Provinces

US Sisters, a fasting experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Lent the US Sisters of the Congregation decided that one of their  Lenten practices would be to stand each Monday in silent prayer for peace .  Before beginning our plan, the community sought collaboration with St. Catherine’s Parish in Mountain Lakes, NJ.,  by speaking with Fr. Jared who has been inviting his parishioners to join us SMICs in “proclaiming” this meaningful Lenten message.

In order to bring visibility to the message, we gather at the corner of our street (Pocono Road) where a rather busy passing of cars occurs at the noon time prayer-stand, to hold a banner proclaiming:  Lord, make us instruments of your Peace.

There have been a number of responses to the message including car horn beeps and hand signals of acceptance as well as looks or rather eyes turned aside  in possible embarassment and/or to avoid confrontation, etc.  To any and all of these passerbys, and to all peoples throughout  the world, we are sending vibes of peace and a hope that all become persons committing to be counter witnesses to violence so prevalent in our world.

The half hour prayer-stand takes place throughout the ending winter snows and rains or in the welcoming warming spring that is upon us at this time of the year.   Our Lenten fasting practice is one that is truly bringing us the blessing of the Lord.

Read More

A Day of Confirmation in Gobabis / Namibia

 

   by Sr. Francis

It was indeed a day of joy of peace. Parents, God-parents, Family and Friends were gathered here in Gunichas to celebrate this special day with us. Especially the newly confirmed candidates, 51 in total.  We were having His Excellency Archbishop Liborious N. Nashenda in our midst. The Mass was presided over by His Excellency  the Archbishop, our Parish Priest Fr. Raymond Shikesho, and the Deacon Michael Kasati, from Blauberg.

 

Introduction:

      In his homily his Excellency addressed mostly the newly confirmed candidates, reminding them of this memorable day in their lives and in their Christian journey. They should always live a life worthy to receive Christ. To lived in the spirit of love and hope. He was stressing God’s compassion and mercifulness.  That God will never reject us. We all should imitate God in His mercifulness by being kind and good to our brothers and sisters.  He encouraged us from John’s Gospel:   If we want to enter God’s kingdom:  “Love me by loving your brothers and sisters.  We should keep Gods commandments if we wish to remain in His peace.

 

They have been sent out (Like the early Apostles)

  • They should always be ready to proclaim the good news.
  • Not ever to abandon their faith.
  • To be always willing to participate in Church activities and Be proud to be Catholic
  • Sr. Emeresiana Hawanga (SMIC)                              
  • I would like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude for the chance I had to experience the Mission work of our two Brazilian Provinces. As you have been updated through our monthly report, I would really not have much to say because everything about the life in Brazil is in the previous reports.
  • Leaving my country to Brazil was a great excitement, the people in Brazil are so friendly and full of hospitality, I haven’t found myself as a foreigner but as a Brazilian native. Well, food was a bit different from Namibian food but I got adjusted to it, I loved the weather in Bahia the evergreen part of the country.
  • During this year we have visited the two provinces in Brazil and I have seen how the sisters are serious at work (pastoral), and I was touched. It surely costs a lot of energy and strength to run a hospital or school, I was inspired by their work and I was encouraged by their commitment in the mission work. Sisters are so lovely, to my surprise every community we visited, sisters welcomed us with gifts; sometimes I couldn’t find enough space because I always carried a small suitcase. My heart was moved when I arrived in Santarem, the place of our birth, the holy ground where our founders walked and worked around the Amazon River, only tears that express my feelings. All was just a leaning from our SMIC history but now I have seen, touched and smelled the freshness our history. Thanks for the opportunity.
  • Challenge: as we all know that the 2016-2017 common formation Asia was the dominant culture just to be honest with you; I got hard time to live among them especially after Sr. Beatrix’s departure to Namibia. I found myself in the air, but what I have always believed is that God is always with me. I have become more matured and stronger because I put all that I went through as positive; the more difficulties came in my way, the more I grew from the lower to the upper. I was able to handle things maturely and calmly. One of the things was due to cultural differences, good I had to bear the burden but I had been motivated by sayings of the leaders: “be aware and sensitive on other people’s values,“ especially when we learned about cultural sensitivity and community building given by Srs. Beatrix and Silvia.
  • My life became a bit delighted when we Sr. Veronica arrived, everything became better. She challenged everyone to live a real life, not an artificial one, and stirs us up to participate and contribute fully. Through her leadership skills she helped me to act positively and to be myself.
  • I am also thankful to my fellow sisters for being together with them during the common formation program. Through challenges that we went together, in diversity we have learned to leave together as SMIC sisters. We are blessed for been in an international Congregation because through that we become more aware of our culture and others cultures, customs and feelings of others as well. And that is how we show the world that we can live together as one family even though we have cultural differences. My thanks to my three formators Sr. Veronica, Silvia and Beatrix for accompanying me during this year and especially to my province/Namibia for giving me this opportunity and contribution to my stay in Brazil in different ways.    
  • My gratitude to our Generalate and to all who contribute to our common formation program, may God blesses you all.    
Read More

SMIC TEAM ADJUSTING, Angola

 2017 SMIC TEAM ADJUSTMENTS in the Angolan Mission

IMG_20161110_092624758

 

 

Prior to the return of  Sister Mirna Dias to Brazil in May, Sister Marivalda Ramos arrived in Angola to prepare herself to administer the School in the Tamba Village, as well as join the rest of the team of SMIC to serve the various parish ministries of Malange.   At this time, Sr. Marivalda updates us with her work specific to our educational ministry as it addresses the needs of youth.

IMG_20161217_155359808IMG_20161110_105316878

I will give thanks to the Lord all my life!

The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God has been present in Angola, Africa since 2012. The work is carried out together with the Franciscan brothers of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of Brazil.

Our missionary work here in the Angolan province of Malange comes in many forms. In education, we developed the mission with children and adolescents in a primary school located in the village of Tamba. As SMIC, we work in solidarity with the public education network in order to collaborate in quality of learning, as well as to promote the integrity of persons with the fundamental values of life, aimed  to promote a culture of peace and non-violence  in Angolan lands.

Last month we held a seminar at the Santo António School with students from the 3rd to 6th grade on two topics that we consider relevant to the reality here. Alcohol dependence and sexually transmitted diseases. Some of the students’ families, were in attendance at this seminar,  as they are active members of the institution and play a very important role in the development and quality of teaching.

Here in Angola, people start drinking  at a very young age becoming dependent or alcohol abusers   early in life. In the parish, I accompany a group of “ex-dependents” recently recovered from Hope Farm in Huambo. In their reports, they had contact with drugs while they were still adolescents.  The group also consists of adolescents and young people who still use alcohol and other drugs but who want to stop using.

With regard to the issue of sexually transmitted diseases, another challenge  in Tamba, is that of  adolescents with communicable diseases, mainly HIV, AIDS. AIDS is largely responsible for many cases of death here in the Malange province, according to a survey presented by the nurse speaker, Sister Olympia.

The mission entrusted to us here as SMIC, goes beyond education. On weekends we work with parish  formation, accompany  groups in the parish and villages. On Sundays we participate in Liturgy with the people. Sister Jane, (Chinese) accompanies Frei Luis in the villages on Saturdays, there,  she brings healing to the children and young people. On Sundays, the Brazilian sisters  celebrate together with the people in the villages near the school. On October 1st,  in the village of Utende, we took part in a  celebration of the  feast of their patron Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus. It was a celebration full of faith and devotion expressed in songs, liturgy in Kimbundu and Portuguese. After the celebration, the choral group São Paulo (Malange) celebrated with the people.

IMG_20161222_154043028IMG_20161211_164304025

The Chinese sisters ( Sisters Johanna (above) and  Jane Frances) work in the health center of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, serving the Angolan people in their various needs. In addition to their daily work, they go to villages to provide medical consultation. The sisters also give health assistance to the Chinese who live here  either going to  their homes or attending them in the parish’s service room built for this purpose.

We render thanks to God for all that he has accomplished in our behalf for his greater glory.

                                                                                              Sister Marivalda Moraes Ramos

Malange, October 13, 2017

Read More

RENEWAL OF VOWS 2017

asia vowsRenewal of Vows: Srs. Lydia Phạm, Joyce Hà and Jennifer Ngô

(from left to right)

November 25, 2017, Tainan, Provincialate

Holy Name of Jesus Province

 

 

Reflections from Common Formation Program 2016-17

From, Sr. Scholastica

It is a grace-filled year for us. I would like to express my special thanks to each sister who has given us so much encouragement, support and prayers. We are approaching the end of the program. I especially feel that this is a year long pilgrimage fulfilled by God’s guidance and blessings. We were always warmly and joyfully accepted by our sisters in each community we had visited. Although our Portuguese is very poor, it was not an obstacle for our interaction and communication with each other. There is no feeling of “dis-acquaintance” and distance. Once again, thank you all my dear sisters.

From, Sr. Maria Goretti

       My life in Brazil is full of grace and blessing during this year and I felt God’s love. God gave me an opportunity for my growth, I am full of peace and gratitude to Him. In this year, I had a great experience that I never had before and it has broadened my horizons. Through the courses I took and daily life events, I learned how to be in unity as a member of the SMIC family in acceptance of cultural differences. I do really appreciate it.

       I would like to thank the sisters in both provinces of Brazil for the loving care that they have showed to me, for their hospitality and thoughtfulness. I felt a deep sense of belonging though we are from different cultures and yet we are all one in the SMIC family. It is a great honor for me to step on the foundation land of our congregation, to go through the congregational historical site where our fore sisters once left their footprints with their loving heart and hard work.

My heart is full of gratitude after one year of common formation experience in Brazil and I am very grateful for being part of the SMIC family. This will be the most meaningful year in my life.

Read More

Belem Assembly 2017

 

 

XX ASSEMBLY OF THE HOLY CROSS-SALVADOR

From, Sr. Ana Lúcia Pereira SMIC

 

 

You see, I’m doing something new: it’s sprouting now, and do not you see? (Isaiah 43,19).

It was necessary to open our eyes and heart to walk the path of the dynamics of the provincial assembly that took place on 10-15 October in the Province of the Holy Cross. Praise God for harmony, tranquility, peace and seriousness.

We received a bean sprout germinating at the beginning of the assembly, to care for as a symbol of our walk and every day to water, pay attention, see the process that happened to break the earth and grow.

All of us were able to experience that something new was already emerging in our midst because the collaboration of all the Sisters was very good. We were eager to embrace this new moment, everything was very well organized. We worked in groups where grassroots and consensus table facilitators played their part very well. Together we perceive the lightness of the Spirit of God guiding us.

Spirituality was the culmination; we had time to contemplate, to delve into our interior to hear and identify not only our feelings but what the other was saying. We felt that the sharing of faith helped us a lot to pray more intensely and all the sisters were able to express the richness of spirituality. Frei Moacir Casagrande enriched us with the reflection of the gospel and reminded us that “Transitional Spirituality” is moving us to a process of passage, and this requires of each of us a constant conversion for the Spirit to speak.

We realize that communication between us must be trained to better growth of compassion and human integration, to know how to dialogue through nonviolent communication is God’s grace for our community life. Our dear Sister Livramento facilitated this moment with simplicity and lightness and we did some training exercises from the explanation of the theme.

We are also grateful for the great help of Sister Janis Jordan, who is always ready to help us understand the whole process of restructuring.

May the God of life help us to cultivate, care for and embrace the new that has come. May we be consecrated joyful, mystical, women of good fraternal coexistence, who open our hearts to see that new things spring between us and together we can be stronger.

 

 

 

 

IMG-20171006-WA0042

The Belem Province met October 5-9, 2017 to discuss the implementation of the General Chapter Acts as well as to prepare for the restructuring of the Province as a Unit of the Congregation that will take place within a few years.

The Assembly included faith sharing as its daily prayer and small group table discussions being further enlarged with information and facilitation by Fr. Moacir Casagrande, Sisters Livramento Oliveira and Janis Jordan.

From 05 to 09 of October all members of the Belem Province were invited to participate in the historical Assembly to decide if we continue to be a Province or to change our form of government. We followed the decisions of the 2016 General Chapter. To help us to study, to reflect and to decide we had three illustrious facilitators: our General Minister, Sr. Livramento, Father Moacir Casagrande, OFM Cap., and Sr. Janis Jordan, SMIC. They helped us to understand the dynamic of the Assembly and how to work in groups and get a good final result.

We paused for several moments to reflect and to work on the process of transition, to prepare ourselves in the spirituality of transition of the Congregation. We focused on: the principles of the community discernment, the nonviolent communication and the Directions and Actions for the Congregation.

It was very efficient the way the three worked with us to create a climate of prayer at the ambient of work. We kept total silence during the time when we stayed at the conference room. That situation was very useful to work and get good results. We worked with calm and in good understanding. When we finished the Assembly, we knew that we

were ready to be a Province no longer. We were prepared to follow the steps for the new situation of the Congregation.

by,  Sr. Maria José

 

Read More

US Province Gathering-2017

photo: Sr.  Florence Hee, OSF facilitator

                                                                               By Sr. Eleanor

At the end of August, the United States held its annual gathering at San Alphonso Retreat Center, on the edge of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. With that backdrop it was a relaxed and informative time together.

Two major directions emerged: first, the province developed their strategy for implementing the international decision to close province governing within the next six years. The second major direction resulted in the commitment to work as a province on the issue of refugees and immigrants, continuing what individual Sisters have already been doing. The direction statement reads:

“Whereas, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God,   living our Franciscan heritage, are not only hearers of the Word, but doers—

And, whereas, we are called to care for our brothers and sisters in need we choose as a province to commit our resources of time, talent and treasure to work together to        alleviate the suffering of refugees and immigrants who come to our nation, seeking a new home.

                                                                                              Our efforts include the following:                                                                                 

Being in relationship with refugees and immigrants by

  • Assisting with their re-settlement, education, access to those things necessary for life.
  • Supporting legislation which enables a better life for refugees and immigrants (such as the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals – DACA).
  • Opposing all efforts to build a wall along our southern border including making a public statement.
  • Connecting with Network and Franciscan Action Network, both advocacy groups on a national level.
  • Being willing to speak in a nviolent way in order to educate and raise consciousness of others with regard to refugees, immigrants and the profiling of people based on race or ethnicity.
  • Providing public support of positive actions of others.
  • Continuing to collaborate with others involved locally with refugee and immigrant issues.”

The remainder of the meeting centered upon ways to live out the other international decisions to intensify living our Franciscan spirituality, to better understand the reality of climate change and how to work to counteract its effects and finally to deepen our awareness, as members of an international religious congregation, of reaching beyond our borders to embrace the well-being of others throughout the world.“ We have begun our commitment to the refugees by adopting a Syrian family for the holiday season to provide winter outer wear for each family member as well as some playthings for the 4 children.

We also have each chosen a month to provide informative websites, articles, etc. as part of our monthly newsletter highlighting input for our General Chapter and province directives. Finally we have participated in campaigns through email and the internet to educate and advocate for immigrants, climate change issues and peace initiatives.

 

 

IMG_7908[1]IMG_7883[1]IMG_7881[1]IMG_7907[1]

moments of sharing

 

Province  2017 Statement

 

Whereas, the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, living our Franciscan heritage are not only hearers of the Word, but doers—.

And, whereas, we are called to care for our brothers and sisters in need we choose as a province to commit our resources of time, talent and treasure to work together to alleviate the suffering of refugees and immigrants who come to our nation, seeking a new home.

Our efforts include the following:

  • Being in relationship with refugees and immigrants by—
    • Assisting with their re-settlement, education, access to those things necessary for life.
    • Supporting legislation which enables a better life for refugees and immigrants,
    • (such as DACA).
    • Opposing all efforts to build a wall along our southern border including making a public statement.
    • Connecting with the Network, and Franciscan Action Network, both advocacy groups on a national level.
    • Being willing to speak in a non-violent way in order to educate and raise consciousness of others with regard to refugees, immigrants and the profiling of people based on race or ethnicity.
    • Providing public support of positive actions of others.
    • Continuing to collaborate with others involved locally with refugee and immigrant issues.

 

 Comments about the Gathering


For me, the Annual Gathering this year was one of both gift and blessing.  Having an assembly that was so well planned, organized and facilitated helped  our decision making it a more fluid experience. I now look forward to the transitioning restructuring process for us to become a unit.  This time together was certainly  fruitful and Spirit filled.  (Sr.Sheila Madden)

 

When we SMICs agreed on the General Chapter direction on Ecological Conversion, I knew I needed to move this to a higher priority in my life. We have for years been concerned about water—where it’s too little or too much, how to conserve it and help people who need it. I came to our Annual Gathering with one project that has moved me, the desperate need for clean water at St. Michael’s Association for Special Education on a Navaho reservation in New Mexico. The US Sisters signed in twos for a month in which we can report on projects we can or do get involved in. For November, I invite anyone to send me (by November 10th) information to share about any project dealing with ecology and climate change, including water, and to Sr. Janice on any projects involving our focus on the issue of refugees and immigrants, which is our priority for our directives on Unity in Diversity and Ministry.   (Sr. Jane Abeln)

 

The gathering was a wonderful opportunity for the US Province of SMICs to jointly commit to the Congregational Acts by specifically crafting a common declaration  on immigrant and refugee resettlement  issues (see above)  that will be  publicly published  during the months to come.  In addition we outlined ways to work in a variety of ways to protect our Mother Earth.  These include:

Actions about Water

  • Reduce excessive use as individuals
  • Collect rain water to be used  versus tap water
  • Educate others about the amount of water used in nuclear power plants, fracking & oil refineries plus the potential for pollution.
  • Privatization of water will limit the amount of water to the needy
  • The fight over water may lead to the next war therefore, we need to address water conservation i.e. Pax Christi International
  • Research www.digdeep.org  about the issues of water on Navajo Reservations

Social & Political Actions

  • Contribute to a political group that specifically addresses climate change i.e. Catholic Climate Covenant.
  • Being active and making pleas on social media about things that you know are harmful to the environment
  • Watch and discuss  Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth 1 & 2
  • Find more programs or films about the effects of climate change that can be shared with all your sisters for them to be more involved.
  • People making commitment to putting in time to send monthly articles in the community about climate change. A reminder Around and About sign-up list was created and signed (see attached).

Other Actions

  • Plant trees to reduce CO2 – especially in California due to forest fires decimating the trees
  • Growing vegetable plots
  • Keeping the environment clean by picking up litter
  • Sending cards that are actually seedlings to encourage planting.

(Sr. Janice Jolin)

 

 

Read More

Our Vision as a German Province

Leadership team Germany

Province of St. Joseph – Germany

Leadership Team: Srs. Rita, Andrea, Franziska

 We just completed the writing of our German Province History or even more the writing of our  German involvement during the 100years of our Congregation. At the reflection of our 100 years history, our view was guided from the distance to the vision of our sisters in the past ages. From all chronicles and reports of our sisters, the ardent love of their missionary vocation is shining through. This call let them step into the shoes of our founders. They took over Mother Immaculata words and vision, to help “saving souls for God”. At that time, the sisters saw themselves send into a huge harvest. With heroic courage – from our view today we have to say this – they immersed into her mission. Their firm faith, their confidence in God’s goodness, which everything can direct and guide, their prayer and love to Jesus, which were given them through Mr. Immaculata, carried them over precipices of disappointments and despairs. They experienced also that they were supported by their prayers and the material support of many good people, especially their families supported them in many ways.

And today? Where is our vision in our today’s situation, in this time of lack of vocations, where faith seems to vanish, in times where our own faith is threatened?

We believe that God, who called our sisters in former times, is calling also today and is going with us, too.  Also as we go through a valley, we do believe in his guidance.

To live our congregational vision today in our small German Province we see it as follows: To live as believers in a praying, loving community, helping each other in our daily lives and bringing the church, the whole world and creation before the Lord. In particular, we bring our congregation, its progress and difficulties and especially our young sisters and all this petitions for prayer which people entrust to us before the Lord. We hope and believe that our sisters, like our former sisters will continue to be true missionaries for the church and world.

 

 

Follow the SMIC German Sisters on their website: http://www.missionsschwestern-muenster.de

Read More