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Tributes for 'Mother Teresa of Pakistan'

Fri 11 Aug 2017
By Eno Adeogun

Tributes have been pouring in for a German nun who died on Thursday in Pakistan after spending more than half a century battling leprosy in the country.

Described as the Mother Teresa of Pakistan, Dr Ruth Pfau, 87, moved to Pakistan and spent more than fifty years of her life helping some of the country's most vulnerable people.

Peter Williams from Catholic Voices told Premier that Pfau dedicated her life to eradicating leprosy in Pakistan and did "so much" for the country.

Speaking during News Hour he said that while she was "recognised thankfully for her work and did a great job in witnessing to the charity of Christianity across the world", lots about her is not known.

Pfau's work earned her the Nishan-e-Quaid-i-Azam, one of Pakistan's highest civilian awards.

Born in Leipzig in Germany, she trained as a doctor in her youth and went on to join a Catholic sisterhood.

In 1929 Pfau saw her home destroyed by bombing during World War Two.

Williams told Premier that despite dealing with great anguish throughout her lifetime, she was able to stay positive.

He went on to say: "Because of her relationship with Christ, she managed to take the experience that she had of her - for example - of her hometown of Leipzig being bombed but that experience led her I think to a real experience of Christ, a real reliance on him."

Pfau arrived in Pakistan, where she spent the rest of her life, in 1960. She specialised in the treatment of leprosy, a disease that causes discolouration of the skin, sores, and disfigurements.


Her death has drawn messages of condolences from all sections of Pakistani society.


Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced in a statement that a state funeral would be held for Pfau.

He said: "She gave new hope to innumerable people and proved through her illustrious toil that serving humanity knows no boundaries.

"We are proud of her exemplary services, and she will remain in our hearts as a shining symbol in times ahead."

Williams said that he believes it's possible Pfau could one day like Saint Teresa of Calcutta, be declared a saint.

He said: "A saint of course is someone who witnesses heroic virtue during their life and this is certainly a woman who witnessed heroic virtue during her life so I see no reason why her cause for canonisation will not go forward."

Listen to Peter Williams from Catholic Voices speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun:

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