Ruth Pfau

Ruth Pfau
روتھ فاؤ
Sister Ruth Pfau.jpg
BornRuth Katherina Martha Pfau
(1929-09-09)9 September 1929
Leipzig, Germany
Died10 August 2017(2017-08-10) (aged 87)
Karachi, Pakistan
Resting placeGora Qabaristan, Karachi
MonumentsDr. Ruth K.M. Pfau Hospital
NationalityGerman, Pakistani
Other names"Pakistan's Mother Teresa"
Alma materUniversity of Mainz
OccupationNun, physician, writer
Known forFounder of Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre
Notable workNational Leprosy Control Program in Pakistan
Ramon Magsaysay Award

Dr Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau HI, RM, HP, NQA, SQA[1] (9 September 1929 – 10 August 2017) was a German-born Pakistani[2] physician and nun of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She moved from Germany to Pakistan and devoted more than 50 years of her life fighting leprosy in Pakistan.

Known as "Pakistan's Mother Teresa", Pfau contributed in establishing 157 leprosy clinics across Pakistan,[3] that treated over 56,780 people.[4]

Early life

Pfau was born on 9 September 1929[5] in Leipzig, Germany, to Lutheran Protestant parents.[6][7] She had four sisters and one brother. Her home was destroyed by bombing during World War II.[8] Following the post-war Soviet occupation of East Germany she escaped to West Germany along with her family, and chose medicine as her future career.[9] During the 1950s, she studied medicine at the University of Mainz.[10] During this time, Pfau met several times with a Dutch Christian woman, who was a concentration camp survivor and currently dedicated her life to "preaching love and forgiveness". After "her life-changing experience", Pfau left "a romantic association" with a fellow student, got involved in discussions in the Mainz's philosophy and classical literature department.[7] After completing her clinical examination, Pfau moved to Marburg to carry on her clinical studies. Then she was baptized as an Evangelical Protestant in 1951, before her conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1953.[11][12] Pfau admitted that she learned the "courage of being human" from Saint Thomas Aquinas through Josef Pieper's writing.[13] There she joined a Catholic parish, and she was greatly influenced by Romano Guardini's The Lord in this period.[7]

In 1957,[12] she travelled to Paris and joined the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, a Catholic order.[7] She said, "When you receive such a calling, you cannot turn it down, for it is not you who has made the choice. ... God has chosen you for himself."[12] The order later sent her to southern India; however, in 1960,[12] a visa issue meant she became stuck in Karachi.[14] She travelled to various parts of Pakistan[15] and across the border to Afghanistan[16] to rescue patients who were abandoned by their families or locked in small rooms for a lifetime.

Other Languages
العربية: روث بفاو
Bân-lâm-gú: Ruth Pfau
català: Ruth Pfau
čeština: Ruth Pfau
Deutsch: Ruth Pfau
español: Ruth Pfau
فارسی: روت پافو
français: Ruth Pfau
galego: Ruth Pfau
ગુજરાતી: રૂથ ફાઉ
हिन्दी: रूथ फ़ॉ
Bahasa Indonesia: Ruth Pfau
Nederlands: Ruth Pfau
norsk: Ruth Pfau
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਰੂਥ ਫ਼ਾਓ
پنجابی: رتھ فاؤ
polski: Ruth Pfau
português: Ruth Pfau
Simple English: Ruth Pfau
سنڌي: رُٿ فائو
اردو: رتھ فاؤ
Tiếng Việt: Ruth Pfau