First Death Anniversary Remembrance of Dr. Ruth Pfau

The 1st Death Anniversary of Sr. Dr. Ruth Katharina Martha Pfau was observed on August 10, 2018. A mass was celebrated by His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Coutts and Concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Saleh Diego and Rev. Fr. Cyril Nelson at 9:00 AM, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Saddar – Karachi. The mass was attended by over 200 people including German Consul General Mr. Eugen Wollfarth, MALC Governing Board members, Sisters from the Daughters of the Heart of Mary (DHM), Students of St. Patrick’s Girls High School, St. Joseph’s Convent School and St. Patrick’s High School, donors and well-wishers.

During the eulogy, reflecting on the life of Dr. Ruth Pfau, His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Coutts mentioned that Dr. Pfau was like a good shepherd. She gave her entire life to the patients, and to the people whom she was working with.  She did not only look after one flock but travelled everywhere. He also recounted Dr. Pfau’s words to him “As a doctor, my job is not only to give medicine to people. I treat persons and I want to see those persons restored to life.” He mentioned that the reason we remember her so fondly is that she came to give life, to give a fullness of life.

Dr. Pfau never shunned away from Persons with Leprosy related deformities, moreover, she always stressed on not showing them any reaction, as they are people. We should shake hands with them, as they are cured and are like us. They should be treated with dignity like our friends, and we should not be afraid of their deformities. He mentioned that she had left behind a beautiful legacy for us to follow.

Towards the end of the mass, speaking on behalf of the entire staff of MALC, Mr. Mervyn Lobo, CEO-MALC mentioned about the feeling of sadness on the occasion. Sadness because we really miss Dr. Pfau’s physical presence.

He mentioned that it was a humbling experience working alongside her for nearly 28 years. She was special, and what made her so special was that she made others feel very special. She instilled the confidence in everyone with the belief that they could do anything, and that’s why MALC can claim that leprosy was controlled by a group of very ordinary people that was led by an extraordinary leader.

As a doctor, she was tremendous, and her treatment was beyond medicine. Dr. Pfau was representing a massive unrepresented community of Pakistan; females. She was a symbolic figure; for the clergy – she was a nun leading her flock, and for her team of leprosy workers-for the good of humanity. Dr. Pfau was brave and would go to any extent to protect her team. Recalling an incident in Gilgit-Baltistan where people came with weapons to attack the team, Dr. Pfau stood right in front of them saying “No, you can’t do that.” He ended his speech by saying “Let’s not be sad, that she is no more, let’s be happy that she was.”

The mass was followed by a visit to the Christian Cemetery (Gora Qabaristan) around 10:45 AM, where MALC employees gathered around the place where she was laid to rest. Rev. Fr. Cyril Nelson commenced with a short prayer, after which MALC staff and well-wishers placed floral bouquets/ garlands on her grave to pay their respects for her selfless services rendered for humanity.