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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Indian orphans pray for Jade Goody
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 The news of Jade Goody's death on Mother's Day has caused particular sadness in one children's home in India. The reality TV star has supported the home in Itarsi, a tiny town in Madhya Pradesh state, for more than a year.

"We have been praying for her recovery until we got the news about her death," said Gabbu Shankar Mehra, 12, a resident of the Jeevodaya home run by Catholic nuns. "I felt like crying when I saw the newsflash," he said.

Soon after the news broke, the children observed two minutes of silence and placed flowers before a portrait of the 27-year-old mother of two. They then lit candles before the portrait during a special 20-minute prayer service for the repose of their sponsor's soul.

"She helped us to lead a decent life and now she has become dear to God. We are happy for all that she has done for us, " said Mehra.

The children will continue to pray for Goody's soul and for her family members. "This is the only thing we can do for her." He added that the celebrity's life inspired him "to do something" for other children "who have no one to take care" of them.

Like other residents, Mehra was found abandoned at Itarsi railway station by Sister Clara Joseph, who brought him to the Jeevodaya (raising life) house she founded in 1999.

Sisters of Saint Joseph Chambery run the house under the archdiocese of Bhopal. Sister Joseph said Goody's death "deeply saddened" her.

Goody had an unhappy childhood in a poor south London neighborhood. Her father was a heroin addict who went to prison for robbery before his death. Her mother was a former crack addict who was disabled in a motorcycle accident.

The former dental nurse shot to fame in a 2002 British television reality show. Six years later, she came to India for another reality show but withdrew from it early because of her illness and was soon hospitalized.

Goody "touched the lives of several destitute children," Sister Joseph said. She added that the sisters plans to launch a movement for children living on railway platforms across India in Goody's name. "In her short life, Jade Goody has helped many children."

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