This is the first of a three-part series to introduce the educational ministry of our Sisters in Pakistan. This piece focuses on Multan, a densely populated city. The next article will focus on the small desert village of Loretto. The third installment will introduce the small city of Bahawalpur, the center of our Community’s life and ministry in Pakistan. We hope you enjoy the stories and photos of the Sisters and their students from the first day of school.
Originally a nursery class started in 1984 by our Sister Margaret Theresa Oettinger and further developed in collaboration with Sister Margaret Rose Moran, Bishop Bertrand Boland and local leaders who were grateful for the fine care the sisters offered to the children of Raza Abad Colony. This school was for the children of this community whose parents worked during the day, leaving the children to care for each other without parental guidance. The school provided a safe place for their children and daily activities upon which a program could be built. The school slowly grew to the fifth grade with an enrollment of 250 students.
In addition to the children’s programs, the building also provided space for adult education after school and in the evenings. Sewing classes for women and other programs that met their needs were very well attended. We are proud of the quality education the Dominican Middle School has provided for some 40 years. We ask God’s blessing on all the dedicated Sisters and teachers and staff who served this school well.
Ashraf Rafiq, a graduate, and current teacher who recently completed his MA in English Language, now serves as school secretary and computer teacher. He credits the devotion and zeal of his teachers, Sister Margaret Rose Moran, and Sister Nasreen Gulzar with his ability to live a happy and prosperous life.
Another grateful graduate, Akmal Yousaf, now works in Fatima Hospital, Multan, as a Lab Technician. He says that he is among those lucky students who were brought up and educated by our founding Sparkill Dominican Sisters. In his words:
”The Sisters were very loving and our small school was one of the happiest places in the world. Now I have chosen the same school for my children. My three daughters are studying under the guidance of Pakistani Sparkill Dominican Sisters. I am proud to be a Dominican Alumnus. May my school continue to progress and bear much fruit. Amen.”
Mrs. Rehana Tanveer a graduate and current teacher reflects on her experience in this school.
“Our Sparkill Dominican Sisters taught us with love. We experienced a real joy and freedom. The happy atmosphere gave us confidence to be our real selves. I still remember Sisters Margaret Rose Moran, Nasreen Gulzar, Margaret Theresa Oettinger and Monica Lewis who taught us the values of the Christian life. I am married now, and I have two boys in this same school. My successful life is due to our great Sisters. I feel proud to be a Dominican Alumna. Our Sisters are working hard to instill the same values in our sons’ lives. May God bless the Sparkill Sisters.”
– Sister Eileen Cunningham, OP
Sister Eileen served in educational ministries for more than 50 years
and now volunteers to provide support services to our Sisters in Dominican Convent
– Sister Nusrat Lewis, OP
Sister Nusrat is the Congregational Pakistan Regional
Representative and Directress of Formation