Rubina Bibi (38) is a Catholic widow and mother of five. She lives in Sargodha, Pakistan. In 1998, she married Boota Masih, who has since died. Today, she lives in a dilapidated house, which has only one room, and which lacks basic necessities. She has no regular income, though she works as a maid, earning just enough to provide meals for her children. She worries about their health and security but cannot afford a better home. Rubina’s story provides a snap shot of the life of an impoverished Christian in Pakistan.
“My name is Rubina Bibi. My husband’s name was Boota Masih. I belong to the Catholic Church and was baptized by a priest in the Sargodha parish. My husband was a laborer and received daily wages; after we married, we lived in a rental home.
“We survived very poor conditions. My first daughter, Rimsha, was born after two years of marriage; after her, we had four more daughters. My husband died suddenly of a heart attack prior to the birth of our fifth child. At the time, my eldest was only 12.
“After my husband’s death, life became harder, more laborious. It was very difficult to raise our children without his support, so I decided to get out of the house and found work as a maid. Being a woman, I face many hurdles and challenges while on the job; it is hard to provide necessities for the family.
“My children were studying in a nearby school, but they were expelled because I could not afford the tuition payments. I looked for other schools in different areas of the city and found one run by Pakistan’s Presbyterian Church. They offered a free education and access to hostel facilities.
“With the help of a local pastor, my children were admitted to the school, and my request for access to the hostel facilities was approved. But my desire for a son remained a source of distress; that longing was fulfilled when my brother gave me his newborn boy to raise.
“To provide meals for the family, I work from 9AM to 5PM, but I do not have enough for our rent. We no longer receive help from our local pastor, and my home is in bad condition; the owner of our house will not pay for its reconstruction.
“I ask for your prayers and God’s encouragement, and that my children, with their education, will one day be able stand on their own two feet.”
Through original reporting, Aid to the Church in Need aims to give donors a glimpse at the lives of ordinary Christians living out their faith in often very challenging circumstances. These stories give a human face to the persecuted Church around the world, so many of whose faithful suffer anonymously.
With picture of Rubina and her daughters and adopted son (© ACN)
Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.