Citizens have started calling on the Government of Pakistan to give honorary citizenship to Irish nun Sister Berchmans. She was recently announced as the recipient for a prestigious award for teaching services.
St Mary’s University in London has announced that it will be awarding the Benedict medal to Sister Berchmans in recognition of her teaching services that span more than 70 years.
The medal, which is the University’s highest honour, will be presented to Sr Berchmans by the Archbishop of Westminster and Chancellor of St Mary’s Cardinal Vincent Nichols during a St Mary’s Summer Graduation Ceremony. The ceremony will take place in the Westminster Cathedral.
The Irish nun spent most of her teaching life Pakistan. She taught at the Convents of St Jesus and Mary in Lahore, Murree and Karachi.
Her students include Benazir Bhutto, Asma Jahangir, Hina Gilani, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Shireen Mazari and Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
The government of Pakistan awarded the Irish Nun the highest honor in the country, the Sitara-e-Quaid in 2012. The official statement at the time of award said “constant adherence to the call of duty over a span of 59 years, which has made Sister Berchmans a living example to emulate.”
The calls to award the Irish Nun an honorary citizenship were headed by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who is also a visiting professor at St Mary’s University.
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“Sr Berchmans dedicated 70 years of her life to teaching and spent most of her time in service of Pakistan”, Warsi said, She deserves recognition at all levels.”
Irish nun Sr Berchmans was born in Ireland, Country Clare, in 1930. She joined the Convent of Jesus and Mary in London in 1951.
Her services are about more than just education. As a teacher of Muslim, Hindu, Parsi and Christian children, she played a great role in promoting interfaith harmony in the generations of studens who passed throught the convents in Pakistan.