February 11, 2017
I am back in Rome after 3 wonderful weeks in our mission in the Philippines. That’s a long way away if you’ve never made the trip! For those of you who have never been there, I will share a little of my experience. For those of you who have been there, perhaps I can remind you of some of the memories from your visit. First, their lovely chapel evidences a very Filipino environment. For example, picture #1 is the tabernacle, the Lord’s “house” is a typical native Filipino construction. The benches, lectern and stands all have the simulated bamboo that you see on the stand supporting the tabernacle. Next is the mission itself: 14 lovely women and girls are in residence there with educational programs either in Margaretha Home or in a local school: elementary, high and vocational. Picture #2 was taken as they performed for SCC Day and Chinese New Year. Twice we went shopping at one of the many malls near our mission. The residents know what they need and are helped, not only by staff, but by the store employees. Picture #3. I also had the opportunity to experience the Filipino culture: eating fresh coconut (picture #4) and, for Chinese New Year, making Chinese dumplings with Sister Clementia who lives with our Sisters during the week and ministers at Margaretha Home. Picture #5. I visited the inactive Volcano Taal and watched the residents and staff perform the traditional Filipino dance, tinikling, picture # 6. If you have the time, I can share with you on my next visit, the extravagant malls and the dire poverty. The residents of Margaretha Home are truly blessed to have the Sisters and staff who love them and have given them a chance for a productive and spiritually grounded life.
While here in Rome, I have been very fortunate to work with some very dedicated people in the area of peace and justice. I am attaching a summary that I did with reference to an area of interest of mine since I have been part of the Integrity of Creation Work Group. Lead by Sister Sheila Kinsey, FCJM and Father Felix Mushobozi, CPPS, the Work Group is a Committee of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission, an organization of the USG (Union of Superiors General [men]) and the UISG (International Union of Superiors General [women]). I would be very happy for any feedback on the article I wrote or the video that is suggested as part of the article. If you are aware of any activity by companies engaged in mining and their response to the needs of the environment, people as well as resources, I would be happy to have that information. Prayer is always an appropriate response to what is happening in the environment.
I am also part of a group preparing for the annual Lenten Prayer Day for English speaking religious here in Rome. The day is scheduled for March 4 and will be led by Daughter of Saint Paul, Sister Bernadette Reis. It will be a time of Lectio Divina with the title “Before the Burning Bush—Women on Fire with God’s Love”. The day includes the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Liturgy for the First Sunday of Lent.
Also on the calendar is the invitation by the German speaking group of UISG to join them once a month for Dance Prayer. The group has been doing this for some time and has now extended the opportunity for prayerful dance to all religious. I will let you know more after this Wednesday, the first gathering.
From March 8 to April 5, I will be in the States and have the opportunity to visit with all of you personally. I will spend 10 days in the Western Region as their Canonical Treasurer and then be in the East for the Spring Assembly. No need to add that I am looking forward to seeing all of you. With that in mind, I will close this communication.
With much love and asking a blessing for each of you as we approach the holy season of Lent,
Sr. Joanne - Philippines
The days of the Enlarge Council are over and most of the members have left for their respective provinces/regions. Now I must bring you up-to-date on the happenings here in Rome for myself and the Sisters living in Villa Paolina.
I see that my last update was prior to April 26 so there is all of May and a few weeks of June to share with all of you.
On May 7th the members of the Generlate visited the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. This was a friendly visit so we could see the smaller residence that the Sisters had moved into and share a building with another community.
Picture #1 is of Sister Ingeborg, the Superior General and our Sister Angelika. Of course, coffee and cake were
on the agenda! This is the Community whose Sisters haveattended Assumption College for Sisters.
In a previous Update I suggested that you watch the video “Flin Flom Flim Flam (Hudbay’s Hoax)” a documentary of the injustices perpetrated by this company and their plans to open a mine in Arizona. Here is another video that can also be viewed on YouTube, also about the mining industry and its effects on the people in the area and the environment: “Eyes That See, Hearts That Feel.” This video is in Spanish but with English subtitles. In our JPIC meetings here in Rome, the effect that mining, whether it be precious metals, gas or oil, has on the environment is often the topic of discussion. The process often pollutes the water supply in the area but even worse, the lives of people are changed as their land is often taken from then when they do not wish to move and the labor used in the mines is often trafficked labor.
On May 13 the parish across the street, our parish church, celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. (Picture #2 of the statue is inside the church). It is the Blessed Sacrament Fathers who staff the church. There were two Masses celebrated that day—one in the morning and one in the evening—with many people attending. After the evening Mass, the parishioners gathered for a pot luck supper in the garden of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers. (Picture #3 gives some idea of the venue. Sister Clarentia made her famous pizza and here chats with one of the parishioners before the crowd descended on the food.)
Sister Angelika, Sister Maria de los Angeles and I attended an evening of music presented by the priests and seminarians at the Pontificium Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum (the house of studies for those speaking German and Hungarian). This took place on May 14th. The musical talent was superb and the choral music was lively and fun, even if we did not know what the words were. (Picture #4)
A second concert took place on May 19th at the Church of St. Ignatius. This consisted of a full orchestra of young musicians….I might add VERY talented. At this concert there was also a group of singers which performed. Sister Angelika, Sister Adalberta and I attended this concert.
As a gift for Sister Angelika’s 40th jubilee and in thanksgiving for Sister’s many years of service in the Generalate, the members of the General Council made a pilgrimage to Mentorella. (Picture #5 might give you an idea of how high we were at the monastery.)On the way we stopped at San Pastore belonging to the Pontificium Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum and viewed the famous “Mahl der Sünder” by Sieger Köder. (Picture #6) Sister Angelika could give a wonderful explanation of the picture. Google explains it well.
On May 21, the Sisters of Villa Paolina joined the annual Associates’ pilgrimage—this year to Manoppello and Sulmona. Just to whet your appetite about Manoppello, here is some brief information. Much more could be found by googling “Manoppello”. “According to local tradition, an anonymous pilgrim arrived in Manopello in 1508 with the cloth wrapped in a package. The pilgrim gave the package to Dr. Giacomo Antonio Leonelli, who was sitting on a bench in front of the church. The doctor went into the church and unwrapped the package, discovering the veil. He immediately left the church to find the pilgrim but could not trace him. The veil was owned by the Leonelli family for a century. In 1608, Pancrazio Petrucci, a soldier married to Marzia, a member of the Leonelli family, stole the veil from his father-in-law’s house. A few years later, Marzia sold it for 400 scudi to Doctor Donato Antonio De Fabritiis to pay a ransom demand for her husband who was a prisoner in Chieti. The veil was given by De Fabritiis to the Capuchins who hold it today. This history has been documented by Father Donato da Bomba in his “Relatione historica” and is based on research that had been started in 1640.” The day included a meal at Costa del Gallo. Everyone enjoyed the day very much. (Picture #7 is of the Face of Christ as it appears on the veil). We then travelled to Sulmona “the confetti” capital of the world---not confetti as we know it but what we call “Jordan Almonds” arranged as flowers. Picture #8 will give you some idea of them.
On May 16, I attended an all-day workshop on “Conflict Analysis for Religious”. The program was sponsored by the US Embassy to the Vatican and led by members of the US Institute of Peace (USIP) from Washington, DC. Although it was directed to religious communities working in areas of the world where violence is an everyday occurrence, the means of conflict resolution could be adapted to any situation of conflict. Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love gave a presentation via closed circuit video as she could not travel having broken her foot! You may recognize her name as a writer for America.
This update has gotten long enough. You are probably wishing I would come to an end. And so I will and pick up with June on my next “visit” with you.
May the summer months bring some refreshment and relaxation. I hope to see all of you in either August or September.
My love and prayers come along tucked inside this letter.