An Italian missionary nun who has helped people with leprosy for over four decades in India has been denied a visa and must leave the country. The visa of Missionary Sister Bertilla Capra of the Immaculate, associated with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), expired in November and she has since been denied a renewal. Sister Capra is the director of the Vimala Dermatological Center, which is involved in the rehabilitation of leprosy patients in Mumbai, and she has never had visa problems before. "If I do not get the visa, I will have no choice but to leave," she told UCANEWS. Officials told Sister Capra that the visa application format has changed and she will need to apply using the new format.
Since first arriving in India in 1970, Sister Capra had to only apply for a visa renewal every five years up until 2010. After that, rule changes meant she needed to renew her visa annually. Sister Capra said she got the message to leave the country twice: once in November, then again in December.
Bombay Archdiocese spokesman, Father Nigel Barret, told UCANEWS that Sister Capra does not have enough time to file all the papers. "This is not a direct deportation but it is being done very indirectly," he said. Sister Capra added that nuns from her congregation in New Delhi are trying to meet with officials to try and resolve the issue. (Source: UCAN)