UCA News

Nun’s center a refuge for orphan girls

Updated: April 26, 2010 05:32 AM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Sister Petra Mariam teaching girls at Providence Home
Sister Petra Mariam teaching girls at Providence Home
Share this article :

KARACHI, Pakistan (UCAN) -- Jessinta Fernandez lost both her parents by the time she was seven. However, she was able to continue her education and is now a teacher, thanks to the Daughters of the Cross nuns. Fernandez was one of more than 500 Catholic girls from broken families, or who had at least one deceased parent, who received care at the nuns’ Providence Home in Karachi archdiocese. The nuns and staff provide the girls with a homely environment, support their education, and in some cases, like Fernandez’s, even helped them get married. “My father died of cancer when I was one and my mother passed away six years later,” Fernandez recalled. “My uncle brought me and my sister to the home and we studied here until grade 12.” Fernandez, now a mother of two, said her future in-laws saw her at a picnic “and contacted the nuns with a marriage proposal.” She now teaches at a Catholic school, brings gifts to the girls at the home during her monthly visits, and helps raise funds for the facility. “The nuns are like my parents and the children are my ‘siblings,’” she said with a smile.

Children at the Providence Home playground
Presently, 20 girls aged six to 15 stay at the home, together with two nuns and five other staff members. “Most of them come from rural areas,” said Sister Petra Mariam, the nun in charge. Many of these girls, who have had a traumatized childhood, “tend to be disobedient and display violent behavior.” She said it was a “special mission” to serve them. “We try to train them with love and help them to study, play games and say prayers.” The center charges 300 rupees (US$3.60) per month for each resident while Catholic schools in Karachi give a 50 percent discount on educational expenses for each girl. “The total expenditure [for the home] is more than 60,000 rupees monthly but only the relatives of a few girls pay,” said Sister Mariam. Providence Home was founded by German Sister Henerica in 1964. Many of the former residents, like Fernandez, continue to visit the center regularly and support it. PA09530/1599 April 26, 2010 33 EM-lines (350 words) Caritas program helps kids break labor shackles Nuns´ center shows way to a better life

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia