Our Pakistan Community
“You will be my disciples...to the ends of the earth”
In 1956, Mother Kevin Sullivan accepted the invitation of the Dominican Friars of the Eastern Province of St. Joseph to join them in their new mission established in the Diocese of Multan. When she asked for volunteers, two hundred Sisters responded. In 1957, eight Sisters began to study the Urdu language, received training sessions in meeting basic health care needs, and took a course in missiology at Fordham University.
On September 12, 1958, the pioneer Sisters, under the leadership of Sr. Mary Purissima Reilly, departed by ship for Karachi, Pakistan. Inspired by the words of the Gospel, “Go therefore and teach all nations,” the Sisters went to Pakistan embracing their mission—not to proselytize, but to live a simple, prayerful, compassionate life which would bear witness to their being followers of Christ.
When they arrived, the Sisters faced formidable challenges—learning a new language, adapting to a previously unknown culture with unfamiliar customs and food, and becoming acclimated to the extreme heat of Pakistan from May to October. The Sisters, whose experience had been in US Catholic parishes and schools, were now ministering in an Islamic country with Christians who were a small minority, less than 2% of the population. But their zeal for their mission, the support they received from the community, and God’s grace helped them to accomplish remarkable deeds for the People of God, the Church of Pakistan.
From the beginning of this journey, the Sisters’ plan was to lay a foundation for a native-born Pakistani community of women religious to be a vibrant part of the future of the church in Pakistan. We welcomed our first Pakistani candidates to the novitiate in the late 1960s. The seed planted in 1958 has borne fruit as there are now twenty native-born Pakistani women in the Sparkill Dominican congregation, each continuing to minister wherever needed, each continuing to be a window through which people can see and experience the love of Christ. The first woman to enter the congregation in Pakistan, Sister Monica Lewis, celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a Sparkill Dominican in 2017. Today, our Pakistani Sisters minister in Bahawalpur, Multan, and Loreto.