By Cathy Mueller
Our sisters in Pakistan — Maria Daniel, Samina Iqbal and Nasreen Daniel — are busy with several projects, all of which reflect the Loretto mission.
Bishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM asked our sisters to take over St. Anthony School in Green Town, a poor section of Lahore. From 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, they do administration, substitute teach and do all the activities necessary in a school with 247 students from 3-to-12-years old. Saturdays, they often offer teacher training for the teachers from St. Anthony’s and other Catholic schools.
Weekday afternoons, from 3 to 5 p.m. they gather 30 women who meet at their home as part of the Loretto Empowering Women in Pakistan Project, offering them classes in literacy and sewing skills.
At a recent Pakistan Committee meeting, besides their daily work, they impressed us when they told us of their involvement with other communities of sisters. We asked them to share some of those activities. Their stories follow.
Inspiration from Denver Loretto Community Leads Loretto Pakistan Sisters to Create Own Book Club
By Maria Daniel
Inspired by our Community in Denver where we read some books together and enjoyed the sharing, we suggested this idea to one of our friends from the Good Shepherd Congregation who really liked that idea. We picked Hope in the Age of Despair by Albert Nolan OP.
Sometime later, Bishop Sebastian invited Baji Nasreen and me for a meeting.
Baji shared with him about the book club. He asked us to involve the Franciscan Tertiary Sisters of Lahore (FTL Sisters), so we did.
We asked the members to bring potluck along. The first meeting was in our house. We read chapter one and spent the entire time talking about just a few of the paragraphs.
Our second meeting was in the Good Shepherd house. Sister Michelle, a John of God sister, has joined us.
We are very happy to have initiated it, and we are enriched by this experience.
Pakistan Sisters Visit Adah/Sahowala
By Maria DanielThe Bishop of Lahore asked us to help FTL Sisters write a project for the renovation of their more than 100-year-old convent.
The FTL Sisters are a diocesan congregation with few resources for living, education and development.
Sept. 24 Samina and I went to Adah to meet with the FTL Sisters. After visiting the sisters, we went to Sahowala, which is only a 40-minute drive from Adah.
The Church in Sahowala is one of the oldest churches in Pakistan.
According to research Kate Misbauer did in our Loretto Archives, Father Constant, a Capuchin missionary who was a nephew on his grandmother’s side of Charles Nerinckx, requested help from Loretto to build a church.
In 1914, Mother Praxedes sent money to him from Loretto to build the church in honor of Father Nerinckx. (At that time, Sahowala was part of India since Pakistan was not established until 1947.)
Samina and I were able to see the Catechist Training Center and the church, which has changed through the years although the basic structure is the same. We saw an old bicycle which was used by Father Constant. This parish is still run by Capuchin priests.
Pre-vow Retreat Covers Multiple Topics
By Nasreen Daniel
I was asked to give the retreat for the Sparkill Dominican novices in Bahalwapur, a town south of Punjab, as they prepared to profess their first vows within the congregation. Content included the evolution of the vows, using Scripture, history and contemporary understanding.
The sense of poverty was a curse in the Old Testament, as we see in the Book of Job. Jesus turned this curse into a blessing: Blessed are you … For religious communities, poverty is about sharing, about generosity.
The community dimension of religious chastity provides a concrete place where a religious can better incarnate, express and live God’s commandment of love.
Obedience has shifted from “blind obedience” to a stance of consultation and listening.
The retreat included time for input, quiet reflection, reading and a chance to meet individually with each novice. I also was able to use materials from Maureen Fiedler and Elaine Prevallet.