For the approximately 120 visitors in the Burkardushaus the commemoration of the deceased Dr. Ruth Pfau a journey through time. Almost everyone had personal memories of the nun, physician and leprosy doctor who worked in Pakistan until her death, building a Pakistani team to carry on the work in her mind. September 9, 2019, would have been her 90th birthday, according to a press release.
Reason enough for the DAHW to invite the Ruth Pfau Foundation to a commemorative event for the leprosy doctor who has been supporting her for decades. Her successor, Mervyn Lobo, shared his trusting relationship with Ruth Pfau, her close work over the years, and her work today at the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center (MALC) in Pakistan’s metropolis Karachi. “In her spirit, we continue,” affirmed the MALC Managing Director and until her death on 10 August 2017, her closest confidant.
He met exactly the point because many of those present wanted to know how the “after” is specifically designed and lived. Because Ruth Pfau touched not only hearts but whole lives – at their places of work in Asia as well as with their many supporters in Germany, “said Lobo. He once again spoke of the very moving moment when the doctor, aged 65, packed her bags to retire.
Lobo and his team finally persuaded them to stay with the poorest of the poor and the many leprosy sufferers. There were only a few words, but they were enough to change her mind. “In our culture, daughters or sons can leave home to marry or live their own lives. But a mother may never leave the house, “Lobo told her then. “Otherwise everyone would ask,” What have you done wrong, that your mother is leaving you? “That was a view that moved Peacock deep inside her. Since then, she has never planned to leave the program she founded and the team.
DAHW employee Ernst Hirsch , who has been in retirement for several months, reported on the many trips he made to Pakistan for the DAHW. He considers the realignment of project work on-site, which has already begun under Pfau, to be a huge challenge today. He emphasized how well and constructively co-operation with Peacock took place and how the areas of inclusion and rehabilitation became priorities.
Harald Meyer-Porzky, Deputy DAHW Managing Director, was the guest of honor at the state funeral of Ruth Pfau with the former DAHW President Gudrun Freifrau von Wiedersperg. His emotional talk moved the visitors, remembering a state funeral of immense size, thousands of mourners, a convoy flanked and secured by armed forces and anti-terrorist units, and the great condolences during Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral of Karachi and at the funeral in the Christian cemetery of Karachi “She was a woman who has shaped my professional and also private life very strongly,” said the current CEO of the Ruth Pfau Foundation.