Author Archives: AY

Malaysian novices make first religious professions

malaysian novices make first professions

L-R: Srs Laura Anggie, Sr Laurin Kowal, Sr Aemy Soo, and Sr Mary Sualeh pose for remembrance after the ceremony at the novitiate chapel in Lipa on 24 June 2019.

LIPA, Philippines – Malaysian Novices Aemy Soo, 29, of Sabah and Laurin Kowal, 28, of  Perak made their first religious professions in the presence of Sr. Delia Abian, Provincial Superior of the Daughters of St Paul, during the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr Rollin Flores, Provincial Superior of the Society of St Paul with several concelebrating priests from the Society of St Paul, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and the Oblates of St Joseph on 24 June 2019, Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist at the novitiate chapel here.

Among those present to witness the event were the neo-professed’s family members, relatives, friends and fellow Daughters of St. Paul.  The Mass servers were seminarians from the Oblates of St Joseph Lipa.

This is the second time the congregation witnessed the joint first profession of novices from both East and West Malaysia, 19 years after that of Novices Jennifer Han (Sabah) and Elizabeth (Perak) in 2000.

Simple lunch was served after the Eucharistic celebration.

Former FSP missionary passes away

PASAY, Philippines – Former Daughter of St Paul missionary passed away on 27 Dec 2018 at the St John of God Hospital here. She was 92.

Born in Iloilo City Philippines on 22 Feb 1926 as Elena Bravo, the future Sister Maria Eulalia entered the congregation in Lipa on 26 May 1949 when she was 23. She made her first profession on 19 Mar 1952 and took her final vows in 1957.

In 1961, she was one of the four sisters sent to establish the congregation’s presence in North Borneo. She sailed to Jesselton together with Sisters Elisabetha Capello, Assunta Labay and Virginia Guevarra on 21 Jan 1961.

From her memoirs she wrote:

This was the only place where we did not start from Bethlehem.  What a beautiful house of Mrs. Philip Lee.  After a week, when everything were settled, Sr. Virginia and I started our house-to-house propaganda, visiting the schools, offices, hospitals and stores. 

We enjoyed our mission in Borneo, as we were accepted by the people, Catholics, non-Catholics and even by pagans.  Everybody knew of our coming as our arrival was announced over Radio Sabah.  How good really is God.  That’s why we were really happy in this mission land.  Though the place was not well-developed and there were few inhabitants yet our mission was very successful because we are welcomed by the people.  My hardship was with the languages: Malay and Kadazan.  A few months later, Sister Elizabeta Capello was replaced by Sr. Silvana Guerrero from Italy.

In 1963, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya formed Malaysia. She left Sabah on 27 Apr 1968. Upon her return to the Philippines she dedicated herself primarily to bookcentre work and also to the technical apostolate for a certain period of time.

Of a sunny disposition, she was always on the lookout for vocations and often asked the young women who visited the book centre whether they would like to become a Daughter of St Paul. Her sweetness and conviction led many of them to accept her invitation, receiving the question as a call from the Lord. Sr Eulalia had a big heart and wished she had “a thousand lives” to help out wherever there was a need in the congregation.

Sr Eulalia carried out the Pauline mission zealously but she was also a woman of profound prayer. The chapel was her “home” and she wanted it to be large and spacious enough to welcome as many people as possible, especially members of the laity, with whom she wanted to share the wealth of the Pauline charism.

In 2017, Sr Eulalia was transferred from Iloilo to the Pasay City infirmary due to advancing age and fragile health. In November 2018 she contracted pneumonia–a health issue that hastened her meeting with her Lord and Master. She died peacefully in the hospital on Thursday, the day when the Provincial Chapter started.



           

Slovak teen to be beatified as a martyr to purity

An artist’s rendering shows Anna Kolesarova, a Slovak teen who was shot in 1944 in front of her family for resisting rape by a drunken Soviet soldier (CNS photo/courtesy Pastoral Centre of Anna Kolesarova)

SLOVAKIA – A 16-year-old peasant girl will be beatified as a martyr in Slovakia, seven decades after she was shot in front of her family for resisting rape by a drunken Soviet soldier.

Anna Kolesarova “embodies the faithful layperson living in their family, regularly receiving sacraments, praying the rosary and approaching God through good works. Her heroic testimony, drawn from a sincere spiritual life, is something every Catholic and believer can aspire to,” Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia, told Catholic News Service.

He said honouring Kolesarova, whose “reputation for holiness” had inspired young Slovaks, would give the local church a unique chance for spiritual growth.

“The story of 16-year-old Anna Kolesarova offers a strong message, of course, for the younger generation,” he said.

“Celebrating the divine grace which was present in her life will enable us to gather the faithful, but also to reach the wider civil society,” Archbishop Bober said. “Her story provides a spiritual response to today’s nostalgia for purity. It’s a message not confined to the younger generation, but one to move all faithful people.

“Servants of God who gave their lives for Christ in modern Slovak history were the victims of a totalitarian communist regime which suppressed religious freedom, and this will be the first layperson declared blessed,” he added.

Cardinal Giovanni Becciu, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, was to beatify Kolaserova in Kosice on September 1. At least 30,000 Catholics are expected to attend the beatification in Lokomotiva Stadium.

Kolesarova was born 14 July 1928, at Vysoka nad Uhom, near the present Slovak-Ukrainian border. When Kolaserova was 13 her mother died, so she took over household duties and regularly attended Mass and rosary services with her father and elder brother.

When the Red Army captured the village on 22 November 1944, witnesses said Kolasarova had donned her mother’s black dress to disguise her youth; she took refuge in the cellar. Asked to find food when a drunken soldier entered the house, Kolesarova broke free when he tried to rape her. She was shot twice through the head in front of her father and neighbours.

The 16-year-old was buried at night in a makeshift coffin but was given a formal funeral a week later by Father Anton Lukac, who recorded that she had received confession and Communion before her death and made a “sacrifice of holy purity.”

In a website statement, the Kosice Archdiocese said accounts of her testimony had been secretly gathered in the 1950s by Jesuit Father Michal Potocky. The statement said her grave had become a place of pilgrimage only after the 1989 collapse of communist rule.

In a pastoral letter, read in churches on 19 August 2018, the Slovak bishops’ conference said Kolesarova had been “fully aware, despite her young age” of what awaited her, and had instinctively “followed the voice of conscience” rather than “having time to think and philosophise.”

“Today, the temptations against purity are much greater than before — they weigh on the young soul from every direction, via the internet and media,” the letter said.

“We are tempted to ignore or succumb to manifestations of our imperfect human nature and the fragilities which characterise us as sinful people. In the light of faith, however, we are called to observe limits and boundaries, to be greater and more persistent.” – Catholic Herald

Why this man spent his last years caring for the dying

DENVER, Colo – By the time he passed away, death was familiar to Joe Doak.

Doak was a devout Catholic, and a veteran, who died July 29 at 96 years old. But before his own death, Doak had spent days and nights sitting beside dying men and women in a hospice, offering them a word of comfort and the encouragement of prayer.

In 2011 Doak became a vigil volunteer for Hope-West hospice in Grand Junction, Colorado. There, he would comfort the dying with prayers, hymns, discussions, or just the consolation of his silent presence.

A devout Catholic, Joe told the Daily Sentinel in May 2018 that he wanted to be a source of hope, letting those patients know that someone would be with them during their last hours.

“The main thing is to tell them that they’re not alone. They’re not dying alone,” he said. “I just hope that I’ve comforted and consoled them and given them hope,” he added.

Doak was an electrical engineer and raised six children with his wife Phyllis, getting married about 10 years after World War II, when he served as a communications officer in the United States Navy.

His family eventually moved to Gunnison, Colorado, where Doak owned an electronic store specializing in computers. He then moved to Montrose, where the Catholic engineer spent a large portion of his retirement time volunteering.

He volunteered in a variety of community activities – he taught seniors computer skills, he aided immigrants in their English, and he helped children with their reading skills. He was also a driver for Meals on Wheels.

“That is the makeup of my dad. He wants to help people, wants to comfort people that may be alone. He is a very religious person, so I think this played into him being a devoted Catholic,” his son, Roger Doak, told Colorado Public Radio.

Doak was inspired to hospice ministry after caring for his wife Phyllis during a seven-year struggle with Alzheimer’s. After she died in 2011, he saw an ad for the vigil volunteers and decided to use his experience with Phyllis for other people.

Each time Doak received a call about a person dying, he would go to introduce himself, usually to a complete stranger. Doak would sit with patients, offering his hand, making conversation, and singing Christian hymns. A favorite of his was “Open my Ears” by Jesse Manibusan, the Daily Sentinel reported.

Roger Doak told Colorado Public Radio that his father had most likely died alone, but expressed hope that the people he comforted were there to receive him in the end.

“I’d like to think that all those people that my dad had comforted when they died, were actually there with him when he died.”

WMOF: From Disabilty to unique ability

DUBLIN – The World Meeting of Families is well underway at the RDS Conference Centre in Dublin and includes a three day Pastoral Congress which is covering a wide number of themes.

One of the issues under the spotlight  is that of disability.

Speaker and panelist on this topic at the Congress is Cristina Gangemi a disability advisor to the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Director of the Kairos Forum which seeks to highlight and respond to the spiritual and religious needs of people with disabilities.

She spoke to Vatican News about her address which is about disability in the family saying, disability should be seen as a gift, a vocation and way of living, “rather than it being something that the family has to put up with or that it’s a tragedy that hit the family.” She added, that there needs to be a shift from “disability to unique abiltiy.”

The Kairo’s Director noted that great strides have been made in the area of disability and said that she was delighted to be part of this meeting because this issue had been included as “part of the general way of thinking about family life.”

Asked what she would like to see coming out of this World Meeting of Families, Cristina Gangemi said, “I would like to see that the World Gathering of Families celebrates the presence of people with disabilities just as part of the Church, not as something special, not as something sentimental, but just as they are, members of the Church that breathe the breath of God and love of Christ into their family; into their parish community and that they have some space to express that love and their faith in a way that’s right for them.” – Lydia O’Kane, Vatican News

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