Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
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Sisters of Providence add the Philippines to Mother Joseph Province
the Inland Register
(From the July 17, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)
Three Sisters of Providence who will form a local community of Mother Joseph Province in the Philippines are (from left) Sisters Julia (Julie) Macasieb, Dalisay (Beth) Rayray and Lucila (Lucy) Vasquez. (IR photo courtesy of the Sisters of Providence)
On Saturday, May 17, at the close of the Sisters of Providence General Leadership Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Mother Joseph Province welcomed the Philippines and its three Sisters to the province’s membership.
The following afternoon, Providence Sisters Julia (Julie) Macasieb, Dalisay (Beth) Rayray, and Lucila (Lucy) Vasquez came to Seattle for a joyous welcoming celebration at St. Joseph Residence.
The change is a result of a lengthy discernment process begun in 2013 regarding the future of the Sisters of Providence in the Philippines. As outlined by Sister Karin Dufault, General Superior, in a communication to the members of the Religious community, factors taken into consideration included the small number of Sisters in the Philippines, the ministry needs that exist there, and the Sisters’ passion and commitment to being a Providence presence through collaboration and networking. There also is a desire for continued promotion of vocations in the region.
The outcome is that the three Sisters will remain in the Philippines as a local community of Mother Joseph Province (MJP), “while at the same time maintaining the long-standing supportive relationship with Holy Angels Province (in Edmonton),” Sister Karin wrote. “They want to retain the ‘Philippine-ness’ of mission, that is, inculturation of the mission through Filipino eyes, setting realistic priorities for ministry.”
Sister Judith Desmarais, MJP Provincial Superior, sent a letter of invitation to the Sisters in the Philippines at the end of 2013.
“We are most happy to welcome you to our province,” she said. “Your presence among us, first experienced at the Providence Retreat in Spokane in 2010, was a blessing for us as all of us shared our Providence life together. We know your presence will enrich our life as a province.”
Sister Julie lives in Diliman, Quezon City, and serves in campus ministry, Christian Formation for Youth, and vocation direction/accompaniment. Sister Beth lives in Punta Sta. Ana, Manila, and is currently on a cross-cultural experience in Holy Angels Province in Edmonton. Sister Lucy lives in Diliman, Quezon City, and is executive trustee and coordinator for the Office of Women and Gender Concerns, and a mission partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.
The history of the Sisters of Providence mission in the Philippines began with the arrival of five Sisters of Providence in Manila on Oct. 14, 1989, after the sector was established on Aug. 1, 1989. The location was unique in that it was in an urban area, rather than the traditional rural setting where the Sisters served in foreign countries. It also was unique because the invitation to come there came not from church authorities but from a group of Filipina Sisters who belonged to one of the three Western provinces of the Sisters of Providence: Holy Angels, Sacred Heart, or St. Ignatius.
Those Filipina Sisters shared “painful experiences of a double integration” of American culture and of Sisters of Providence culture. They invited Sisters to come to the Philippines to work with children, youth and families, to do pastoral work, and to do nursing. The five Sisters of Providence who responded to that call represented all three provinces: Sisters Renate Hayum, treasurer; Linda Jo Reynolds, formation director; Clarella Fink, superior; Fidela Adriano, assistant and secretary; and Lina Afinidad, councilor.
The Sisters survived volcanoes, typhoons and government coups. They opened the first house for aspirants in 1990. The first candidate was Julia Macasieb, in 1993. The Philippine Sector became a vice-province in February 2007.
Two other Sisters of Providence also joined Mother Joseph Province in May, receiving approval of a transfer of membership from Bernarda Morin Province in Chile. Sisters Marcia Gatica and Marisol Avilà professed perpetual vows in a liturgical celebration at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, last Nov. 24. Since late in 2011 they had been continuing their formation and discernment in Mother Joseph Province while remaining members of the province in Chile.
Sister Marcia is attending the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador, finishing her degree program in psychology. Sister Marisol is in Yakima, taking courses to increase her English language proficiency and doing volunteer ministry at St. Joseph Parish and with the Sisters.
With the addition of these five Sisters, Mother Joseph Province now has 137 professed Sisters and one novice. The province encompasses Alaska, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Washington, El Salvador and now the Philippines.
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