MUMBAI, India – A German nun known as the “Mother Teresa of Pakistan” will be given a state funeral, according to Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi, after dying Aug. 10 at the age of 87.
Sister Ruth Pfau died in Karachi in a hospital affiliated with the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center, which she founded.
Abbasi called her service to the country “selfless and unmatched,” and said Pfau “may have been born in Germany, but her heart was always in Pakistan.
“She gave new hope to innumerable people and proved through her illustrious toil that serving humanity knows no boundaries,” the prime minister said in a statement. “We are proud of her exemplary services, and she will remain in our hearts as a shining symbol in times ahead.”
Pfau earned a medical degree in West Germany during the 1950s, and then joined the Daughters of the Heart of Mary.
She was sent by her order to India, but during a stop in Karachi, Pakistan, visa problems kept her from entering India, and she ended up staying. During a visit to a leprosy colony in the city, she decided she would devote her life to helping those with the disease.
She spent the rest of her life in Pakistan, and established 157 medical centers to treat people infected with leprosy. Because of her efforts, Pakistan was one of Asia’s first countries to be declared leprosy-free by the World Health Organization in 1996. Now the medical infrastructure she established is helping in the fight against tuberculosis.
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