Provinces

a 100+ year story of service

On June 19, we had the delightful experience of dedicating a bench and 3 cherry trees in Eastside Park, Paterson, New Jersey. The Province of the Immaculate Conception donated these to the people of Paterson,   as a symbol of our 100 plus years of presence to and with the city and its needs.

17 SMICs were joined by the Bishop of the Diocese of Paterson Arthur Serratelli, his priest secretary and Vice chancellor Fr. Kevin Corcoran, Chancellor and Delegate for Religious Sister Joan Daniel Healy, SCC, current mayor Jane  Williams-Warren, the mayor elect Andre Sayegh, as well as Gianfranco Archimede, Executive Director of the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission, Joanne Wiley of the Eastside Neighborhood Association and a commissioner of the Historic Preservation Commission as well as several officers and members of the Eastside Neighborhood Association.

Several years ago while attending another dedication in the Park of a bench donated by the Islamic Center of Passaic County, Sister Barbara Fried remarked that this would be a wonderful way to commemorate our time in the city when we would be leaving for senior housing elsewhere.

So began a 3-year process navigating the inner workings of city government, historical commissions, and various civic councils to bring about this moment.  Thanks to the able guidance of Joanne Wiley and the on-going efforts of Mr. Archimede, it was finally accomplished.  In addition to the bench for rest and relaxation of park-goers, we added the flowering cherry trees to not only enhance the beauty of the park but to back up our province environmental stance on constructively helping with climate change.

As we started to name the various ways we have been present to the people of Paterson through the years we realized that we were involved on the west side, through St. Bonaventure parish and Don Bosco High School, center city at Martin de Porres, Eva’s Village, St. Joseph Hospital as well as Paterson General, several elementary schools, the Paterson Public library, on the north side with Associate Ethel Williams, on the east side through Barnet Hospital, St. Therese parish, the Eastside Neighborhood Association, and Paterson Catholic High School.

In recognition of all this, the city council of Paterson presented a plaque to our leadership team. The Historical commission also honored the Missionary Sisters with their annual award citing people who treasure the city and its people in their actions and presence.

Following the ceremony which ended with the Sisters blessing the bench and trees with holy water and a prayer for all those who would use the bench and enjoy the trees, billed by the historical as a place of contemplation, all adjourned to Joanne Wiley’s home in the neighborhood for tea and sandwiches and sweets.

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Franciscan Peacemaker Award

 

Franciscan Federation Peacemaker Award

The Franciscan Federation of the Third Order (Brothers and Sisters) join annually holding a Federation Conference. During the gathering a special Peacemaker Award honor is presented to  a member whose individual Community  has cited  her/him as exemplifying  the specific  theme selected for that year .  The theme for this year’s Conference  was “Franciscans and Muslims: lessons from the Past and Prospects for the Future”.  The USA Province chose to recognize  Sister Joanne Riggs for this Peacemaker Award. Joanne met the criteria for selecting a nominee: a Franciscan who embodies openness to the other and someone who, in their service, transcends prejudices, engages in interfaith dialogue or cross-cultural ministry and witness to unity in diversity. The following is a summary of what the sisters named as the reason for nominating  her for this Peacemaker Award.

“Sister Joanne Riggs, smic, has been active in Interfaith dialogue as a member of the Archbishop’s (Newark) Commission on Interreligious Dialogue through ongoing conversations with Islamic leaders in Passaic County, She has also been appointed as an attendee to the Parliament of World Religions.  Through her efforts she has raised the consciousness of her sisters regarding Islam, the need and value of interfaith dialogue, and the needs of Muslim refugees. Where ever she has lived and worked she  has brought needed information and health services as a professional nurse, to not only the Muslims, but the homeless and undocumented persons and to those speaking languages other than English.  She has  stood staunchly against prejudices toward the Muslim community in conversations, committee work, and Christian/Muslim dialogue both as participant and organizer. She has been a voice of conscience for years  in the north New Jersey area where prejudice against so many of the above mentioned is rampant. As a Franciscan she embodies the spirit of Francis through humble service, a wry sense of humor, and a spirit of joy and leadership skills as she exhibits the desire: “that all may be one.”

During the Franciscan Peacemaker Banquet, on June 13, 2018, over 50 sisters and brothers were recognized by their Congregations and received the Peacemaker Award.   Throughout the conference a power point  with a peacemaker photo as well as photos that were taken to show how they are active in the ministry specifically with the conference theme was continually rolling for all the participants to see.

Though Sister Joanne was not able to be present at the conference or Peacemaker Banquet, Sisters Beatrice Yang,  Eleanor Goekler and Saundra McKeta  attended and  when Joanne’s name was called,  Sister Eleanor accepted the Peacemaker Award in  Sister Joanne’s name.  We are grateful to Sister Joanne for all of the good work that she does especially in the area of the Muslim-Christian Interreligious Dialogue.

After returning to Denville, NJ and following Evening Prayer, Sister Joanne was presented her award with all of the sisters at Our Lady of Sorrows present

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Jubilees and Novitiate celebrations

Novices in white veils: Srs. Herta and Christiana

Sr. Elisabeth and Sr. Monika

 

 

 

 

February 3, 2018 was a day of great joy for the Namibian Province in thanksgiving to God for Sr. Elisabeth celebrating her 50 years and Sr. Monika 25years of religious life. On the same day two Postulants Herta and Christiana entered their novitiate. We acknowledge the presence of the different Religious congregations of sisters and priests deacon, lay ministers, youths and our families   who came to share the joy together with us.   It was amazing how young sisters brought the words of God to the altar in beautiful cultural dancing procession. The Church choir of Tses led the Liturgy together with the sisters.  

We were also blessed to have Fr. Joseph, vicar of Keetmanshoop diocese, Fr. Werner Afunde, vicar general from the Archdiocese of Windhoek and Fr. Josef Hatutale and Rev. Emeritus Bishop Philip Pollitzer, the main celebrant. The homily of the bishop was inspiring and very clear “that the jubilee is to look back with gratitude, joy and pride upon the 50 years and 25 years. And that means that our abiding devotion and faithful services to God has touched countless heart and inspired so many. Today is a day of thanksgiving to God, for many graces and perseverance in the Religious vocation and for listening every day to God, saying to me: ”Whom shall I send ? who will go for us? Here I am, Lord, send me to preach your word to the whole world.” (Is 6:8)

Novices: This is day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad. It was really  an unforgettable day where we felt proud to become part of the SMIC family. Therefore our gratitude goes to our sisters who allowed us to take further step in religious life as SMIC. The liturgy dance was lead by candidate, youth and St. Therese parish choir. It was a joyful day. After communion the candidate and the two novices dance thanksgiving dance with the sound of the African drum and that was amazing.

Thanks to our Sisters who made this day wonderful for us. We appreciated everything and please continue praying for us, from Herta Shaningwa and Christiana Stephans.

After the Mass everybody was invited to the Church Hall for delicious meal with barbecue. Thanks to the parishioners who prepared and decorated the Hall so beautifully. As you know, as Africans, our celebration continues always  with the performance of our different cultural dances, singing and beating drums; that was really feast filled with joy and happiness. We thank the Almighty God for the beautiful celebration and gratitude to all who made our day so wonderful with best wishes and prayers.

 

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Final Profession of Sr. Emerensiana Hawanga

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sr. Emerenciana with parents presenting her to the Congregation and then in habit

Final Profession of Sr. Emeresiana Hawanga

                 Jer 5:1 before I formed you in the womb I knew you.

 

With a great joy the SMIC family, my family and friends at  large gathered together in Tondoro (Namibia) at the parish for the celebration of my perpetual Vows. The Eucharistic Celebration was presided by Fr. Maurus Kantana Kakuru (OMI) the Vicar General of Rundu Pastoral Region. I was honored to have him because he presided at the Mass when I made my first profession. My very thanks goes to him and let us keep him in our prayers since he will be celebrating his 25th silver jubilee as a priest on May 2018. My gratitude goes to our Generalate sisters in USA and the Provincial councils of Namibia for approving my request to make this final step in religious life. Many thanks and I pray for you. After the entrance hymn the provincial calls me by name and I got up and said ” Yes I am ready.” The whole community and parishioners welcomed me with applause. As I was sitting with my parents they brought me to the altar to meet the provincial (Sr.Clara). A conversation was between my parents and the provincial asking them whether they understand the way I chose to follow Christ; their answer was “Yes,” they understand fully. After that they give me to my provincial and I went to remove my traditional dress and dressed in a religious habit. As a sign of renouncing the world and following Christ, I give back the traditional dress to my parents telling them that I am thankful for their support on this way of life and that I have decided to give myself totally to Christ forever. “This was the most touching and tearful moment but I believe that everything I do, I do it for Christ.” My parents received my traditional attire  and I joined my  fellow sisters. What moved me too was when the priest said: final vows is a serious commitment, you might come along with challenge but there are more challenges awaiting for you outside this Church. But with those challenges be not afraid, God will always be with you and will protect you”. I’m grateful for God’s countless blessing in my life and my gratitude to my SMIC family for the beautiful celebration and for your encouraging words on my journey.  And thanks to all who accompany me with their prayers. God Bless you all!!

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LEMICs

Lay Persons Associate Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception

 

 

 

 

 

 

The seed planted  in good soil and blessed by God has blossomed in other fertile lands where there is a SMIC Community. Many are called but few respond with a YES.  Today there are 125 members in the following SMIC locations of Brazil

 

LOCATION NUMBER COORDINATOR
Fortaleza: Bairro Padre Andrade 11 Sr.Leônia
Fortaleza: Bairro Antônio Bezerra 08 Sr.Eliene
Canindé 10 Sr. Maria Cleofas
Belém 12 Sr.Carmelita
Alenquer 13 Sr.Nilsa
Monte Alegre 21 Sr. Heloísa
Itaituba 24 Sr. Heloísa
Santa Clara – Santarém 11 Sr. Maria Olinda
São José – Santarém 15 Sr. Heloísa
Total 125

 

LEMIC COMMITMENT TERMS       We, attending to the call of God, freely decide to assume the commitment to be Lay Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception, living the charism and spirituality of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. We wish to develop the Mission and Marian-Franciscan Spirit  in the example of the Founders, Bishop Amando and Mother Immaculata being a Compassionate Presence and Evangelizer, principally among the most needy.

 

 

The group serves in diverse ways both within the Congregation and in the Parishes and Dioceses to which they belong.

          Briefly, the objective of LEMIC members, is to share with the Sisters the mission of Jesus Christ by being a contemplative and missionary presence especially to those most in need.

Every three years, the LEMIC group meets in a General Assembly. Such a meeting took place  November 10 to 12th held at the retreat house of São José in the Santarem region.. Nine Province groups of the  Immaculate Heart of Mary Province, Belem were present as well as 9 members from the Holy Cross Province came to be accompanied by Sr. Olivia.   In total, there were 90 participants. As  2017 was the Marian Jubilee Year, a significant theme for the Church of Brazil, this  same theme was used at the Assembly: “With Mary in defense of Life

 

The purpose of the Assembly was to evaluate the past three years and to plan for the next5 three years until  2020.

 

Besides the monthly meetings  LEMIC members are engaged in various pastoral ministries in the Parishes: catechetics, home visits to the sick, vists to the hospitals, extraordinary ministers of Communion, liturgies, Christmas novenas and novenas of the parish patron saint, lenten theme,  organized missionary weekend activities, annual retreat and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the first Thursdays of each month, they pray the rosary in the neighborhood along with other activities.

 

Meeting with group representatives

Theme: Revitalization of the life and Mission of LEMIC

Objetive: Prepare the Triennial Plan and practice of the Norms of Life

Location: Belém

 

 

 

 

 

 

CULTURAL NIGHT AMONG THE LEMICs–always a fun way to be together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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St. Anthony Hospital, Alenquer, Brazil


 

For many years the Missionary Sisters have been the only hospital health care providers for the Region that is based in Alenquer, Brazil.  This river Community has depended on the Missionary Sisters to work with the municipal, state and federal government system to provide care for the poor.   St. Anthony Hospital provides services for all with about 98% of its patients living in low income status and without health insurance .

Recently, the Sisters were able to negotiate a contract with the government to build a 10 bed Intensive Care Unit, and to rebuild the hospital’s  laundry, sterilization unit, kitchen facility and morgue.  This is a major gift to this non profit hospital that, through the intercession of St. Anthony has been able to keep its doors open through the year and to provide excellent care to those seeking care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALVADOR PROVINCE BEGINS TRANSITION AS A CONGREGATIONAL UNIT

We Are ALL SISTERS

 “We are one in the love of God”

From the 16th to the 21st of 2018, we SMIC Sisters met with hope and joy at Dom Amando  convent to carry out our last Provincial Assembly and the Installation of the Unit of Holy Cross with the theme “We are all Sisters”.  Between dreams and filled with trust, we embarqued in search of a new road.  To help us on this journey, a transition ritual divided into three stages: 1. To administer  2. To administer a neutral zone (passage) 3. Administer a new beginning

The mixture of feelings was visible in each lived moment of the Assembly,  including those of  longing, loss, joy, concern, hope, trust…above all, in the moment in which our Minister General, Sr. Maria do Livramento read the letter of dissolution of the Province calling it a Unit.

After participating in the discernment process, a choice of a new leadership team was undertaken.  The following were selected: Sr. Sivia Corado do Amaral- Unit Coordinator, Sr.Vânia Maria Marques Branco- Coordinator of Institutions and Sr. Helena de Carvalho- Coordinator of Mission and Charism.

Certain that God leads us to the present moment and certain that He will continue to do so, we place our life in Him  in this new history that is beginning, seeking to live true UNITY.

Sr. Marta Helena de Carvalho                      SEE PHOTO GALLERY FOR PICTURES

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SMIC TEAM in Angola

 2017 SMIC TEAM ADJUSTMENTS in the Angolan Mission

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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.

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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.

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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

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