Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari has endorsed the request for granting Pakistani citizenship to an Irish nun who has served all her life to the people of the country.
“I remember her from my days in the Murree Convent of Jesus and Mary. She was a great nun and a mentor – and Pakistan should also recognise her services,” she tweeted.
Member House of Lords and former senior cabinet minister of the United Kingdom Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has asked the Pakistani government to award Irish nun Sister Berchmans an honorary citizenship in recognition of her services in promoting interfaith relations and education in the country.
It may be noted that St Mary’s University in London will confer ‘the Benedict Medal’ on Sr Berchmans next week for her services for the people of Pakistan. Warsi, a visiting professor at the university, said the government of Pakistan should also recognize her efforts and selfless devotion to serve people of the country.
St Mary’s University Benedict Medal is 75mm diameter in gold and silver-plated bronze. The central area has a picture of Pope Benedict XVI. It is the university’s highest honour and it would be presented to Sr Berchmans by the Westminster Archbishop and St Mary’s Chancellor of Cardinal Vincent Nichols during a St Mary’s Summer Graduation Ceremony.
Berchmans has taught Muslim, Christian, Parsi and Hindu children at the Convents of Jesus and Mary in Lahore, Murree and Karachi for most of her 70 years of teaching. She was awarded the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam by the President of Pakistan.
According to The News, Sayeeda Warsi said, “Sr Berchmans dedicated 70 years of her life to teaching and spent most of her time in service of Pakistan. She taught Muslim, Christian, Parsi and Hindu children at the Convents of Jesus and Mary in Lahore, Murree and Karachi to promote education, empowerment and interfaith harmony. She deserves recognition at all levels.”
“I had the privilege of visiting Sr Berchmans in Karachi and I saw at first-hand how her work and presence has created a lifetime of interfaith understanding. Like her students, colleagues and peers I am delighted that Sr Berchmans is receiving the Benedict Medal from St Mary’s University as part of their summer graduation ceremony at Westminster Cathedral. It will be a fitting occasion for someone, who has given their life to education and to helping young people achieve their dreams,” she said.
Berchmans was born in 1930 in Ireland and joined the Convent of Jesus and Mary in 1951 in Willesden, London.
Her students include former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Tehmina Janjua, senior news anchor Sana Bucha, senior deceased lawyer Asma Jehangir, Hina Gilani, Nergis Mavalvala, Sharmeen Obaid, Nasim Zehra, actress Atiqa Odho, Jugnu Mohsin and many others.