Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of Consecrated Life on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Lumen Gentium and of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis. The year begins on 30 November 2014 to 2 February 2016. The Church of the Philippines also declared this year as the Year of the Poor.
We celebrate this grace of being called to mission…of being called to love without measure…of being called to be Religious of Notre Dame of the Missions following the footsteps of Euphrasie Barbier, our foundress, by sharing our mission stories. These are stories of how we have been touched by God and how the Divine Missions continue to embrace our life and mission.
Sr. Kate O’Neill, RNDM works in Kuya Center for Street Children in Quezon City
Recently during Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines, he challenged us “to cry”. It is when our hearts are penetrated to the core and we feel our own vulnerability that we can transcend and transform. The street children of Manila challenge me “to cry”. They welcome me into their struggle, their pain and their joy. They have no pretense, no title, no home, sometimes no identity. Yet they are my “professors” in life. The “cry of the poor” must be my cry as well in seeking not only an identity and a home, but justice and a future full of hope for the children of the streets.
Sr. Wanda Syiemlieh, RNDM with children of Barangay RH2, Cotabato City
I was with the children in RH 2- Barangay, Cotabato City. I taught Values Education during my exposure from the University. When I first met these children they looked familiar already to me. During my encounter with them I taught them nothing but the Language of Love that could not block us from sharing our faith. They taught me in return how to Love God in every circumstance…to gently and faithfully serve God in the midst of conflict, brokenness, poverty and many faces of suffering. In my short encounter with these children I understood that Life is a gift…
…. of Celebration
Sr. Stella Thomas, RNDM with Kita Mae, a Menubo girl in Kulaman
Learning how to thread beads into ornaments
It was a memorable moment when I was with the beautiful talented Menubo people, who taught me to feel that each one of us, are special, and God made each one for a special purpose. They taught me to be patient in learning new things, their gentle silence invited me to follow a new art of feeling which evoked in me tenderness and compassion for God’s people.
Sr. Kyi Kyi Win, RNDM with Badadong, a baby whose mother died a month after he was born from a far-flung tribal community in Kulaman
This is Badadong. His mother died when he was one month old. He needed help. We gave him milk supplement and monitored his health. It is indeed an extraordinary experience to know that I could help in saving a life! It gives meaning to my religious-missionary life to be able to reach out to people who are in great need.
Sr. Claudia Stecker, RNDM (far right) with the women members of Sambayanihan, a micro-finance program
Our “Sambayanihan” microfinance program takes me weekly to Maly, Rizal, to the homes of entrepreneurial moms, making efforts to develop livelihood to sustain their families. This particular community is located in close proximity to the Marikina River, and, during the rainy season, it is one of the first areas affected by severe flooding. Homes are submerged in a mucky deluge up to the second storey several times each year. While I can barely imagine coping with the clean-up that follows and the effort to restore spoiled stock, I was deeply touched one day when one of our members spoke of how “blessed” they are, as, until this time, no lives have been lost due to flooding. The gratitude, faith, resilience and hope of so many of our members so often inspires me and teaches me, and I, too, am grateful.
Sr. Delma Barrientos, RNDM, a Subanen, with the Menubo beadworkers in Kulaman, Mindanao
Journeying with the Dulangan Menubo women in their struggles for basic human rights, self-determination and their struggles is indeed a joyful moment in my life. I am in communion with them in their search for sustainability. We as RNDMs continue to support them in their livelihood program and cultural enhancement.
Sr. Molly Mathew, RNDM with an applicant in the Dugtong Trabaho Program of Mt. Carmel Church, Quezon City
I am doing my ministry in Mt Carmel church twice a week. The ministry is called “dugtong trabaho” (bridge the employee and the employer). Many people come to look for a job which they can do and earn some money. In the same way many people come to hire some people to work in their houses. So “dugtong trabaho” is a meeting place for them.
What is amazing for me in this place is that the people who come to look for jobs are ready to do any kind of work and I see many of them are quite old, too. But still they want to work. Once the work is fixed between the employee and the employer, we give some values education. I am happy in this ministry and I do practice my Tagalog with the people.
Sr. Mercy Paje, RNDM with Sr. Helen Reynolds celebrating her 90th birthday
My ministry here in Ireland in the RNDM Dublin community is my studies and assisting our sisters, as needed. The majority of the sisters are elderly and they appreciate being helped in various ways. I have been fortunate since coming to Dublin to be able to share with the sisters their experience of missionary life. I marvel at their courage in going on international missions with little hope of returning to visit their families. Some of them spent up to 30 years without ever returning to their home land. In fact eight sisters from this community spent lengthy period of time in Kenya, while one sister was in India for over 20 years. There are 23 sisters in the community.
May the Holy Trinity bless you all and Euphrasie be with you always.
Sr. Petite Lao, RNDM with a tribal elder, learning how to play a musical instrument called “Lutang.”
Taken in 2006, this photo is very memorable for me… the way that I was held by Bebe as she tried to teach me to play a musical instrument. This is an iconic photo that constantly reminds me how it is to be with the indigenous peoples. To strive to empty my cup so I can receive…so that I can learn from their wisdom. To pray that I may have the grace to see what they see. It is very challenging and rewarding to live among the indigenous peoples.