09/09/2016, 16.26
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Lahore mourns nun who preached the Gospel through social media

by Kamran Chaudhry

Sister Athens Angeles passed away suddenly from a brain haemorrhage. From the Philippines, she moved to Pakistan in 2000 where she helped create Internet sites, train students, and offer free lessons to poor children.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Sister Athens Angeles, a Filipino nun who has lived in Pakistan since 2000, died on Monday at the age of 54 due to a brain hemorrhage.

She was nicknamed the "Sister of cyberspace" because, through her communication skills, she taught others to make the best use of social media to spread the Gospel.

Her funeral was held on Wednesday at St Mary's Church in Lahore. Archbishop Sebastian Shah celebrated the service and expressed deep sorrow at her sudden passing. "I had met her only the day before and she seemed fine,” he said. “We lost a great communicator."

Sister Athens had arrived in Pakistan 16 years ago, and for six years taught mass media and English to the Franciscan friars. Her students called her "the saint of youth" for her unique ability to engage them in serving the Church.

Immediately after her arrival, she launched ‘Readers are Leaders’, a project with which her congregation, the Daughters of St Paul, provided free textbooks to schools, parishes and seminaries.

She then helped her Pauline sisters to create their own website, then that of the minor seminary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Islamabad, followed by the website of the Diocese of Rawalpindi and that of the Timothians, a youth group she founded in the Cathedral of St Joseph in Rawalpindi. Finally, last May, she helped the Sisters of Charity of Jeanne Antide Thouret to open their first blog.

In 2010, she was a member of the Pakistani delegation to the Catholic Press Congress at the Vatican. In 2011, she funded a web design course for 12 young people. Sonish Akmal, one of the students, says that thanks to that course, she found work in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

"I am the only Christian to work in intergovernmental organisations,” she said. “Sister Athens helped me choose this field, and made me an independent person. Thanks to her, I developed the website of Caritas Pakistan, that of the Christian Studies Centre and those of insurance companies. "

For fr. Jamil Albert from the Franciscan training centre Dar ul Naeem, "the Church has lost an innovative educator. She was a great help for young people, whom she followed in their vocation and in how to use social media. In her convent, she also gave free lessons to children from poor families. She was also engaged in social activities. We will always miss her."

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