Home News Community Honour for ‘outstanding’ Irish nun for lifetime of teaching

Honour for ‘outstanding’ Irish nun for lifetime of teaching

An Irish nun who attended convent in London has been awarded a prestigious medal from an English university for a lifetime of teaching in inter-faith schools in Pakistan.

Sister Berchmans was awarded the Benedict Medal by St Mary’s University, London in recognition of a lifetime of “teaching and promoting interfaith relations” in Pakistan at a ceremony in Westminster Cathedral this week.

The medal, which is the University’s highest honour, was presented to Sr Berchmans by the Archbishop of Westminster and Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, during a St Mary’s Summer Graduation Ceremony.

Born in Co. Clare in 1930, Sr Berchmans joined the Convent of Jesus and Mary in 1951 in Willesden, London.

The award is in recognition of almost 70 years of teaching, most of which was spent in Pakistan, where she taught Muslim, Christian, Parsi and Hindu children at the Convents of Jesus and Mary in Lahore, Murree and Karachi.

In 2012, while she was Principal of the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi, Sr Berchmans was awarded the Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam, one of the highest civilian awards given by the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The award citation celebrated her “constant adherence to the call of duty over a span of 59 years, which has made Sister Berchmans a living example to emulate”.

During her teaching career, Sr Berchmans taught and inspired thousands of students, including the late Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, and renowned MIT Astrophysicist Nergis Mavalvala, who was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics.

Sr Berchmans is the fifth recipient – and the first woman – to be presented with the Benedict Medal.

- Advertisement -

President Michael D. Higgins said that, through “words and actions, Sr Berchmans has not only inspired her students but also encouraged those she met to make positive and lasting contributions to society”.

Adrian O’Neill, the Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, said that the Irish government is “acutely conscious of the record of service and achievement overseas of many Irish citizens across our diaspora” and noted how Sr Berchmans is an “outstanding exemplar of such service”.

You might also be interested in this article

- Advertisement -