lunes, 21 de noviembre de 2016

November 21 Renewal of vows of RGS; Martyrs and Martial Law victims remembered

Perpetually professed Good Shepherd Sisters in the Philippines made their devotional renewal of
vows November 21, during the Eucharistic Celebration on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary.

Eighteen apostolic and four contemplative communities in the country will hold the renewal of vows, in solidarity with the rest of the communities of the congregation in 74 countries.

Image of the Presentation.

In Quezon City, the Sisters, apostolic and contemplatives, gathered at the chapel for the 6:30 a.m. Mass. They also remembered four Good Shepherd Sisters and other members of religious groups who perished during the sinking of MV Cassandra on November 21, 1983 off the coast of Surigao, due to typhoon.

Srs. Consuelo Chuidian, Concepcion Conti, Virignia Gonzaga and Catherine Loreto, or Cassandra Martyrs, were on their way to Cebu for a process retreat in Banawa. The boat was prevented from leaving in the evening on Nov. 20 but was given go signal by the Coast Guard to leave port.

The centennial book of the Good Shepherd Sisters records that , “Survivors told of the four Sisters praying, distributing life vests, helping children put on theirs, and instructing other passengers to hasten towards the life rafts and to be ready to abandon ship, not calculating how little time they had to save themselves, until time did run out.”

On December 7, 1999, the four sisters were honored by Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation at its annual celebration of martyrs and heroes. With the inscription of their names in the wall of Remembrance is the following citation:

“For contributing to the protest movement against the Marcos dictatorship and human rights abuses, as street parliamentarians and religious superiors heading and implementing education, health, rehabilitation and justice programs, both through legal and extra-legal means; For leaving the safety and comfort of home and convent to work as rural missionaries among poor farmers, indigenous peoples and Muslims in remote areas of Mindanao, thus becoming active witnesses to the Church’s mission to serve the poor, deprived and oppressed at the height of state repression of the Church; For putting their individual talents at the service of country and people.”

Another name inscribed in the Wall of Remembrance in 2003 is that of Sr. Christine Tan, for her role in the protest movement against the Marcos dictatorship and human rights abuses.

Sr. Christine was the first Filipina Provincial of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, leading the province from 1970-1976. She was co-chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) from 1973-1976. Her co-chairpersons in the men congregation were Fr. Benigno Mayo SJ (1973-1975) and Fr. Lope Castillo MSC (1976). Sr. Christine was born on November 30, 1930 and died on October 6, 2003.

The Good Shepherd Sisters of the Philippine Province remember them, all the victims of human rights abuses and those who help them. Two RGS were also detained during Martial Law, Sr. Pilar Verzosa who passed away in 2012 and Sr. Zeny Pineda who continues her work with the poor. Both were among the Filipinos who were unjustly detained during the Martial Law regime imposed by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

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