05/14/2024, 14.18
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Madina Town parish thanks Christian nurses, who are often victims of abuse

by Shafique Khokhar

International Nurses' Day offered an opportunity to acknowledge this valuable service. The event also highlighted the violence they often endure because of their gender and beliefs. Sister Alvina, a Franciscan in charge of the parish's medical dispensary for 30 years, laments that nurses are “often discriminated” and “discouraged by their superiors in hospitals.”

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – International Nurses' Day was celebrated last Sunday in the parish church in Faisalabad’s Madina Town district. The parish priest, Fr Khalid Rashid Asi, blessed 16 nurses and 25 midwives, anointing their hands, their tools to heal people.

About sixty people attended the event, including parish healthcare workers, students, and mothers. Sister Alvina, who is head nurse at the local church, was the soul of the day.

The Franciscan woman religious has been serving the community from her medical dispensary for 30 years, providing free service to the poor with the help of the Catholic Diocese of Faisalabad, which is led by Bishop Joseph Indrias Rehmat.

"I congratulate all the nurses of the world for the great work they do,” said Fr Khalid Rashid Asi. “Like the Messiah, nurses serve people when they are suffering and did so even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when everyone was confined to their homes.”

“They lead lives like angels,” the clergyman added, “saving people and bringing them back to life. I have always praised and admired their work, in the history of India and Pakistan.”

The day also offered an opportunity to remember how many obstacles Christian nurses face in their service in Pakistan.

"We have raised our voices for their rights and asked that they be given fair wages," the parish priest explained. "They are harassed in the workplace, have to endure harsh words from families and the elderly, and yet they continue to work for our healing. The government should pay more attention to them."

For nurses, hostility and mistreatment mirror the climate of intolerance in the country towards Christian minorities, especially if they are women.

Sister Alvina also addressed the gathering. "I encourage Christian nurses on this day.  I know that they are less privileged and that many times they are discouraged by their superiors in hospitals,” she said.

“We know that a nurse makes greater efforts than a doctor to save a life, builds a pure relationship with patients, and takes care of them in the best possible way."

"I am very grateful to this parish for organising such a beautiful event,” she added, “showing their love to nurses, which means that they accept their great role in society. All parishes should organise similar events.”

Nusrat Bibi, a staff nurse, said she felt immense joy and happiness, reiterating that she and her colleagues are often discriminated in the workplace because of their different faiths, and do not receive proper salaries, especially in private hospitals, even though they work more than any other member of the staff.

“I've been working as a nurse for 25 years but I've never been treated like this before. The parish priest gave us bouquets of flowers as a token of love because he admires our services and appreciates our role," she said.

“I assure you that I will continue to serve God's people with true zeal, because we think that He has assigned us this role and put us to serve the people.”

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