Sister Marianne Stoger, 82, and Sister Margaritha Pissarek, 81, worked for 40 years collecting money and donations to buy medical equipment and medicines for leprosy patients on the remote South Korean island of Sorok.
According to Global Sisters Report, the two elderly nuns returned home to Austria in 2005 when health reasons prevent them from carrying on the work.
Now they have been awarded the prestigious Korean Manhae Award for Social Work and recommended for the Nobel Peace Prize by Goheung County Office in South Korea.
In August, a delegation from the Austrian Catholic Women's Association traveled to Korea to receive the Manhae Award for them.
“The two sisters now have veritable cult status in Korea,” Austrian Catholic Women's Association chairwoman Eva Oberhauser told Kathpress, comparing the sisters to Mother Teresa.
After graduating from nursing school in Innsbruck, Stoger and Pissarek moved to South Korea in 1962 and 1966, respectively, to care for leprosy patients.
Now their homes and the few personal possessions they left behind on Sorok will become official cultural heritage items, and a memorial hall will be built for them.
Earlier this year the two nuns were also granted honorary Korean citizenship for their decades long devotion to people with leprosy.
It was only the second time the honorary citizenship, which is given to foreigners who contribute to boosting Korea’s national prestige or promoting national interests, has been given out.