Asia

Earthquake in Taiwan

earthquake                        Magnitude-6.4 Earthquake Struck Southern Taiwan

By Sr. Catharina Tien

Feb. 6, at 3:57 am, just one day before the traditional Chinese New Year Eve, a magnitude-6.4 earthquake shocked the whole island, which toppled many buildings, injured 500 more people, and caused a great deal of fatalities in Tainan, the oldest city in Taiwan. The death toll of the earthquake was 117 people. Of the fatalities, 115 people died in the 16-storey Weiguan Jinlong apartment building in the city of Tainan. Because of this earthquake, the Lunar New Year left with heavy hearted and sincere prayers.

While rescue and search teams from around the island were untiringly scrambling to the toppled building to find more survivors who were still trapped in the rubble of the Weiguan high-rise tower, restaurants and hotels were opening their doors and offering food or shelter to victims or their families. Local churches and some philanthropic organizations also immediately mobilized as many as resources -volunteers, aid materials, food, snacks, hot beverages , face masks, gloves, hand warmers, clothing and blankets food, etc. to be sent to the Church relief station near the collapsed building. From Feb. 7 to Feb. 9, SMICs of Tainan community took turns staying overnight with lay people at the relief station. Following sharing are from our Vietnamese sisters:

  1. In my life, I have never known anything about the earthquake until I   When arriving at the spot, I could hardly express the mixed feelings in my mind. But little service at the resting place made me feel happy. This unexpected earthquake shows me how vulnerable our life is! At the spot, I saw people how to face this event through their desire, efforts and love. I am grateful for such an opportunity to serve people at the spot…                          (by Sr. M. Hannah Ngo)
  2. 3. On hearing such a sad news, I made a pray, hoping everyone was safe.
  3. 2. Our service was mainly to care for any needs from the victim families and the rescuers. Sometimes I felt what I could do was quite little… At the resting place, there were many other volunteers from different institutions. I was moved when I saw a store owner bring food and say to the rescures, “Many thanks for your efforts. You are heroes in our country!” Indeed, those “heroes” committed to their work at the expenses of their lives, and even of the time being with their families and friends. What they have done for the victimized families realizes what Jesus said in the Bible “ 『Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.』 (Jn 15:13)                                (by Sr. Monica Le)
  4. came to Taiwan. On Feb. 6, I arrived at the seriously damaged area and hoped I could do some things for the victimized families and the rescue teams. I was quite touched to see a lot of men and women, college students, and volunteers with different religions staying at the spot to take care of anyone who asked for help. Their commitment shows that they not only brought visible necessities to the needy, but also touched their hearts through caring and thoughtfulnees. This sad event is a good opportunity for me to deeply empathize others’ pains, and learn how to care for other’s needs with love.       (by Sr. Joyce Ha)

This tragic event has come to an end, recovery operations will be lasting for a period of time for the victimized. All sisters in Taiwan appreciate those letters and supportive prayers from the SMICs’ provinces around the world, especially a caring phone call from Sr. Livramento as soon as she watched the breaking news in USA.

Let’s keep all victim families, who either lost their beloved or were wounded, in our prayers. May our merciful God be journeying them with love and strength!

 

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Asian Inter Religious Dialogue

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Tombrock Spiritual Center–

Tainan Fu Cheng Sheng Kung Education Development Foundation  

by Sister Agnes Lee, smic

 

In the year 2000 or so, with small donation from Sisters Agnes and Veronica’s family we established “Tainan Fu Cheng Sheng Kung Education Development Foundation”. The primary purpose of the income of the foundation was to support the on- going education and formation for both teacher from Sheng Kung girls’ High School and Sisters from the Province. Since 2002, the only regular donor supporting the foundation was Mr. Wu Yu-tsai (Francis Wu) , a good friend and semi-member of Taiwan SMICs. However, in 2008, the world economy was hit by the serious international economic crisis. Considering the consequences on businessmen, we cordially asked Mr. Wu to stop his annual donation to the Foundation. Since then we have no regular donor, nor did we do any fund raising for any project. Also with the change of leadership and other professional personnel both in the Province and the school, there was no Sister assigned to manage of the Foundation. Consequently the Foundation was entering a “winter sleep”. Years have gone by, we realized that any established Foundation Fund was not allowed to stay inactive. So last year, 2015, the Provincial leadership decided to wake up this sleeping Foundation assigning Sister Agnes with this task. Since Sheng Kung School already has a Parent Teacher Association which has finally taken up the responsibility of supporting our teachers’ on-going education, we thus included the “promotion of the spiritual well being for all” in the purposes of “Tainan Fu Chen Sheng Kung Education Development Foundation ” With this direction, a Tombrock Spiritual Center was established on the school campus. We took the unification of Christian brothers and sisters as the first mission of this new Spiritual Center. A concrete step was taken, that we are collaborating with the Presbyterian Churches here in Taiwan. Pastor Cheng , Jer Yu is the assistant chairperson of the Tombrock Spiritual Center.

The Tombrock Spiritual Center officially opened on December 8, 2015. The Center offers year round programs both in the Center and offering outreach service. The programs held in the Center are: weekly basic spiritual community, monthly one day spiritual practice, seasonal (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter) three day retreats. Outreach Program offers: Retreats held in the Presbyterian Churches and various retreat houses. In addition to the above spiritual services, the Center also offers music lessons on Chinese classical instruments. Eventually the Center would like to have groups of interested people coming to study together in the field of spirituality. As time goes on and things develop, we may have a publication related to spiritual growth and well being.

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Karma Kagyu Monastery Received a Statue of Mother Mary from Catholic Nuns

for Youths at Lu Yeyuan Halfway Home

  IMG_6150Once again, the interaction and collaboration between different religions adds a much-told tale. Yesterday, Master Hui Tuo from Karma Kagyu Monastery, the holy place of Tantric White Sect in Tso-chen, paid a visit to the convent of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God in the north district of Tainan, Taiwan. The Karma Kagyu Monastery received from the sisters a gift, a Statue of Mother Mary to be installed at the Halfway Home in Luyeyuan. There, they plan to set up a Catholic prayer room for the young people living in Halfway Home, so they can prayer to Mother Mary and be touched and transformed by Her spirit. Devotion to Mother Mary is a common practice among Catholic believers. Sister Agnes Lee remarked that it is the first IMG_6133local Buddha PALME KHYENTSE RINPOCHE that has an open mind, ever-ready to welcome Mother Mary into a Buddhist institution where the Buddha is present. What’s more, they will hold a welcoming installation ceremony, which certainly will generates a ray of hope for world peace through inter-religious collaboration.. The pure white statue of “Mary of the poor” symbolizes purity and unselfishness, especially listens to the cry of those who are suffering from both physical and psychological poverty, such as dropout from school, domestic violence against children and women, and people who are hurt by various forms of abuses and oppression. Master Hui Tuo, a former teacher at ShengKungGirlsHigh School, said “ The statue of Mother Mary will be placed at Halfway Home in Luyeyuan and the room will be a prayer room for those with non-Buddhist religions believers to pray.” IMG_6148When the time comes for the installation,Taize Prayer will be held together with the young people, teachers, workers at Luyeyuan Halfway Home and of course, religious from both sides Buddhist and Catholic.

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