ASIA/PAKISTAN - Consecrated life at the service of the person and the mission: religious Daughter of the Cross celebrate the anniversary of their arrival in the country
Karachi (Agenzia Fides) – Evangelizing and witnessing to the Christian faith in Pakistan is not always easy. Those who profess faith in Christ are often discriminated against or targeted by Islamic fundamentalist groups that seek to eliminate the religious minorities in the country. In spite of these situations of suffering and pain, the courageous testimony of consecrated life remains in Pakistan and continues to give hope to the Christians living there. This is the meaning behind the presence of the religious sisters, the Daughters of the Cross, who were founded in Belgium 175 years ago and arrived in Pakistan, to serve the Church, 146 years ago.
In a solemn Mass recently celebrated in the Cathedral of Karachi, the Sisters commemorated their foundation and their historical journey since 1862, when the first sisters reached Pakistan. They highlighted the various steps taken over the years: the founding of schools, to offer education to Christians and Muslims; work in hospitals, clinics, and social centers for assisting the poor and sick; catechesis in parishes and schools for teaching the faithful and offering formation to children and youth; offering humanitarian assistance, both material and spiritual, to prisoners and those living in refugee camps; family counseling; preparation for the Sacraments; and their untiring witness and readiness to meet the needs of the entire People of God, helping the local Church to widen its own horizons, and look out towards the entire world.
In honor of this anniversary, which will be celebrated by a multitude of priests, religious, and laity, the religious were praised for their service to the education of tribal groups, through the translation of passages of the Bible into the tribal dialect “kholi bholi,” leading to their conversion to Christianity. Another noteworthy accomplishment has been their service to the orphans and children living on the street, through a house that takes care of over 120 children.
“The Cross, the sign under which the Congregation has been inspired, implies sacrifice, mercy, and love,” the Sisters say, going back to the origin of their charism and service. Today, the congregation has 112 houses all over the world and 850 Sisters carrying out its mission. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 7/11/2008)
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