John Berchmans Conway

For other persons with this name, see John Conway.
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John Berchmans Conway, R.J.M. (born Bernadette Conway in 1929), usually known as Sister Berchmans, is a Roman Catholic religious sister and teacher who has been working in Pakistan for 60 years. In 2012 she was decorated by the Government of Pakistan for her services in education and promoting interfaith harmony.[1]

Early life

Conway was born in County Clare, Ireland. In 1951 she joined the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, founded by Claudine Thevenet in France in 1818, dedicated to caring for and educating the young and homeless. Very early, the congregation took on the task of education in other countries. The first Convent of Jesus and Mary in Pakistan was opened by four sisters in Lahore in 1876.[2] She was sent to Pakistan in 1953 at the age of 24.

Work in Pakistan

Conway has spent some 60 years teaching. Her passion has been teaching English, although she has also taught mathematics. She has taught girls in Jesus and Mary Convents in Lahore, Murree and Karachi.[2]

Conway completed her Diamond Jubilee, or 60th year, of religious profession in the Religious of Jesus and Mary in December 2011.[3]

Among Conway's notable students were Benazir Bhutto, the late Prime Minister of Pakistan, who was assassinated in 2007,[2] and Asma Jahangir, a noted human rights activist.[4]

In 2012 Conway was still serving as the Principal of the Convent of Jesus & Mary in Karachi.[1]


On 15 February 2012, the President of Pakistan approved conferment of the Sitara (Urdu: Star) class of the Nishan-e-Quaid-i-Azam award on Conway for her services in education and promoting interfaith harmony in Pakistan.[1]

On 25 March 2012, more than 600 people gathered at St. Anthony’s Church for a special Mass to celebrate the conferral of the country’s highest civilian award on Conway and the Rev. Robert McCulloch, S.S.C.[4]


  1. 1 2 3 "Jesus and Mary Convent principal to be honoured with Sitara-Quaid-e-Azam". The Express Tribune. February 15, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 West, Ed (20 January 2012). "Nuns in Pakistan inspire Peer". The Catholic Herald. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  3. Dawn, 16 January 2012 Archived January 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. 1 2 Gulzar, Ayyaz (March 27, 2012). "Government rewards Church people". UCANews.

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