HI Partner Story – Sister Pauline Quinn, OP

In November 2018, CEO was honored to have invited the legendary hero from the U.S., Sister Pauline Quinn OP, to Hong Kong for 13 days. CEO and Sister Pauline met with government officials and non-profit organizations to share the benefits of Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI). At that time, Sister Pauline had cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. The fact that she was willing to drag her weak body across oceans to Hong Kong showed her firm conviction that “animals” could greatly benefit people. Although the idea was “new” to Hong Kong, she shared our vision to help people here through AAI’s proven means.

Sister Pauline was initially named Kathleen. She ran away from home at a young age due to family problems and sexual assaults. Sadly, Kathleen encountered numerous abuses and rapes during her displacement and suffered significant physical and mental trauma. The anguish led her to severe self-abuse and eventually self-withdrawal. Until later, Kathleen got the help of a nun, and a policeman pitied her and gave her a retired police dog, Joni. Joni’s unconditional love, companionship and protection for Kathleen gave her a sense of security, the connection of love, and the dignity of a person for the first time in her life.

Henceforth Kathleen’s heart recovered miraculously. She then became a nun, known as Sister Pauline. Full of gratitude, she determined to help the most helpless and forgotten. Because of this healing experience from her dog, in 1981, Sister Pauline founded the first “Prison Dog Rehabilitation Program” in Washington DC, USA. She believed dogs could also transform the scarred lives of inmates. The positive effects of the program inspired many to follow. To date, there are more than 250 similar programs across the U.S. To Sister Pauline, “dog” is like a mirror reflection of “God” (the reversed spelling of dog is God), who can also give people unconditional love and acceptance.

Sister Pauline rested in peace on March 13, 2020, at the age of 77. She lived out her convictions to the full and was committed to helping people in desperation worldwide. Her footsteps covered Bosnia, the Persian Gulf, Angola, Ethiopia, Somalia, Haiti, and other low and wartorn area. She left the world with precious treasures, including every life she touched as well as her spirit of perseverance and “other-centeredness.”