For the elderly who live in Maryville, they experience “the love and compassion of Jesus” through the nuns who take care of them. The lawn is freshly mowed and the ambiance homely.
This home for the elderly, run by Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, celebrated its golden jubilee on Saturday. Located near Gurumandir, the home was set up in 1962 in a large house donated by the parents of Reverend Father Ronnie D’Souza. The sisters were invited to Pakistan by His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Cordeiro, the first and only Pakistani cardinal, to offer their services to the aging members of the Catholic community.
Maryville is the third such institution run by a Catholic religious order. The other two are Peace Haven and St Vincent’s Home, near Quaid’s mausoleum and at Drigh Road.
During the golden jubilee celebration, Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts, led an hour-long mass in which he read from the liturgy. There was an offertory procession, consecration and then the Holy Communion.
At the end of the mass, Archbishop Coutts recalled the initial years of Maryville and the services rendered by the nuns. He described its creation as the consequence of the love of Christ which motivated people to do good.
Most of the people who live in Maryville aren’t abandoned but don’t have anyone else to go to. Many are here because their children moved abroad. Francis Pereira, for example, came to Maryville around two and a half years ago when his parents died. As an elderly bachelor, coming here seemed to be his only option.
The oldest resident of Maryville, Catherine Gomes, came here in 2002, when she was 60 years old, when the Pakistani government tried to deport her to Dubai. She has three children and they live in Dubai and Canada. “I have truly found a home here,” she says. “One night when I wasn’t well I just called up a sister and she was dressed and with me in two minutes. She took me to the hospital in a rickshaw at 1 am.”
Richard D’ costa also came to Maryville for the same reasons as Pereira. “I like the liberty their place offers,” he says. “I like that when I come home I get cooked meals and a clean room.”
The residents pay between Rs5,000 and Rs6,000, and in return they get lodging, meals and security. They can even cook themselves if they don’t like the daily menu and can go out and meet their friends anytime.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2012.