The first Presentation Sisters arrived in Rawalpindi (which is now in Pakistan) in 1895 from Madras (Chennai) in India. The Sisters opened a school which initially served the children of British and Irish soldiers living there. More schools were later established from here. Following partition and the founding of the nation of Pakistan in 1947, the first local sisters were professed in 1954 and the mission further developed.
To learn more about the Ministries that Presentation Sisters are involved in today see below photographs and stories.
Our Visit to Sindh by Pakistani Novices
We were very excited when we heard the news about going to the province of Sindh which is located in the south
of Pakistan. We were very enthusiastic to learn about the culture, traditions and customs of the people there. Sr. Shahnaz Barkat, the Novice Director, and ourselves, the five Novices – Sumble, Sundal, Arooj, Irum and Rushna – started the journey early in the morning on 14th of February la
st. We traveled by train from Rawalpindi, a city in the Punjab province where we live. The stations through which we passed were Gujar Khan, Jhelum, Lala Musa, Gujarat, Wazirabad, Gujranwala, Patoki, Chichawatni, Khanyawal, Multan. At night we slept, and in the morning, our next station was Nawabshah. The last station was Tando Adam. Finally, we had arrived!
Arrival and Welcome:
Sisters Regina, Gretta Gill and Fr. Denis ( a Mill Hill priest ) very kindly came to collect us at 7:30am. The morning was very cool and fresh. At the centre ourside the town of Tando Adam, we attended the Holy Mass at 8:15am. The Mass was enriching for our souls. Then, at the end of Mass, the local people welcomed us. Afterwards, we had a short visit and then, after breakfast, we left for the next place on our schedule.
As well as Tando Adam, we visited the towns of Tando Allah Yar and Khipro – the three locations where our Presentation Sisters are carrying the mission of Jesus and Nano (Luke 4:18).
Our Sisters’ Mission in Sindh:
The mission of our Sisters in Sindh inspires us. They are really working very hard with the tribal people, especially the Parkaris, Kutchis and Bheels. Our Sisters are bringing people ‘out of darkness, into the light’ through education. Sr. Regina has overseen the building of five village schools and she also does much work in visiting many villages to see to the needs of the people. . Sr. Gretta works at the schools and also with the Punjabi families now living there.
Tando Allah Yar:
In Tando Allah Yar, we attended Sunday’s special Mass celebrated in the Kutchi Kohli language. The people welcomed us and presented us with beautiful garlands made of petals. Two Novices, Sundal and Sumble, stayed in Tando Allah Yar with Srs. Nasreen William and Sumaira Pervaiz.
School and Boarding:
In Tando Allah Yar, there is one main school, St. Mary’s Presentation High School. Sr. Sumaira is the Principal there. Besides that, she also runs a number of village schools. There are two hostels in Tando Allah Yar, one for boys and one for girls who live far from the schools. Sr. Nasreen helps in the school and looks after the boarding girls. The Mill Hill priests are responsible for the hostel for the boys. The number of girls boarding is thirty six; and the number of boys, forty six. All the boarders take computer classes and the girls learn embroidery and sewing in their free time. We helped them with their study from 4:00 to 5:30 pm and in other activities. The schools that the Sisters run in Sindh cater for over 600 students, day students as well as boarders.
We also went to the school and helped the teachers and students. The students have zeal, passion and thirst to learn, they have great ambitions. The teachers are very cooperative, hardworking and understanding. They shared their gifts and talents with us; and we shared ours with them. The students were very loving towards us. We also put much effort into helping them in every way we could; and we appreciated them. The students really want to do something for their families. Some of the children told us they go to work after school in order to support their parents and siblings.
Three Novices – Arooj, Irum and Rushna – stayed for a number of days at Khipro. We visited Fr. Cyprian High School and some village schools. The Fr. Cyprian High School is the main school and there are also nineteen village schools overseen by our Sisters. Sr. Ghazala Daniel is the principal and Sr. Zarish George is helping in the main school. Sr. Clare Rehmat works with the Parkaris, a tribal community. We had a lovely time in school. Children are hardworking even though facilities are sometimes inadequate. They are intelligent and confident. Some of them are carry some of the responsibilities for their families. Yet, their hopes and dreams are very high. They want to be doctors, pilots, teachers and engineers in the future. We would like to share one story with you. One day we asked one of the students: “Why do you want to become a doctor?” He replied very nicely: “Sisters, in our area people are suffering from different diseases and they often get sick. Therefore, if I become doctor and I can cure them.” His answer was beautiful. This is the only one example. There are many other examples of their hope, compassion, thoughtfulness and generosity. Our Sisters are doing great job with them. They are not only educating them, but also helping them in their spiritual life, family issues, personal problems, etc and making them better human beings, more able to face the world. The lay teachers are also working very hard to help them. They understand them. The Sisters, teachers and students have given us precious memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. After this visit, we have the strong believe that these students will succeed in the future. They are now like ‘ever-shining stars’ because they are strong enough to face the challenges of life ahead. We really appreciate the hard work of our Sisters and all that they are doing.
We are very inspired by the lives of people in Sindh. We visited a number of families and we are happy that they are very loving, caring, innocent, honest and hardworking. The women work in the fields and at home. They share their problems openly and they are very generous. They share everything, whatever they have. Their hospitality is marvellous. They are happy even though they live in poverty. They have strong faith in God and no one can diminish that. However, some families still do not allow the girls to get an education.
Sisters and Priests Work in Collaboration:
Our Sisters, in collaboration with the Priests, are working very hard at raising awareness among the people about many issues and some opportunities. We were happy to see the ways in which they support boys and girls, enabling them to attend vocational institutes for vocational training. They give them free medicines when they are sick as medicine is expensive and not readily available. The missionaries in Sindh cooperate with people in every way they can. They visit them, listen to them and help them to solve their problems.
The tribal families marry their children at the age from 16 to 18. They have a famous custom which is this – that the one who is going to marry has to spend seven days apart in prayer and silence. This is something very beautiful. In this way, they get time to think about their new life. The people use different symbols to mark the stages toward marriage.
Our Thoughts and Short Reflection:
We are grateful to God for the call to religious life. Through this experience, each of us feels stronger in our vocation. We learned so many things and we had so many experiences which touched our hearts deeply. The faith of the people we met is inspiring us to draw closer to God and to each other. Their openness, love, sharing, respect and generosity towards one another teaches us to become humble and compassionate with everyone. The poverty of the poor speaks to us very strongly. It is a challenge to us – that we should share our gifts, talents and whatever we have openly. We feel that “The harvest is rich, but the laborers are few” (Luke 10:2). We should go wherever we are sent. There will be great joy and life if we take the risks and launch out into the deep; and, if we are willing to go to different places and be among people with whom we are not familiar. Jesus asks us to go the fringes, to the peripheries and to the edges. He tells us not to be afraid, for God will give us the courage we need. Wherever we go, we will find Him there ahead of us.
Thanks to the Sisters:We would like to thank all the Sisters who are working in Sindh for making our experience beautiful. Our special thanks to Sr. Shahnaz who gave us the opportunity to visit Sindh. We would like to thank Sr. Anna Sheehy (SW Province, Ireland) who encouraged us to write a reflection on our immersion experience. May God bless them and all whom we met while we were in Sindh.
(submitted by novices Sumble,Rockus; Sandal Sharif; Arooj, Stephen; Irum Joseph;and Rushna Samuel
Mother House COmm
Murree Tree Plantation
Training on advocacy
SDG school assembly
Community leader teaching SDGs
community meeting with councilor
The ladies health workers and the nurses are from our areas. Who are full time employed? They reach out to so many people in the surrounding villages and cities. They are great help and support to carry out the health ministry with us. They will give their time and will educate the women and young girls of given topics with our support and guidelines.
We recognize the body of Christ, often fragmented in our world, yet brought into unity by the outpouring of self-giving love. (C15)
Plan for working the women
“….to immersed in the lives of the poor and marginalized people, who open us to the mystery of love, and to be prophetic voices with them for the transformation of unjust systems locally and globally.
We are challenged to leave our comfort zone and involve ourselves in difficult and urgent issues like
- Violence Against Women
is a systematic and widespread human rights violation. It cuts across age, socio-economic, educational and geographic boundaries…
- Rights of women
- Gender-based violence
- Violence Against Women
- UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- most of these reference Women particularly SDG # 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all Women and Girls
- Child protection
- CHILD MARRIAGE….
15 million girls under the age of 15 are married each year.
- Climate change
- We are encouraged to take new and bold steps to make a difference in the lives of the poor around us and especially the people at the periphery.
Laudato Si – Pope Francis’ encyclical to the world in 2015, highlights link between: ‘Cry of the Earth and Cry of the Poor’. “…. each human being is a subject who Laudato Si – Pope Francis’ encyclical to the world in 2015, highlights link between ’Cry of the Earth and Cry of the Poor’.