In 2006, Sister Rosy watched a church in Sukkur burn down in the name of blasphemy. But four years later, when the devastating floods swept away villages, she and her religious congregation did not think twice about helping those who attacked the church.
“Jesus emphasised forgiving others and that is what we try to follow every day,” said Sr Rosy, who was visiting Karachi for her congregation’s platinum jubilee.
The Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King celebrated its platinum jubilee on July 28 when Archbishop Joseph Coutts encouraged them to continue serving humanity.
Formed in 1937 by Mother Bridget Sequeira in Karachi, the congregation also spread its services to India and Sri Lanka. Approximately 300 sisters are associated with the congregation out of which 60 are serving in Pakistan.
The sisters travel to impoverished villages around the country, imparting religious teachings, treating the ill and distributing food. Dutch-born Sister Gertrude Lemmens of the congregation is the founder of Darul Sukoon while other sisters also run a home for the elderly in Karachi.
Sr Catherine Wilson, who has been a part of the congregation for the past 35 years, heads the missionary school near the Mazar-e-Quaid. Her affiliation with the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King traces to her mother who was adopted by Mother Bridget. “When my mother lost her parents, it was Mother Bridget who adopted her, took care of her and got her married.”
Sr Catherine saw her mother volunteer, teach Urdu to priests and give alms. “When my brother, a priest, returned home and told me about the activities of the nuns, I was motivated to join the congregation.” Sr Catherine was 18 years old when she decided to dedicate her life to God. “My father objected as I was the only daughter. He wanted me to lead a ‘normal’ life and get married. But God had already chosen me,” said the 62-year-old woman.
Sr Catherine also spent several years in Sukkur and Quetta. She continued her work despite resistance; in 1996 she was attacked with a knife in her school in Karachi. “There are ups and downs in life. But we are content with the path we have chosen and will continue our good work.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.