In the Philippines Marist Sisters are found ministering in Davao. It is always a joy for the sisters when they are able to connect with other members of the Marist Family. Recently they welcomed new members of the Marist Fathers community
The Sisters in the Philippines engage in a number of ministries that see them reaching out to bring hope and dignity to others. Their ministry includes spiritual and pastoral support in their local parish, dental services for those in jail, Planning support for ex-inmates and reaching out to those impacted by a recent earthquake.
The Leaders of the four Marist Sisters Units in the Asia-Pacific Region met recently in Davao, The Philippines. Srs Catherine (Australia), Jane Frances (Aotearoa-New Zealand), Lavinia (Fiji) and Sheila (the Philippines) spent a week together focusing on issues such as Marist Life and mission, formation at all stages of life, sharing of resources, developing leadership skills and mutual support for those in leadership. While in Davao the sisters also visited Balay Banaag (a hostel administered by the Marist Sisters) and participated in a Sunday Eucharist at the local jail where members of the Marist family, including our Sisters, minister.
Each year for the nine days leading up to the feast of St Peter Chanel, Marists throughout the world pray through the intercession of St Peter Chanel for vocations to the Marist Family.
St Peter Chanel, a Marist Father, was in the first group of Marist missionaries to Oceania. Peter arrived in futuna in November 1937. During his lifetime Peter saw little success in his work. During his first six month on Futuna he baptised only one Futunian – a dying child. Early in the morning of April 28, 1841, Fr. Peter was wakened from sleep and clubbed to death, his skull split by the axe of a Futunian warrior. He was thirty-eight years old. He was the first martyr of Oceania and the first Marist to be canonised.
You are invited to join us in praying that young people of today may, like Peter Chanel, respond generously to God’s call to follow Christ as Mary did. Download the novena prayer here.
The Marist Sisters, Marist Laity and Marist Fathers led the joyous celebration of the Feast of Santo Niño, the patron of the Davao City Main Jail Chapel . This is an annual religious and cultural festival. Devotion to the Santo Niño (Holy Child), an image of Jesus as a small boy typically dressed as a king, is a mainstay of Philippine Catholic life.
It was with a sense of deep gratitude to God and to Mary that the Marist Sisters celebrated the 20th anniversary of their presence in the Philppines. It was a special joy for the Sisters that Congregation Leader Sr Grace Ellul was present for this celebration. Members of the Marist Family and family and friends of the Sisters joined with them in celebrating a Mass of thanksgiving. All the Sisters who have been part of this journey were remembered, particularly Torika and Vero, the valiant pioneers. Let us pray for the Marist Sisters currently ministering in the Philippines as they imitate Mary by reaching out to those in need.
Davao’s Balay Banaag Center is now in the care of the Marist Sisters. Balay Banaag offers residential care to girls who have been abused or at risk. Up until now it has been run by Talikala Inc. – a local NGO whose goal is to improve the quality of life of women prostitutes and survivors of prostitution. The Marist Sisters have worked with Talikala for years. So when it became difficult for Talikala to continue the management of Balay Banagg the director turned to the Sisters for help. With the enthusiastic support of the local Marist Fathers, the Marist Mission Centre, Marist Laity Australia and our Congregation, the handover took place on 31 May 2018.
Sr Monida Lum writes:
“On May 31, the Sisters of the Unit and the staff of Talikala Inc, were joined by members of the Marist family and family members of the resident girls for the handing over of the management of Balay Banaag.
Sr Lilibeth and Sr Edna had spent many weeks preparing for this day! The two house parents and the girls who reside in the center were happy and excited. The center was beautiful and welcoming. Everything was spick and span! The visitors-guests were impressed! Father’s Fernando Ingente,sm and Cleopas,sm (from Solomon Islands) and Br Mark,fms also came to share the joy.
Mass for the feast of the Visitation was well prepared. Fr Roque presided. The children did the singing including the responsorial psalm! The Parish organist accompanied the singing. After Mass, Fr. Roque blessed the “new look” center with the additional outside kitchen and laundry areas. With the children with lit candles, and the guests, in tow, he led the procession from room to room, blessing both the inside and the outside.
Then it was lunch!!! Fr Fernando prayed the grace before meals. The queue was long and slow moving! The caterers had provided many scrumptious dishes of main meal. Then there was dessert and drinks. Not to forget the delicious roast pork, Talikala had given two roast pigs! “
We ask God’s blessings on Sr Lilibeth, Director of Balay Banaag, and on her supporting community as they minister in Mary’s name.
It has long been a tradition within the Marist Family that we pray to St Peter Chanel for vocations. On this the feast of St Peter Chanel, 28th April, we invite you to join with us in prayer. May we all have a deeper commitment to our vocation as Christians and also pray for vocation to the priesthood and religious life.
May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church,
watch over each tiny seed of a vocation
in the hearts of those whom the Lord calls
to follow him more closely.
May she help it grow into a mature tree,
bearing much good fruit
for the Church and for all humanity.
St Peter Chanel, you left your homeland
to proclaim Jesus.
Like you, may our lives bring forth
a witness of joyful commitment to Jesus.
Call forth from our midst
many workers for the Gospel,
so God’s love may reach the ends of the earth.
We ask this prayer through Jesus our brother. Amen.
The United Nations General Assembly recognizes that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that it cannot be attained in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms. On 26 November 2007, the General Assembly declared 20 February will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice. The theme for 2018 World Social Justice Day is Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice. In his message for World Social Justice Day, International Labour Organisation(ILO) Director-General, Mr. Guy Ryders said “Migrant workers, like all workers, are entitled to fair treatment and fair treatment for migrant workers is also key to preserving the social fabric of our societies and to sustainable development.”
Throughout the world Marist Sisters are committed to “accompanying by prayer – and where possible, our actions – all peoples in situation where life is at risk'” (General Chapter 2015). In the Asia Pacific Region sisters are actively working to be a voice for refugees and asylum seekers and for women, men and children who have been trafficked or exploited in situations of forced labour.
On the feast of the Epiphany, Marist Sisters under 60 years of age gathered in Senegal, West Africa. Travelling from travelling from Australia, Brazil, England, Fiji, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines and including Sisters already in West Africa this was a meeting of minds and hearts, an opportunity to share experiences and dream together. Over a period of about four weeks participants reflected together on themes such as Contemplative Dialogue, Balance and Self Compassion, Leadership and Resilience, Vision and Prophetic Witness. While experiencing the rich culture of West Africa there was also time for the participants to share their own cultural heritage. All participants agreed the experiences they shared helped them to grow together as a group and to deepen even further their sense of Mission and of the Spirit of Mary.