Brief news from Pakistan

The history of our congregation in Pakistan began in 1934.

Pakistan gained its independence in 1947 and became « The Islamic Republic of Pakistan ».  Thus, our sisters arrived on these lands long before this important political change.

Sr. M. Elvira Bonacorsi, O.P. Prioress of the Congregation “Domenicane di Santa Caterina da Siena”, accompanied by a group of Postulants, during the visit to their mission in Pakistan.

The Dominican father Benedict Cialeo, successively Bishop of Faisalabad, welcomed this first group of 6 sisters and he always took care of them. Since then, the life of the Congregation in Pakistan has developed a lot and today it is the province with the most vocations in the Congregation.

Sr. M. Elvira and Sr Romina Pietrangelo meet the new Provincial Government.

At present we have 14 communities in Pakistan which make up a province with a total of 77 sisters, all Pakistani since the last Italian sisters died a few years ago (84 Pakistani sisters in the whole congregation).

Sr. Romina e Sr. M. Elvira with a group of students

The apostolic activities to which they were particularly dedicated are education and pastoral care. But several sisters are nurses and work in the health sector. We operate in both Urdu and English, in 14 Catholic schools. However, they are open to students of all nationalities and religions without distinction. Thus, in addition to being cultural spaces, these schools are also places of formation in hospitality and mutual respect.

From December 26, 2019 to January 23, 2020, Sr. M. Romina Pietrangelo General Assistant and I went to Pakistan on the occasion of the Provincial Chapter and to meet with the sisters and young people in formation.

Sisters during the Workshop on Communication

We mainly stayed at the provincial house in Faisalabad, where the chapter was held, and we spent a few days in the novitiate house in Warispura (a suburb of Faisalabad).

While Sr. Romina was giving a seminar on communication for the young sisters, I should have gone to the community of Quetta, which I do not know. But due to heavy snow and concerns about international politics, I was not able to go.

A group of aspirants ready for prayer.

Like other times, it was a very strong experience of immersion in a unique world, where in the morning you are awakened by the invitation to prayer coming from the Muslim loudspeakers, where women rigorously wear the veil, where you are greeted with the traditional « Salâm » or « Salâm’aleïkoum », where you are never greeted without being offered a gift according to typically oriental kindness, where we see great poverty and great necessity in the streets, where we understand that life is not easy, neither from the point of view of work nor from the point of view of relationships, but where we also understand that there, despite everything, people move forward with strength, courage and determination, with the tenacious hope of a better future and with conviction in the values that everyone believes and professes. 

A warm welcome in the community that cares for sick children

Sr. M. Elvira Bonacorsi

Domenicane di S. Caterina da Siena

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