From the 1st to the 12th November, we, Sr. Monica and Sr Christine, visited the communities and the mission of the sisters of the Pakistan Region. The posters which had welcomed Mgr. Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of the peoples, who had come for the ordination of the new Bishop of Faisalabad Mgr Joseph Arshad, were still set up in the Cathedral of Lahore. On the 3rd November, Sr. Nadia celebrated her Final Vows in this same Cathedral. It was a beautiful celebration, presided by the auxiliary bishop of Lahore, Mgr Sebastian Francis Shaw ; all the sisters of the Region were present as well as the family, friends and youths from the parish.
During our visits in the communities we could witness how much our sisters are engaged with the poor. In the three schools where they are present, the number of students is on the increase and we have even noticed that the girls are slightly more numerous in the last class, namely the 10th class. They are still few in number, only 9-10 (in the past, co-education was only till the 5th class), but it’s already a progress. Learning for young women seems to us important more than ever, especially in a society where the young woman is rather destined to housework, while in the poor families, schooling for the girls is not necessarily considered a need.
These schools are located in poor areas and our sisters assure a listening service to the families and to youths on a daily basis .
We even visited the Centre called “Dar ul Krishma”, a centre for disabled persons where our sisters are present and offer care, tenderness and solace. Sr. Anna Maria from Malta, who knows the beginning of this centre many years ago, still works passionately.
From the 8th to the 10th November, the Regional Assembly was held. Sr. Hend, the Regional Superior, guided these days. The topic was the Diaconia of Charity, tackled from different points of view.
- Father Mary Anthony, a Jesuit priest from Sri Lanka spoke about social analysis. He analysed and evaluated a situation of poverty which could help us to act in a suitable manner later.
- Sr. Christine presented the Diaconia of Charity lived by Jeanne Antide
- Sr. Monica presented the Thouret Foundation, which has just been created in Rome to help certain developing projects set up by our sisters.
During the assembly, the sisters didn’t fail to bring their experiences, their difficulties in the mission and their questions.
We dedicated the last afternoon to the news of the local mission and in the Congregation. Sr. Arshad et Sr. Myriam spoke about their participation within the movement Justice and Peace. A time of spontaneous prayer concluded our encounter to which everyone looks forwards because it’s a strong family time, a time of sharing, reflection and fraternity.
We also met the two groups of the Friends of Jeanne Antide, that of Shaadra and of Fiasalabad, which has just started. The friends’ task is mostly that of catechism in the villages and they meet regularly to pray together.
As we leave Pakistan we carry these sisters in our prayer. They work in a quite difficult reality where the christians are a minority and are often socially poor (they do housework, make bricks, small crafts …), but they always try to adapt their service and to meet the needs of the weak and the poor.