In the midst of the pandemic, the Philippine-Australia-Saipan-Taiwan Province (PIAUSATA) held the Enlarged Provincial Council Meeting last May 10-12, 2021 at the Provincial House, New Manila, Quezon City. It was participated by 20 Sisters: the Provincial Council, Finance Officer, Formators, School Principals and the Animators of the Communities. It was a joyful encounter of the Sisters who were connected on-line through the Zoom.
Sr Arsenia welcomed and introduced the work. What a joy to hear Sr Aminta Sarmiento who greeted us and encouraged us to continue on with our in our service to our brothers and sisters in the pastoral ministry especially in this time of Pandemic.
The 3 day meeting was so enriching because of the topics that were given. Since the Philippine Church is celebrating its 500 Years of Christianity, we listened on-line to the Topic “Gifted to Give” given by Most Rev. Pablo David, DD, Bishop of Caloocan. The Biblical text that was used was Matthew 10:7-8 “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” The Christian Faith is a gift to the Filipino people and therefore, we are called to be bearers of that gift.
On the second day of the meeting, Sr. Nelia Llanto shared some thoughts from the writings of blessed James Alberione about the Word of God. This is in connection with the Pauline Year of the Bible. She also shared the history of the year of the Bible.
On the third day Sr. Purisima Tañedo shared the topic: New Wine into New Wineskin. She elaborated and deepened her reflection by referring to the Biblical text from Luke 5:36-39. The substantial words from Fr. Founder were quoted: “Work on your soul, clean it from the bad herbs of the weeds, remove every defect and take care of it so that it will bear copious fruits: you yourselves, who offer yourselves to Jesus, are the wine he blesses” (Alberione, BP 1955).
After each talk the Sisters were encouraged to share their reflection and it was a good moment to listen to one another. To know the situation of the Province, the animator of each community shared their report, as well as the finance officer, the school principals and the formators. As a summary, Sr. Puri presented to us the journey of the Province during the Apostolic Year 2019-2020; 2020-2021.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Sisters were asked: What words would you like to bring home to our communities after these days of encounter? Responses: gratitude, joy, presence, hope, gifted, bearers of gifts, providence, giftedness, generosity, possibility, new wine, refreshed, being together.
We offer to the Lord what we have experienced these days and entrust to him our plans, our desires and hopes. We concluded the three day encounter in a moment of prayer where Sr. Sheila Mae Estremos made the renewal of her vows.
With joyful hearts we thank the Lord for the opportunity of being together and the possibility to keep in touch on-line. This encounter is an opportune time to renew our belonging to Jesus Good Shepherd, to the Church and to the Congregation, thanking the Lord for sustaining each one of us in our vocation and mission. We invoke the Lord of the harvest to send more vocations to the Church and to our Congregation.
Sr Teresita A. Sosa, sjbp