A Mass of thanksgiving was offered for the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill as they marked 60 years of ministry in Pakistan. The liturgical gathering occurred Sept. 15 in Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel at the sisters’ motherhouse in Sparkill.
“What began as an invitation from the Dominican Friars in New York to Mother Kevin Sullivan to participate in building the Church in Pakistan grew into a life-changing mission—a true leap of faith for many sisters from the Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary,” the religious congregation said in a statement.
Sister Margaret Palliser, O.P., a member of the congregation’s leadership team, told CNY that the anniversary Mass “gave us the opportunity to celebrate the 60 years of faith-filled ministry of our sisters, and the many blessings that have come to us through wonderful relationships that have been built between our sisters and the people” in Pakistan.
Father Gregory Doherty, O.P., who shares with the sisters a history of ministry in Pakistan, was the principal celebrant of the Mass. He is a priest in residence at Holy Innocents parish in Pleasantville. Father Doherty described how on Sept. 12, 1958, eight sisters departed on the SS Constitution for Karachi, Pakistan, with the intention to serve as they were needed in Bahawalpur and Loreto in the Diocese of Multan.
At the Mass were Sister Anne Tahaney, O.P., and Sister Rose Patrice Sasso, O.P., both of whom were among the original eight nuns who ventured to Pakistan in 1958. Sister Anne, who recalled challenges related to learning the native Urdu language, said, “The language of love and concern was spoken and clearly understood by all.”
Sister Rose Patrice recalled the hospitality and respect the sisters were shown when they arrived to open an English school for Muslim children and Urdu schools for Christian children. The congregation said that “the seed planted in 1958 has borne fruit,” as 19 native-born women now serve as Sparkill Dominican nuns in Pakistan.