ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Shafique Khokhar
Missionary in the country for 61 years, the Italian-born nun,
dedicated her entire life to the poor, women, marginalised and the disabled.
More than 350 priests, lay people, activists and worshippers attend the
ceremony. Her fellow nuns pledge "to continue her mission."
Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - The Catholic community is mourning the death of
Sister Alessia (pictured). Known as the 'Mother Teresa of Pakistan, she
was born in a small hamlet in Italy's Veneto region and spent 61 years of her
life in mission in the Asian country, devoting her time to the marginalised,
women, the poor. However, she will be especially remembered for her devotion to
Sister Alessia's funeral was held last Monday in Faisalabad's cathedral in
the presence of more than 350 priests, nuns, catechists, educators, students,
media people, representatives of civil society organisations and ordinary
worshippers. During the ceremony, participants paid tribute to her for her
services to humanity.
During the Mass, Sister Sosan Buta laid out the main facts about Sister
Alessia's life, describing her contributions to the growth of Pakistan's civil
society and the Church's missionary work in the world.
Born on 18 November 1923 in Gasparina, a small hamlet in the municipality of
Sommacampagna, Verona province, Sister Alessia took her final vows with
She arrived in Pakistan for the first time on 13 October 1951 and her first
posting was in the Catholic village of Khushpur, Punjab, the birthplace of the
late Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minority Affairs minister who was assassinated
on 2 March 2011.
Four years later, she was transferred to Francisabad, a Christian village
near Shortkot, where she spent 26 years serving the local community.
In 1980, she moved again, for the last time, to Faisalabad this time. In the
big city, she took charge of the 'Miss Haq Home', a Catholic charitable
institution for children with disabilities where she spent the remainder of her
life in mission and service.
"The death of Sister Alessia OP is a shock and a great loss to the Church,"
said Sister Sosan Buta. However, "while we mourn this loss, we promise to the
soul of Sister Alessia that we will continue her mission for the poor, the weak
and the voiceless."
"Sister Alessia was so kind, philanthropic and gregarious to every human
being," said Sister Sabina, an educator at the Sacred Heart School in
Although born in Italy, "she was more Pakistani than us. She was filled with
maternal love for all of us. For this reason, we, her fellow co-workers, used to
call her mother. She was a true follower of Saint Catherine. May her soul rest
"Sister Alessia was the Mother Teresa of Pakistan," said Fr Khalid Rashid
Asi, vicar general of Diocese of Faisalabad, "because she devoted her entire
life to the downtrodden and oppressed. We are very grateful to her for her
social and spiritual service."