy patients at the dispensary.
In 1959, she opened her first care centre in Rawttakuppam with the State government’s help. The centre receives patients and, above all, covers the 300 surrounding villages. The centre’s work evolved over time and Sister Marie-Régina started rehabilitation programmes for leprosy patients and caring for patients suffering from other diseases such as tuberculosis and polio. She also initiated preventive actions by raising awareness, inculcating hygiene, educating adults, and helping create activities.
Since 2004, with the support of the Fondation Raoul Follereau (http://www.raoul-follereau.org/), the centre has been participating in drilling and constructing wells in villages. The aim is to provide families access to hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases.
At 102 years, this emblematic and deeply respected Sister has helped treat more than thirty thousand leprosy patients in this region.