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Province of Pakistan: new Leadership Team

January 2021

The province of Pakistan celebrated with joy the installation of a new provincial team. The online consultation process leading up to it had begun in the first week of January with Sr. Deepthika Silva and Sr. Roshni Barla as its facilitators.

After a period of prayer, reflection and discernment, Sr. Victoria Rehmat is appointed as the new Provincial.

Sr. Victoria is assisted by four councilors: Sr. Genevieve Ram Lal, Sr. Samina Anwar, Sr. Clara Sharif and Sr. Maria Shaukat.

The new team was installed online, during a meaningful prayer service at the provincialate, Lahore, on 12th January 2021. The Superior General, Sr. Lucy Jacob, made the appointment on-line from Brussels. The members of the General Council, those Sisters of the province who could not be present in Lahore, Sr. Jamila Hameed (IAN, Philippines), Sr. Noreen Fazal (Melle, Belgium) and the community members of the Generalate also attended the installation, virtually.

It was the first time in the Congregation that a consultation process and the installation of a Leadership Team took place virtually.

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From left to right: Sr. Maria Shaukat, Sr. Clara Sharif, Sr. Samina Anwar, Sr. Genevieve Ram Lal and Sr. Victoria Rehmat


Perpetual profession in D.R. Congo

7th November, 2020

After their tertianship, the junior sisters of Saint-Bernard Province dispersed to the different communities of Saint-Vincent Province. Everything was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Invaded by fear, they wondered how it would end. When the long-awaited lockdown end arrived on August 15, the sisters travelled to Kinshasa on August 17. Although they were happy to return to Kinshasa, they were looking forward to receiving the response of the Generalate.

As they tested negative for Coronavirus in Lubumbashi, they were granted permission to spend 10 days with their families. On 20 August, each of them received their letter of assignment and joined their respective communities. This event taught them patience, endurance and trust in God’s providence. In the meantime, they were preparing thoroughly for D-Day. At the beginning of September, they received the response from the Generalate: all were admitted to pronounce their perpetual vows. Thus, their hearts were at peace. The week preceding the vows was very hectic because of the preparations for the feast.

D-Day came on 07/11/2020. Mass began at 9:30 am, presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, Metropolitan Bishop of Kinshasa. As this was the first time he had arrived in this parish since his appointment, he was welcomed with pomp and circumstance. Although the ceremony lasted 3h30, we did not feel tired: the joy was so immense! We also celebrated the Jubilees of Sister Antonia Tshibombo (70 years), Sister Marie Esther Mianda and Sister Marie Josée Lusakueno (25 years).

The festive meal was shared with all the guests.

JPEG - 91.9 kb From left to right: Sr. Emilie Keboka Vadiambu, Sr. Flosine Modiri Ashobuna, Sr. Honorine Bwese Mandjoko (Saint Vincent de Paul Province), Sr. Espérance Elisabeth Malanda Futi, Sr. Germaine Kuyinu Nkembisila, Sr. Aimée Mavula Kaba. Seated : Sr. Joséphine Mbongata Makashi (Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Province).

Sr. Marie-Madeleine Mujinga

First Profession in the Inter-Asian Novitiate (IAN), Philippines

15/10/2020

At the end of each pilgrimage, what a joyful moment to belong to the Potter! Wonderfully moulded during years by God, we proclaim: “Great is the Lord, most worthy of praise and His deeds are beyond measure” (Psalm 145:3).

We were supposed to make our first profession together with the three Vietnamese Sisters who were getting ready for their final profession. We were looking forward to celebrating together with them our commitment to the Lord as SCJM. We expected that on the beautiful day of our first profession, our families and friends would join us in celebration and thanksgiving. We tried many times to travel back to Vietnam, but unfortunately we could not go, because of the travel restrictions due to the pandemic. We really felt upset about it.

In that situation, Sr. Lucy Jacob, our Superior General, gave us the permission to make our first profession in IAN. The IAN community discussed, planned and organized everything for the celebration. We experienced the joy, team spirit and gladness of each one of them in all these activities. Their hard work, effort, and energy-sharing enlivened us.

We cherish and appreciate the meaningful evening prayer service on 14th October with the image of “The Potter and the Clay”, and especially the celebration on 15th October 2020. The Eucharist was presided over by Fr. Alvin Chavez, our parish priest, and concelebrated by 3 religious priests from neighboring communities. Our vocation is a treasure gifted to us by God. We are called to bloom wherever we are planted and to joyfully bear witness to God’s mercy and love.

We enjoyed the beautiful and meaningful decorations of the house, the food, cultural program, etc. It was a joyful day, though we missed our Sisters and dear ones in Vietnam. The community is our family and all the religious and guests present are our fathers, mothers and siblings. The appreciation, wishes and encouragement of every one gave us a deep joy. Their loving presence was a blessing for us.

We are really thankful to God for our vocation and to all the Sisters and junior novices who made our profession day a memorable one for us. We would like to express our deep thanks to each of them, especially to our Sisters from Legaspi community, who joined us for the occasion, despite the long journey, the dangers and difficulties on the way. We ask God to shower His choicest blessings upon them and grant them the graces needed to accomplish Jesus’ mission on earth.

Srs. Teresa NGUYỄN Thị Thủy and Anna LÊ Thị Thúy

Perpetual Profession - Region Our Lady of La Vang, Vietnam

10/10/2020

Together with the SCJM family, the Region of Our Lady of La Vang, Vietnam, gives thanks to the Almighty God for the countless blessings He has been showering upon the three of us: Srs. Teresa Thuận, Maria Hạnh and Maria Loan, who readily said “Yes” to God, for the whole of our life, on October 10, 2020.

This grace-filled day of our Perpetual Profession was a significant milestone in our life as religious. Looking back at our journey, we realize that all through these years the Lord has been always at our side, keeping us ever in His loving arms. We deeply experienced His loving care through our sisters’ love and all the opportunities offered to us during our formative journey. We will never forget this blessed day, when we were enveloped with the vibration of love, prayer support, and wishes from different corners of the world.

The well-organized celebration and meaningful liturgy created an atmosphere of prayer and thanksgiving. The Eucharist began at 9h30, presided by Rev. Bishop Louis Nguyen Anh Tuan – Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saigon. He emphasized on the meaning of the final profession, saying that this covenant must bear fruits like the branches attached to the vine. It is only by abiding in His love that our lives will bear witness to His unending love and mercy to our world.

After the Eucharist, all were cordially invited for the fellowship meal in the parish hall. We all enjoyed the lively cultural program and delicious food. This successful day was the fruit of all the efforts, energy, time and collaboration of all the members of the Region. We would like to express our gratitude to Sr. Suman Anima Toppo, our Regional Superior, the regional team, all the sisters, postulants and aspirant for having made this day a memorable and remarkable one for us.

Sr. Maria PHAM Thi Phuong Loan

Video of the Profession :


Encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”

Dear Sisters,

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has signed his new Encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” on fraternity and social friendship in Assisi today, the 4th October, on the feast of his name-sake St. Francis.

In Pope’s own words, this encyclical is an exhortation “to recognize each other as brothers and sisters and to live accordingly in the common home that the Father entrusted to us.”

Inspired b St. Francis, the Pope calls us to “open fraternity … to recognizing and loving every person with a love without boarders … to encounter others in a way that is capable of overcoming all distance and every temptation to engage in disputes…”

The accompanying material offers you an introduction to this very timely exhortation. The text of the encyclical can be found on the official website of the Holy See (www.vatican.va). I would like to invite each of you to welcome Fratelli Tutti with open hearts and give it the importance it deserves.

May the message of this encyclical motivate each one of us toward that much desired fraternity and social friendship that our world needs today!

Sr. Lucy Jacob
Brussels
04 October 2020

Video on "Fratelli Tutti":

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June 24th celebration in Muanda - D. R. Congo

On the evening of 23rd June, a climate of recollection was recommended. The next morning, we woke up in joy. Everything seemed beautiful to us, and the song of the birds invited us to praise, to sing, and to admire the greatness and love of God towards us, his creatures. The 24th of June, an important date for the SCJM Congregation, commemorates the death of Father Peter-Joseph Triest, our founder.

For a number of years, in the D.R. Congo, and more particularly in the Province of St. Bernard, this commemoration has been crowned by the first religious vows of novices who finished their formation and the renewal of vows of young sisters in different communities. Since the Congolese population is obliged, since 19/03/2020, to live in lockdown because of COVID-19, in order to avoid any risk of contamination by this pandemic disease, this Wednesday 24/06/2020 was celebrated according to the initiatives and realities of each community.

The members of our community of Notre Dame d’Afrique in Muanda-sur-mer celebrated a thanksgiving Mass to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of religious vocation in a special way. In this way, each Sister celebrated the number of years of religious life that is proper to her: 61 years for Sister Christiane KAPINGA, 53 years for Sister Elisabeth ONGADI, 36 years for Sister Scholastica NGALULA, 30 years for Sister Jacqueline MVIKA, 29 years for Sister Jeanne Claudine MBUYI, 12 years for Sister Marcelline MAMBWE, 11 years for Sister Marie Reine BOKWE, 8 years for Sister Ivonne KUNDJI, and 2 years for Sister Madeleine MBIDI who also renewed her vows for one year. Mass was concelebrated by three priests from our parish.

Immediately after the morning Eucharistic celebration, we were all invited for breakfast. At 1:30 pm, the community shared a festive meal with the priests of the parish and two hospital officials.

It should be noted that the entire organisation was done in strict respect of the barrier gestures to avoid the spread of coronavirus. We felt and observed the joy that inhabited each one of us. Here are some pictures of the event:

 

 

Sr. Marcelline MAMBWE


Let’s take care of one another (22/07/2020)

Dear Sisters,

Given below is a message for all of us to take to heart, pray, reflect and personalise. It is addressed to us by the presidents of the UISG (Union of Superiors General – women’s section) and USG (men’s section).

The message centres around three key points: listening, concern, and care – a Scriptural answer for our life today, during these pandemic times.

I would like to invite you to spend some quality time with this message and make an appropriate response to this call.

Sr. Lucy Jacob

Brussels

___


Echo from the Generalate - 11/03/2020

- On 27th February, the community welcomed members of a commission who were to have a meeting at the Generalate with the objective of finding ways and means of fostering unity and communion within the European provinces and region. As
participants of this commission (named Unity Commission), there were two members from each of the three units. Co-ordinated by Sr. Roshni Barla, this was their fourth meeting from its inception in November 2018.

- A stage performance of the Passion of Jesus was organised by a group of health workers and patients of Beau Vallon, Saint-Servais on 01 March. Some members of the community went to see this play. It was a very creative and meaningful performance, staged in the auditorium of the hospital which was packed to its capacity.

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- While we wait for the arrival of the two members of the International Community from Africa, the two others who are already here are now busy learning Flemish. The Community of Melle has happily welcomed them and Sr. Martine Krichel is spending some valuable time to initiate them into a new language. Inserted into a Flemish speaking community, they are having a wonderful chance to pick up the language. Both the teacher and the students seem to be very serious and hard-working while the Sisters of the community accompany them lovingly and warmly.

- On 7th March, the community had the joy of welcoming some of the Ursulines of Tildonk: the Superior General, Sr. Bimla Minj, and community. They spent a few hours with us and their presence was a source of much life and joy. A meal together and a walk in the gardens added much vigour to the visit.


Echo from the Generalate - 24/02/2020

- News from Vietnam: Sr Suman Anima, Regional Superior of the Region of Vietnam gave some information on the situation in the country. The population lives in fear of the coronavirus. Schools are closed, churches are almost empty during Eucharistic celebrations. Our Sisters do not go to work, they stay at home to read, do some gardening or tailoring...
We entrust to the Lord this great scourge caused by the new coronavirus and all its victims.

- The Generalate Community had the joy of welcoming Sr. Kim-Chi Duong’s mother on 15/02/2020. She came from France to visit her daughter and spend some time with the Community. During her stay, she visited the Grand Place in Brussels. The Community spent a good weekend with her before her return on Monday 17/02/2020. We thank her for her short stay with us as a kind, gentle and attentive mother. We wish her a safe return to France.

Sisters Sushila and Noreen


- Delegated by the Superior General, Sr. Deepthika Silva, General Assistant, left for the Philippines on 20/02/2020 to visit the novices at the Inter-Asian Novitiate. She will come back on 26/02/2020. We wish her a good mission with the youth which is the future of our Congregation.

- Arrival of two members of the International Community at the Generalate:
Sr. Noreen Fazal from Pakistan arrived first on 21/02/2020, followed by Sr. Sushila Toppo from Ranchi on 23/02/2020. They were warmly welcomed by the Generalate community who is happy to spend some time with them while waiting for the arrival of the other members. We give thanks to the Lord for the realisation of the dream of the existence of an International Community in Belgium. We welcome them and wish them success in their mission.


Echo - 10/02/2020

- Sr. Shama Nasreen Chan was given farewell from Generalate community on 1st February. A meaningful prayer service and Holy Mass were offered to express our gratitude for her selfless service. She left for Pakistan on 6th February. Our good wishes and prayers are for her future ministry in Province of Pakistan.

Sr. Shama lighting a candle in thanksgiving

- On 5th February, Fr. Michel Christiaens, the parish priest of St. Gilles, had arranged a get together for all the religious priests and sisters in the parish, including:

  • The servants of Our Lady of Fatima
  • The Carmelites
  • The Missionaries of Charity
  • The Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary
  • The Daughters of Mary
  • The Scalabrinian Missionary Sisters
  • The Consecrated Sisters of the Community of the Word of Life
  • The Community of Most Holy Providence (priests and sisters)
  • The Secular Institute of St. John the Baptist
  • The Spiritans
  • The Xaverian missionaries of Yarumal
  • The Scheutist missionaries (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
  • And a consecrated virgin.

About 45 were present for the occasion. It includes religious sisters, priests and lay people who help in the parish or in the mission. There was Holy Eucharist followed by festive meal. It was a very intercultural gathering as we are from different countries. All the participants were happy to meet and to know one another.

Celebration of World Day For Consecrated Life in St Gilles parish

- Sr. Lilly Pallipurathu from Ranchi Province is in Rome, following a program for formators which is arranged by UISG. The course began on 3rd February and will finish by June, 2020. We wish her a very fruitful stay in Rome.

- In Kimpese, Congo novice Sophie-Vianney Kaj made her first profession on 2nd February, 2020. Congratulations dear Sophie and best wishes for the years ahead in religious life!

Sr. Sophie-Vianney Kaj

Back to IAN

On Wednesday 22/01/2020, Sisters Fatima Peiris, Sushma Tirkey and the novices returned to IAN from Manila and found their house and garden covered with ashes from the volcanic eruption.

Immediately, they started to clean up the house and called some workers to remove the ashes from the roof. Though four men worked for the whole day, they did not throw away the ashes collected on one side of the roof. Sunday night, there was a heavy rain. The gutters were blocked due to the ashes, causing the mud and water from the roof to fall inside the house. The laundry, novices’ toilets and bedrooms were dirty with the mud. The laundry roof has come down a little.

There is a lot of damage that needs to be attended to immediately. Sr Fatima is trying to contact the contractor who built the house to get the roof and house repaired and painted.

Please continue to support our Sisters and novices by your prayers. Thank you!


News from Inter Asian Noviciate

Taal volcano, a volcano in the Philippines, has begun spewing lava, triggering earthquakes and emitting huge plumes of ash that have spread across the island of Luzon and beyond.

Ash began falling on Sunday, with 8,000 people being evacuated from the area near the Taal volcano which is located on an island south of the capital city Manila.
Scientists think a bigger eruption could happen soon.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology has warned that 450,000 who live near by are in danger if the volcano erupts as predicted.

Our Inter Asian Noviciate is about 15 km from the Taal volcano. Our Sisters and novices have evacuated this Wednesday 15/01/2020 afternoon to Manila. They will stay with the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception of Casters (CIC) there until the situation is better.

We kindly request your prayers for our Sisters and the people affected by the eruption of this volcano.

IAN garden covered with ashes from the volcano:

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News Update

Situation of COVID-19 in India and Pakistan

LEAD


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