Enduring grace by Dawn Editorial

WITH the passing of Sister Ruth Lewis, who succumbed to complications caused by Covid-19 on Monday, our country has lost yet another luminary to this unrelenting pandemic. The loss of the septuagenarian nun is all the more acute for some of Karachi’s most marginalised, the community of people with disabilities for whom Darul Sukoon represents a sanctuary from a cruel and unwelcoming world. Since it was founded 51 years ago by the sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King, Sister Ruth had dedicated her life to the centre’s mission to provide refuge to and uplift the lives of children and the elderly abandoned by family and society alike. To generations of children with disabilities, she was a mother figure. Even in her final days, Sister Ruth tended to their needs with selflessness and compassion, caring for the 21 children who have been quarantined with Covid-19 until she herself tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

In announcing her tragic demise, the centre acknowledged the Sindh government’s support in not only covering Sister Ruth’s hospitalisation expenses, but also providing Darul Sukoon with funds, supplies and assistance to set up a quarantine facility on the premises — as it should. Where public services are lacking, our governments have an obligation to support the private initiatives that are filling the void. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are all dependent on each other, even on those whose humanity we rarely tend to acknowledge. Then there are those few who, like Sister Ruth, always knew this fact, and who thus toil without consideration for recognition or remuneration in service of the most vulnerable. We must do better to model our society and state along their examples, and never take for granted the sacrifices of those who rushed to the front lines, as well as those who were always there. Sister Ruth represented the finest among us. The whole nation owes her a huge debt of gratitude.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2020

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