Ortega’s government orders dissolution of Mother Teresa’s order

Missionaries of Charity in Nicaragua

The Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta is being ordered to close in Nicaragua.

Dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor, the Missionaries of Charity are among 101 non-governmental organisations the legislator wants to close.

Some of the other Catholic NGOs in for the chop include the Catholic Foundation for Human Development Assistance for Nicaraguans, the Spirituality Foundation for Children of Nicaragua, the My Childhood Mothers Foundation and the Diriomito Children’s Care Home Association.

Filiberto Rodríguez has prepared an order to shut down the NGO. He presented the order in a June 22 letter to the country’s legislature.

The text, which includes several allegations against NGOs, could be debated by the National Assembly in the coming days. It alleges for example that the Missionaries of Charity order “has failed to comply with its obligations”.

These obligations are set out in legislation regulating nonprofit organisations, money-laundering, financing terrorism and financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

According to Daniel Ortega’s government, the Missionaries of Charity in Nicaragua are not accredited “by the Ministry for the Family to function as a nursery-centre for childhood development, a home for girls and a home for the elderly.”

Neither “do they have an operating permit from the Ministry of Education to provide remedial education for students”.

Furthermore, their “financial statements reported to the Ministry of the Interior don’t agree” with other documents presented for review.

The Missionaries of Charity Association in Nicaragua was opened in the late 1980s.

They work with a range of people in need. In the city of Granada, for instance, they take in abandoned adolescents and victims of abuse. Besides providing spiritual and psychological help, minors receive regular classes in music, theatre, sewing, beauty and other trades.

In the capital, Managua, the sisters run a nursing home providing the elderly with food, clothing and other care.

The Missionaries of Charity also provide remedial education for minors at risk and run a nursery for poor children. These children are mostly children of single mothers and street vendors.

While the National Assembly still has to approve the order to close, Ortega’s political party holds 75 out of the 90 seats. Approval is expected.

Managua Auxiliary Bishop Silvio José Báez, who has been living in exile at the request of Pope Francis since April 2019 due to numerous death threats, deplored the situation.

He wrote on Twitter from Miami: “It makes me very sad that the dictatorship has forced the Missionaries of Charity of Teresa of Calcutta to leave the country. Nothing justifies depriving the poor of charitable care.”

During the past four years, the Catholic Church in Nicaragua has been the target of 190 attacks and desecrations. These include a fire in the Managua Cathedral as well as police harassment and persecution of bishops and priests.


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