TANJUNG ARU – The virtue of fidelity was highlighted at the combined jubilee celebration of seven Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) on 7 Oct 2017, memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, at the Stella Maris Church here.
Archbishop John Wong stressed this quality – divine (God’s faithfulness) and human (jubilarians’ response) in his homily and reiterated it in his speech after the Mass.
He added that the more important part was the spiritual preparation (personal retreat) of the jubilarians prior to the event for it is in silence that God reveals Himself.
The celebrators were ruby jubilarian Sister Martha Jonik, golden jubilarians Sisters Rita Chew and Imelda Angang, and the four diamond jubilarians Sisters Stella Chin, Regina Majakil, Rosalind Thien and Ignatia Gomes.
Joining Abp Wong at the altar were Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, Bishop Emeritus Joseph Nacua OFMCap of Iligan Isabela Philippines, OFM Custodios Friar John Wong, Msgr Primus Jouil, Father Boniface Kimsin and Father Thomas Madanan.
Over 400 turned up for the event including guests from the Philippines, Singapore, Sarawak, and the three Sabah dioceses as well as members of the congregation, family members, and relatives of the jubilarians.
After the Mass all adjourned to the parish hall for the cake-cutting ceremony, lunch and stage presentations by various groups.
Born on 23 Apr 1956 in Kinuta, Margaretha Jonik joined the congregation in 1975 and took the religious name of Sister Martha of St Mary of the Angels. She made her first profession in 1977 and took her final vows in 1982. She is currently assigned in Tawau.
Rose Chew, born on 20 Oct 1946 in Kuala Penyu, entered the congregation in 1965. Taking as her religious name Sr Rita of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, she took her first vows in 1967 and made her final profession in 1972. Presently she is in charge of the Stella Maris Retirement Home Tg Aru as well as head of the Archdiocesan Education Commission.
Her co-jubilarian, Sister Imelda of the Blessed Sacrament, was born as Angeline George Angang on 8 Aug 1948 in Kuala Penyu. She also joined the FSICs in 1965, made her first profession in 1967 and took her final vows in 1972. She is assigned in Penampang and is currently the assistant of Sister Dariah Ajap in the Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission.
Of the four diamond jubilarians, Sister Stella Chin was born in Jamaica on 6 Sept 1936 as Pamela Evadne Chin Siew Chin. She entered the congregation in 1954, took her first vows on 11 Feb 1957 and made her final profession on 11 Feb 1962.
Sister Regina of the Blessed Trinity was born as Noemi Majakil on 15 Nov 1935 in Limbahau. She also joined the Franciscan Sisters in 1954, made her first profession on 11 Feb 1957, and took her final vows on 15 Aug 1962.
The third diamond jubilarian, Sister Rosalind of St Dominic, was born in Tenom on 17 Apr 1938 as Mary Thien Siew Yun. She entered the congregation in 1955, took her first vows on 4 Oct 1957, and made her perpetual profession on 20 Dec 1962.
Sister Ignatia Gomes of St Therese of the Child Jesus was born as Olive Marian on 29 Jan 1935 in Kg Kambau Penampang. She joined the Sisters in 1955, made her first profession on 4 Oct 1957, and took her final vows on 25 Aug 1963.
Together the seven jubilarians have served the local Church for 380 years – a witness of the human response to God’s mercy and faithfulness.