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Pakistanis mourn Sister Ruth Lewis, who cared for children with disabilities

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Sister Ruth Lewis, a Pakistani nun who dedicated her life to helping underprivileged people with disabilities, died Monday following coronavirus complications.

Sister Ruth, head of Dar-ul-Sukun, a Karachi home for children with disabilities, died at age 77 at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi July 20. She was sent to hospital July 8 and placed on a ventilator after contracting the coronavirus.

She was a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King and helped establish Dar-ul-Sukun in 1969 alongside Sr. Gertrude Lemmens, a Dutch nun who founded the organization. Lewis led the organization after Lemmens’ death in 2000.

“She took care of such children all her life. The children whom their own families abandoned, children who were called monsters because of deformities and chronic disability, children whose sight could traumatize a layman, children whom people visited to cherish their fully functional body and brain,” Dar-ul-Sukun said in a July 21 statement on Facebook.

“But Sister Ruth became their mother. They were not objects of misery and charity to her but her own children, each unique. She worked tirelessly to make their personality. In such a world where people hire maids and nannies to clean the mess of their own children, she wiped their bums and noses with bare hands.

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“She truly was the mother of forgotten ones. No one can fill the void she has left.”

"All our children, nuns and staff are heartbroken as we have lost a huge part of us. Please pray for the children to whom she has been a mother, for the nuns for whom she was a sister and a true inspiration and for all the staff who love her and will each day try to walk in her footsteps," the home said.

"Her services to humanity and to the destitute, severely disabled children and elderly, socially displaced girls and boys is remarkable. Her service spans around 51 years."

Murtaza Wahab, a spokesman for the Sindh provincial government, said Sr. Ruth’s “selfless contributions to our society will always be remembered and cherished.”

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