History of the Holy Family Association in Pakistan
The Holy Family of Bordeaux is an International Spiritual and Apostolic Family founded in 1820 by Pierre Bienvenu Noailles in France. It is composed of women, men ,Youth, and children ,from all vocations and walks of life in the Catholic church .Apostolic and Contemplative women Religious, Consecrated Secular, lay and Priest Associates .All members. while living their own specific vocation ,share the same Mission ,the same Spirit and aim and draw their inspiration from the Holy Family of Nazareth.
At the dawn of 1975 Feb 1975 Feb 4th Holy Family Srs.Tharsilla, Benedicta, Murine Fernando and Stephanie from Sri Lanka set out on the journey, accompanied by prayers and good wishes. Four Sisters met for the first time when they started their missionary journey. They reached Karachi airport on the 5th Feb. La Salle brother Laurence came to the airport to meet them. The Sisters flew to Faisalabad. They were thought the women who in bourkas on the road were Carmelites and they had come to welcome them. The driver was sent to take the Sisters to the St.Rapheal Hospital. Fr.Theogenes OMI came to welcome them..
The Sisters arrived to the Bishop House and met Bishop Chaleo OP and Bishop Andreotti OP. They also visited Dominican Sisters convent and the Novitiate Warispura. Bishop Chaleo took them to Renela Khurd Franciscan convent on the 7th Feb. As the chak 6/4L Okara was under renovation so the Sisters had to stay in Franciscan Convent. After sometime Bishop Cialeo arrived with other two Sisters named Sr.Catherine from Angolo Irish Province of South Africa an Sr.Brigid an Irish Sister from the province of South Africa.
Franciscan Sisters helped the Sisters to learn Urdu. The two Sisters went to Chak 6 every day to see the H F Convent which was under renovation. They had to take the bus and then they had to take the tonga. They used to share about the experiences they had with the people there. While visiting the people the Sisters came to know that the people had bitter feelings about the Church. At the same time the people diccouraged the Sisters not to come to their village. They also told the Sisters that the other two Congregations came to work in their village but they failed to do so.They were told that one of capuchin priest was poisoned and killed. Anyhow the Sisters were ready to work with the people in the village in order to witness the Charism of the Holy Family. Welcome and communion.
On the 21st sisters went to prepare the place, for the opening. First Missionary foundation on the 28th, Bishop Cialio, Priests Franciscan sisters, Dominican sisters were present for the opening. Mass was celebrated outside the church. Village people were so happy to be reconciled with the church after thirteen years. One of the elders shared painful experience of separation from the church.
To keep in contact with the people every day the Sisters made it a point to meet them after Mass. Sisters told the young girls and women who were interested in sewing to come to the convent to do so. The sisters felt that the health care was neglected and it was a great need. Srs Catherine and Brigid as they were Nurses they started the Dispensary. At times they went to the houses to visit the patients. There were no vehicles so they went by bicycle. They also went to the houses to see the patients.
They did not know the language but they were able to manage. Loneliness is a great help to experience the solidarity. Life brings a gift of relationship with the Lord. At times the sister felt like giving up but then they that there was a whisper from the Lord to hold on. In spite of loneliness, sickness and misunderstandings they were able to discover the hand of the Lord.
On Sep 25th other three Sisters came to for General Nursing Training. In 1975 Superior General and the bursar came from Rome with the other missionary Sr.Sheila Griffith from England. Now the missionaries became eight and the 2nd foundation was laid in Gojra. They visited the other dioceses also. Bishop Bertinard Boland also requested the Holy Family Sisters to work in his diocese.
In 1976 the new missionaries arrived to Pakistan. On Feb 27 Sr.Mercia Peris came. Srs.Miriam and Victorine came to Hyderabad. They came from England after finishing their Nursing Training Liverpool. They too came on the request of Bishop Bonaventure. They were very grateful to the Franciscan Priests who supported them to start St. Elizebeth Hospital which was neglected .
Sr. Evelyn arrived from the province of Liege on Oct 1976 to support the Sisters. Srs. Sheila and Stephanie started the Nursery in Gojra. Sr.Brigid was involved in health ministry. She used visit 110 villages.
1977 year was an eventful year for the Holy Family in Pakistan, as Delegation became a Delegation. Chak 6 Okara ,Gojra,Hydearabad,Karachi Holy Family Hospital Students ,NWFP with the presentation sisters ,two sisters in Swat, one in Muree,One in Peshawar,. October 31 st 1977 two sisters went to Multan Diocese Rangpur. There was no convent they lived in two rooms. One was used by Parish Priest who used to come to come and stay from Loreto 70 miles from Rangpur. Once a month they had Mass.
Other times sisters managed with the Catechist. No Electricity, no Gas, sandy land, thorny bushes and sandy hills. There were only three isotated houses. Sisters had to manage with a lentern.There were no shops they had to go 50 miles to buy their provisions and necessary things. They had to pump the water from the hand pump. One became the teacher, the other one worked in a small dispensary and third sister visited the families nearby. Sisters did the driving themselves and once the vehicle broke down they had to stay under a tree.
May 1978 sister Elaine came to St. Elizabeth Hyderabad.The cardinal invited the Holy family sisters in Karachi Diocese House was given in North Nazimabad D’silva town 3Rd Feb 1979 three sisters started their journey from Gojra to Karachi .4th Feb. they had a simple ceremony Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Cordero. In 1980 Srs. Theresa and Yvonne finished their training and joined the Delegation.In 1984 four sisters came from Sri Lanka to join the delegation.
As we had some girls who wanted to join us. They were in Chak 6 Okara learning English, Catechism, and history of our family. One sister was sent for formation course in Philippenes.Lahore house was opened for the Postulants. Four Postulants started the Novitiate in Karachi Sr. Stephanie used to go to the village to visit the sick who were suffering from Polio and T B. The Sisters worked hard to teach the sewing to the young women and the girls. They worked for adult education. They were involved in the Christian Project Christian Community Development (C C D) in the parishes of Gojra and Okara.
Three made their first vows in 18th Dec.1989
Then Sr.Stephanei became the Delegation Superior and Sr. Miriam became the Novice Mistress. We bought a land in Lahore and built our Novitiate house due to the trouble in Karachi that time . Novitiate was lifted to Lahore from Karachi. Slowly Our family was growing with God’s as three novices made their first Vows on 18th Dec.1989.
In 2003 Bishop Victor Gnapragasam invited the sisters to this Vicariate of Quetta, The leadership Team visited Pasheen and Sibi but they preferred to work in Sibi. On October 7th 2005 Srs.Angelina, Treasa and Sajida came to start the new foundation.
2005 Srs.Angelina, Treasa and Sajida came to start the new foundation.
In Oct 2012 Bishop of Faisalabad asked to work in Okrara City school.In 2013 one of our local sister Sr.Angelina Sohan was chosen as the leader of our Delegation. In 2019 Bishop Victor Gnapragasam invited our Sisters to Quetta Vicariate and work in Quetta itself .On the 14th July 2019 Srs.Elaine Josephine Khushi arrived to Quetta. On the 29th WE opened our house in Quetta and we Had Holy Mass offered by Bishop Victor Gnapragasam .On the first August two sisters started to work in Mission Hospital in Quetta. In the evening started the Apostolate in Basti and working in the Sacred Heart Parish visiting the Families.