23/06/2015 10:58 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa's Successor, Dies At 81

Sister Nirmala, successor to Mother Teresa, lights a candle as he is joined by fellow nuns and volunteers of the Missionaries of Charity to celebrate the 97th birth anniversary of Mother Teresa at the Mother House at the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, 26 August 2007. Hundreds of nuns of the house with a number of volunteers took part in the morning service to mark the day. Mother Teresa was born 26 August, 1910 in what is now Skopje, Macedonia. AFP PHOTO/Deshakalyan CHOWDHURY (Photo credit should read DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

Sister Nirmala, who succeeded Mother Teresa as the head of the Missionaries of Charity died this morning in Kolkata. She was 81.

The Missionaries of Charity was founded in 1950 by the Nobel laureate in Kolkata.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tributes to her on Twitter.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "Saddened at the passing of Sister Nirmala who headed Missionaries of Charity after Mother Teresa. Kolkata and the world will miss her."

Sister Nirmala had headed the Missionaries of Charity since Mother Teresa's death in 1997 up until 2009.

She was born Nirmala Joshi in 1934 in Ranchi, Bihar (now capital of Jharkhand state). During her education at the Christian missionaries in Patna, Joshi learned of Mother Teresa's work and wanted to assist her.

She had a Master's degree in Political Science and additional training as a lawyer. She was one of the first Sisters of the institute to head a foreign mission when she went to Panama.

In 2009, the government of India bestowed the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, on Sister Nirmala during Republic Day (January 26).

Sister Nirmala's term as Superior General ended on March 25, 2009, and she was succeeded by German-born Sister Mary Prema Pierick, M.C.

Following the news of her death, social media poured with tributes.

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