In Memoriam: Sister Subrata (1921-2018)

May 8, 2018

Sister Subrata   

Sister Subrata, a much-loved nun of Self-Realization Fellowship, peacefully passed away on April 23, 2018. A beloved friend and counselor to many monastics and lay disciples, her dedication to Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings and warm regard for people touched and inspired countless lives.

Born Eva Ingeborg Richter in Dresden, Germany, on March 29, 1921, as a young woman Sister Subrata lived in London and Egypt before moving to Uruguay to teach at a German school. It was during her time in South America that she was introduced to the SRF teachings by reading Autobiography of a Yogi. In 1960 she made her first visit to SRF’s International Headquarters in Los Angeles, where she met Sri Daya Mata (SRF’s president from 1955 until her passing in 2010) and enrolled for the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. The following year she entered the SRF monastic order.

During her nearly six decades as a renunciant in the ashrams of Paramahansa Yogananda, Sister Subrata served the SRF work in various ways, including assisting with the translation of Paramahansaji’s teachings, supervising the mailing of the SRF Lessons, and helping to counsel and guide young nuns of the order.

After residing at the SRF International Headquarters for almost twenty-five years, Sister Subrata was transferred to Front Royal, Virginia, to serve as administrator and minister-in-charge at the newly established SRF Greenfield Ashram and Retreat. In addition to nurturing the growth of this SRF location, she traveled to various cities in the eastern U.S., Europe, and Latin America to conduct inspirational programs on Paramahansaji’s teachings. Additionally, she presided at the dedication ceremonies for SRF centers in Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlanta, and Itter, Austria.

For nearly two decades, Sister Subrata was a pillar and leader of SRF’s annual summer program for girls, especially during its formative years when she oversaw the development of the program. A nun serving with Sister Subrata commented how loving, encouraging, and insightful she was with the girls: “She had a way of reaching them and turning them to Master and making them feel very supported. It was an inspiration to see how she worked with the girls and also reached out to the staff.” Sister Subrata often led the girls in kirtan chanting, and many were moved by the love and devotion that poured forth from her upon these occasions.

Sister Subrata was widely admired for her enthusiasm, inner strength, and deep insightfulness. After her passing, one SRF member wrote: “Sister Subrata’s counsel each year at Convocation was extremely meaningful to me. I never missed an opportunity to see her.... I knew in my soul her guidance was real and honest, and had come from God directly through Sister.”

Sister Subrata will be greatly missed, but we are consoled by our memories of her inspiring life and by the knowledge that she is now experiencing great joy and freedom in Spirit. We send her soul our abiding love and divine friendship.


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