The Magazine of the Missionary Society of St. Columban
Called to Life!
Inside: The Story of Sister Rosa Li CM JJ13 1 final.indd 1
5/5/13 9:41 PM
If Only Love Were Simple
ne of my favorite sayings about Jesus is that “He spoke with authority.” When people heard Him speak they recognized that what He said was profoundly true, that He knew. He understood what their lives were about. He did not speak in platitudes.
For Jesus, love was demanding. It was not a word used lightly for it required sacrifice. It was
something He worked at: facing the truth, siding with the poor, struggling against evil, denouncing sin, following His call, making difficult decisions, and maintaining hope through these decisions. Eventually He was killed for His attempts to love. One wonders why He would have been killed if He was just a preacher of a sentimental type of love and understanding; who would have objected to that? The Dominican priest Herbert McCabe claimed that the greatest enemy of Christianity was not self-interest but sentimentality. Many of us are not convincing because we speak in platitudes, especially about love. We suffer from the illusion that we must
In So Many Words
be right if we act out of love and that loving is easy
By Fr. Noel Connolly
and natural, requiring no training and discipline. The more basic virtue than love is truth, and our struggle is to do the truth in love. McCabe pointed out, “Every moral problem of the slightest interest is a problem about who is to get hurt; an injunction to love everyone concerned does not help decide that question.” For adults the question is often not “to hurt or not to hurt” but whom to hurt with justice. Politicians who have to decide who benefits from
For Jesus, love was demanding.
limited resources, doctors whom to treat and when to stop, parents who must decide between work and family, all know the complexity of real moral decisions. We wish that life was easier, that love was simpler and that it would bring us peace and wholeness but occasionally it does the reverse. It fragments us and
divides our hearts. It demands hard decisions and real discipline. But that is the nature of being an adult. The refusal to acknowledge this reality is to blur the pain and the glory of real love. It is to opt for platitudes and not to speak with an authority that convinces. Fr. Noel Connolly lives and works in Australia.
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The Anxious Edges of Mission Being Fully Alive By Fr. Patrick O’Shea
here was an item in the news here recently about a group that had started a fundraising scheme to place an ad on New Zealand buses that says “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” It is one more in a series of what seem like concerted efforts to undermine religious belief which has been blamed not only for the lack of joy in people’s lives, as this slogan suggests, but for many of the conflicts happening in our world. It is time, some say, for us to finally let go of belief in God and start living.
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That news item has given me much pause for thought. I have been thinking how some expressions of our Catholic faith, especially those with a strong emphasis on guilt and fear, on secrecy and silence, have generated serious levels of worry and made it hard for many to truly enjoy life. It is also true that religion has been a factor in many conflicts. Religion is one of the major fault lines along which society divides, and these fault lines which also include race, ethnicity, social status, gender and age are and have been
points of conflict. The edges where differences meet are generally turbulent and volatile places. Mission has always been about these kinds of edges. In the past it was common to think of these as geographical. Mission was something that happened overseas in cultures other than one’s own where the Gospel was not known or the church was still establishing itself. These days the boundaries of mission are closer to home. They are as close as the back fence or the church pew or even one’s own heart. The universality of mission www.columban.org
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Religion is one of the major fault lines along which society divides, and these fault lines which also include race, ethnicity, social status, gender and age are and have been points of conflict. has something to do with the fact that wherever people live they find themselves on one or more of these edges. A great deal of attention has rightly been given to the edge where different religious traditions meet each other, and we have come to understand dialogue as a key element in mission. I don’t know that we have given enough attention to the edge where faith meets non-faith. This is one of the anxious edges of mission. From my experience of working with young people I am concerned that the present generation of young Catholics face a determined attack on faith from outside at a time when there are deep and serious questions within their tradition that make them especially vulnerable and defenseless against such attacks. Many Catholics feel pushed to the edge of faith by things that have happened within their tradition, things that seem a long way from the vision of Jesus. We have witnessed a substantial exodus of people from church affiliation. A number of these have abandoned belief in God but many more suggest they have not crossed the boundary into non-faith. They continue their spiritual journey just in a new direction. Of the ones who remain within the Church many are trying to re-imagine faith in the light of the Gospel and of what is happening in and to our world while others try to re-establish the old certainties. All this means we are not well placed to relate to a world where many now believe that faith in God is infantile and www.columban.org
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incongruous with reality and should be abandoned. They are surprised that the religious urge has not already disappeared as its demise was confidently predicted centuries ago when Enlightenment thinking took hold in the West. Yet the religious urge remains, there is a growing interest in spirituality, and the majority of the poor people of the world still belong to a religious tradition.
The edge of faith/non-faith promises to be turbulent for some time. The consolation perhaps is that edgy places, while dangerous, can also be places of great creativity and energy, places where people feel very much alive. The experience of being fully alive is a large part of what the religious impulse promises us. CM Fr. Patrick O’Shea lives at St. Columbans, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.
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Indigenous People’s Day To Share and to Know Fr. G. Chris Saenz
n Chile the largest indigenous group is the Mapuche. Mapuche means “People of the Earth” [Mapu=earth, Che=people]. In recent years there has been a growing conflict between some Mapuche communities and the government over land rights. The granting of permits for lumber companies to cut down forests and the construction of interstate roads has provoked armed conflicts with police in some areas. Also, old disputes with the Catholic Church over the ownership of certain tribal lands have caused more tensions. There are some Mapuche organizations that advocate an autonomous Mapuche state, the expulsion of Chileans and all Christian churches from Mapuche 6
lands. The Columbans worked in the parish of Puerto Saavedra, which is a heavily populated Mapuche area, from 1991-2007. I had lived and worked in that parish for six years. In my final two years, I moved from the small town of Puerto Saavedra to a more rural sector known as Wapi [Mapuche for “island”]. Wapi is regarded as one of the traditional Mapuche areas where the native language and customs are strongly maintained. In John’s Gospel (John 6:60-69), we hear Peter’s words to Jesus, “You have the message of eternal life.” Peter’s words paint Jesus’ message as attractive, but the majority of Jesus’ disciples complained against Jesus’ message and many “left Him and stopped going to Him” because
Jesus’ message was “intolerable language.” What was the challenge of Jesus’ message? When I was a child I loved watching the old western movies. I dreamed of becoming a cowboy like most kids of my generation. Of course, today I imagine the heroes are Spiderman and Batman. But for me it was to become a cowboy like John Wayne, the greatest cowboy icon in Hollywood history. John Wayne was the image of the brave, strong adventurer who went into the Wild West to conquer the savage peoples. And he never surrendered. Years later, I entered the seminary and had a pastoral experience on a Native American reservation in South Dakota. The tribe was the Lakota Sioux. Maybe many are familiar with the movie “Dances with Wolves,” which is the tribe portrayed in the movie. The experience profoundly challenged my preconceived notions of United States history and Hollywood images. From the Lakota people I learned of the painful history of the “taming of the West” and the negative impact of forced Christianity. It was there that I learned that Native Peoples of the United States only gained their religious freedom to practice their native rites in 1978 with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Also, I was able to witness and participate in several Lakota rituals such as the sweat lodge and the sun dance. The Lakota concept of mitakuye oyasin, which means “all my relatives,” taught me an ecological vision that all of naturehuman beings, animals and plantsare relatives. It was impressive to witness a dignified people with long ancient rituals and customs much older than Christianity itself. WWW.COLUMBAN.ORG
These were not the wild savages of Hollywood fame. The message of the Lakota people challenged me to change my preconceived ideas and recognize the truth. From that moment on, some 20 years ago, I stopped watching John Wayne westerns. I could not watch those movies knowing how much damage the fabricated images have caused to a dignified people. When I returned from South Dakota I was asked to share my experience to a Biblical reflection group in a parish. A young woman commented on how admirable my testimony was but declared that she would never do such an experience herself. I asked her why. She said, “Because I fear that the experience would demand such a powerful conversion in my life that I would not be able to do it. I prefer to be ignorant.” I recall the challenge of the Gospel, “intolerable language.” Like the disciples of Jesus, the young woman was a good person and did what is good. Yet, it is not enough to be good and do what is good. Jesus also asks for a complete conversion of the spirit. We have
to go beyond what we know and believe. Jesus does not ask us to be ignorant. He asks us to seek the truth. Now looking to our current Chilean reality, I recall my six years in Puerto Saavedra and Wapi where I worked with the Mapuche people. The moment I decided to move from the small town to a Mapuche sector in the country, I told a Chilean person of confidence of my new mission. The person looked at me with intense eyes and said directly to my face, “I hate the Mapuche people!” As Christians we cannot be ignorant to reality, we have to recognize that racism and discrimination against indigenous peoples like the Mapuches is in our society. And sometimes the television images paint all the Mapuches as aggressive terrorists in the current conflicts. I lived in the middle of various different Mapuche ideologies including the most radical Mapuches that demanded a separate Mapuche state with no Chileans and Catholic Church. I knew those people and I tell you, they are not terrorists! In
all of my time living there I never once was threatened or attacked. In fact, in various moments I shared the same table with them. I broke the same bread with them. I was always shown great respect. I know many Mapuches who fight for their lands without arms or aggression. And I have to recognize the truth, when one policeman is harmed in a conflict it is broadcasted all over the news. However, if hundreds of Mapuches are harmed or attacked, we hear nothing at all. We cannot be ignorant of this reality! When I left Wapi, I left with a heavy heart. I did not want to go. I realize I did not improve the lives of the Mapuches. But, that was not the mission. The mission was to share life and know the truth. In reality, my life was improved because of them. In my farewell celebration, the Mapuches told me, “Father wherever you go, take us with you. Tell them about us.” And that is the message of eternal life. CM Columban Fr. G. Chris Saenz, pictured below, lives and works in Chile.
Water for Life Survival Despite Scarcity by Fr. Tomás King
he Parkari Kohlis are a low caste Hindu Tribal People whose homeland is located in the south east of Pakistan, in the Thar Parkar Desert whose center is the small town of Nagar Parkar. It is just three miles from the border with India. Thar Parkar is Pakistan’s largest district at nearly 20,000 square kilometers and comprising an estimated 2,350 villages. The desert also extends into India. It is extremely poor with an estimated population of one and a quarter million people. The majority of Parkari Kohlis live in India. Since independence and the Partition of the Indian Sub-Continent in 1947, they are a divided people, living on both sides of the artificially created Pakistan/ India border. In Pakistan they are referred to as the non-scheduled caste, which bears the connotation of untouchable. This has led to entrenched discrimination and oppression down the centuries. There has been a Christian presence in the town for more than 30 years through the Boys Boarding Hostel run by the Diocese of Hyderabad. The town has the only government high school in the area, so if there were no hostel facilities it would not be possible for these children to continue their education beyond primary level. 8
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In addition there are 25 outlying villages, each of which has a small number of Christian families, totaling about a hundred in all. Numbers wise it is a small parish but geographically large, so I spend on average ten to twelve days a month there. The mission to Nagar Parkar itself was established in the early 1960s by Franciscan Friars. It was then a difficult and hazardous mission. It entailed a seven day trek across the desert from interior Sindh by camel. With the coming of the four wheel drive jeep, this was reduced to a twelve hour journey. With the new road, the journey has been reduced further, and the desert can be crossed in four hours, though most villages are still only accessible through four wheel drive jeeps. Road infrastructure is slowly developing, which is cutting down the travel time. One reason for the construction of new roads is to facilitate the government and business exploitation of the natural resources in the area. This includes marble in the hills surrounding Nagar Parkar and coal under large areas of the Thar Parkar Desert. There is also white china clay used in the making of ceramics. The already scarce water used in processing of the white clay
Water ﬁlter draining potable water into storage pot
is seeping into the underground water-table and contaminating it. It is hard not to see the same thing happening when the coal-mining begins as priority is not given to the impact on the environment that such mining causes. Underneath the sands of the desert lies one of the largest reservoirs of coal in the world today. The country does not produce sufficient energy for its people’s needs, and power cuts are a daily occurrence. The coal has the potential to supply energy for generations; but at what cost? It is an ecological disaster waiting to happen. Many Parkari Kohlis own land in Nagar Parker but due to www.columban.org
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“Indeed, water is life! Without water there is no life. It is the most basic thing for living. It is unsurprising that water is a central symbol in several great religious traditions.” Fr. Tomás King, left, with villagers at the newly built water tank
insufficient water supply a viable living is difficult. This forces the majority of Parkari Kohlis to cross the Thar Desert into Sindh, to work for feudal landlords as landless peasants. They become indebted to their landlords so in effect are bonded laborers. A minority of the Parkari Kohlis migrate back and forth, depending on the extent of the monsoon season. Thar Parkar is not connected to the massive canal network that covers a lot of the country, so is dependent on rains during the July and August monsoon season. If the rains do not come, life becomes even more precarious than usual for the people. To have a fair chance of having a good crop the monsoon rains need to come three times at intervals of three weeks or so over a two month period. If only one or two rains come, the crops are stunted which seriously affects production. Water is a life and death issue in Thar Parkar. Despite heavy flooding in recent years, there are intense water shortages in parts of the country. It is already a serious issue and will become more pronounced in the coming years. Climate change, in the form of increasing temperatures, melting glaciers in the Himalayas and Hindu Kush Mountains in the www.columban.org
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north of the country and lower rainfalls are contributing to the situation, a situation that will worsen if the country’s 170 million population doubles as it is projected to do so in the next 25 years or so. Women in Thar Parkar, as in many parts of the world, are charged with the task of collecting water. When it becomes scarce they have the even more arduous task of traveling longer distances to collect it from tube-wells. On summer days temperatures can be as high as 118.40 F. The falling water table means that water needs to be drawn from depths that can reach 200 feet. So it is easy to imagine the consequences for women who may be pregnant or malnourished. The Thar Desert region receives between 260 and 280 mm of rainfall annually. If stored properly this would be sufficient to meet the domestic needs of the people and their livestock until the next monsoon season. But because of inadequate water storage and rainwater collecting facilities, more than 95% of the water is lost under sand dunes or evaporates in the intense summer heat. Pakistan is considered a water scarce country, and it is one of the world’s most arid regions. Rains are becoming erratic, which along with overuse of limited water is expected
Drawing water from the well
to create severe problems for the country in the years ahead. To help prevent this, the country needs to promote the proper conservation and management of water. It needs to implement workable rainwater collecting facilities at the village level so as to reach as many people as possible and alleviate some of their difficulties. During the monsoons of 2011 and 2012 heavy rains in the Thar Desert recharged parched shallow wells, raised water tables in deep June/July 2013
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wells and filled household cisterns. In anticipation and hope for good monsoon rains people usually prepare their fields every year in late July before the rainy season starts. They plough and plant seeds of millet, cluster bean, sesame, kidney bean, cow peas, muskmelon, watermelon, squash melon, wild cucumber and other wild plants. Prior to the rains, they also clean ditches and depressions for storing rainwater. When the monsoon rains arrive they turn dusty and arid villages in the district into an oasis with lush green foliage and plenty of water to drink and to bathe. There is also sufficient pasture for livestock to graze and thrive on. The lives of people are invigorated. They begin to cultivate crops, bring back their livestock from interior Sindh, and they store as much rainwater as possible. It is an awe inspiring sight to see a semi-arid desert turned into lush greenery, if only for a short time. But, the accumulated rainwater in these ditches and depressions lasts only for three to four months, so for the rest of the year the people depend on brackish water of wells, which results in health hazards among humans and livestock. The links between water quality and health risks are well established. An estimated 250,000 child deaths occur each year in Pakistan due to water-borne diseases. One example of illness linked to the quality of water is fluorosis which is caused by the high content of fluoride, which causes people to develop bone deformities plus skeletal and dental problems. Decreasing water levels in wells and a subsequent increase in the fluoride concentration are endangering the lives of people who have no alternative but to drink such water. A survey of one 10
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Finishing the tank
village found that 250 of the 950 population were suffering from fluorosis. In a normal day, family members of each household spend around 4-6 hours carrying 4-5 clay pots amounting to 50-60 liters of water from wells. The necessity is for the introduction of lowcost technologies to collect huge supplies of water, which can help meet needs of the people throughout the year. Water conservation experts claim that that there are several viable ways of collecting and storing rain water which include piped roof water collection, building ponds, and building small dams that would allow it to seep underground for the water table level to rise. But the construction of such water conservation techniques is not possible without serious investment by government. To date neither the provincial or federal government has taken this life and death issue seriously enough. The Catholic Church, in its outreach, seeks to alleviate a little of the suffering. One modest effort is the construction of water tanks to store water. They are built underground with a large concrete area on top to catch the monsoon rains. They are built to a capacity of 2,000 gallons. The monsoon rains are so heavy that they fill the water tanks in a matter of hours. The materials and expertise are funded through the parish
enabled by generous benefactors. The contribution made by the people receiving the tanks is to dig the holes and provide the labor to the block layer cum plasterer. In a village of 30 families, 30 tanks have just been completed. When the monsoon rain water is used up, it can be refilled in bulk by drawing water from distant wells in oxen and car, camel and cart or donkey and cart. This work is done by men, and it saves the women from having to fetch water each day. In addition to the water tanks water filters are provided. They are made from the traditional clay pots that people use for drawing and storing water. Layers of pebbles, gravel and sand are put into one pot, which is filled with water. The filtered water then drains through a pipe into a second pot and is now safe for drinking. They work effectively and are an example of simple technology appropriate to the peoplesâ€™ needs and context. The new water storage facilities have transformed the lives of people. They have a source of safe, clean water, and diseases have diminished. It gives more opportunity for children to go to school, and women have more time to spend on other activities, and maybe have a little rest! Indeed, water is life! Without water there is no life. It is the most basic thing for living. It is unsurprising that water is a central symbol in several great religious traditions. As Christians it is through baptism that we enter into the life of the risen Christ. In the words of Khalil Gibran: In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence. CM CM
Columban Fr. TomĂĄs King lives and works in Pakistan.
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The Negros Experience of the Subanen Crafters Living in Harmony By Mercy Gawason
Recently the Subanen women, who work in the Subanen Crafts project with Columban Fr. Vincent Busch, on the island of Mindanao, Philippines, went on an exposure trip to the island of Negros to visit Fr. Brian Gore and the Negros Nine Demonstration farm. It was the first time for the women to experience flying in an airplane, hearing the Ilonggo language, and eating new kinds of food. The trip was a mutually enhancing experience for the Subanen women and for the staff of the demo farm. Mercy Gawason of the Subanen Crafts group reflected on her Negros experience: When we arrived in Bacolod, Negros, everything was new to us. The language of the people there is Ilonggo and is beautiful to hear. It sounds so musical. We heard that Bacolod is called the “City of Smiles.” But also we experienced it as a “City of Love,” because the people showed us deep respect and concern. We felt safe in their care. The best place we visited was the Negros Nine demo farm with Fr. Brian Gore. Fr. Brian gave us a short introduction about the farm in which he explained how the farm uses sustainable ways of producing food and livelihoods for the poor. After his talk we traveled to the farm site in the mountains. The road was very difficult but was worth it, because it is such a beautiful place and because of the warm welcome given to us by the staff. www.columban.org
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At the farm we saw how the staff cares for the plants, trees, and the whole mountain ecosystem. They loved and respected the plants and animals by providing a place where they could all live together in harmony. We saw the wind turbine which produces electricity for the farm. We also visited the reforestation area where we saw the “Mother Tree” of the forest. The staff called it the “Mother Tree,” because it was the only remaining tree from the original rainforest. Then, we climbed above the reforested area where we could see all the way to the sea. We also had a briefing from one of Fr. Brian’s staff members about the serious problem of human trafficking. Human trafficking is also a problem for the Subanen people. Illegal job recruiters entice poor tribal women like us with jobs in bigger cities in the Philippines and abroad. Sometimes the women
they recruit are never heard from again. After our experience at the demo farm our Subanen group bonded together at a mountain park. There we experienced wall climbing, zip lines, and swimming in the pool. As part of our reflection we became more thankful that we are Subanen Crafters. Our Negros experience was filled with so many happy moments and profound experiences. We thank all who have supported our Subanen Crafts and those who help make our trip possible. May God always grant us His peace and blessings. CM
Subanen crafter Mercy Gawason provided this article. Mercy works with Columban Fr. Vincent Busch in the Subanen Crafts program. The crafters visit to Negros was the first time the two groups started and aided by Columbans had been together.
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Almost a Century of Faith The Story of Sister Rosa Li By Fr. Rick LaBrecque
ould the future be a good topic to bring up with a 91-year-old? Yes, if that person is Sr. Li Fen Fang of the Sisters of St. Mary of Hanyang, China. With a twinkle in her eye, she mentions that her elder brother is hale and hearty at 101, and regularly beats his 80-year-old son in their daily games of mahjong. As we converse on this pleasant autumn day in 2011, seated in the simple, unheated combined community room and refectory of the Sisters’ convent behind St. Columban’s Cathedral, it quickly becomes apparent that her strength and health are not limited to the physical. This is a woman of strong will and even stronger faith. To have lived through the previous 91 turbulent years of Chinese history, and to have done so as a Catholic and on-again-off-again religious Sister, and still be today the vibrant, cheerful, prayerful woman I had the privilege of meeting, can be explained in no other way. Li Fen Fang (the Chinese practice is to place the surname, in the case of this family “Li,” ahead of given names, and to address a person by the family name) was born in January of 1920, a time of great disruption and confusion 12
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in China. The Republic of China had been proclaimed in October 1911, and the Qing Dynasty had capitulated not long afterward, thus ending the thousands of years of Imperial China. But years of conflict, unrest, and “Who’s in charge?” were to follow. Born in the village Chang Dang Kou in the Province of Hubei, Li remembers that when she was a child people still sometimes dressed up in Imperial Era uniforms, and townsfolk would be afraid whenever soldiers appeared. There were factions within the republic, and she remembers an especially fearful time with the arrival of the left wing forces when she was seven years old. Hundreds of years before, European Franciscans and other missionaries had evangelized this part of China. Through all the ups and downs of subsequent centuries, during much of the time there were no priests to pastor or celebrate the sacraments. Yet some villages in their entirety, and groups of families in others, maintained their faith. Elders passed down the prayers and catechism from one generation to the next. Interestingly, as a very young girl Li was uncertain of her family’s
religion, and so was her mother. She says that she reasoned that they must be Christians, since during the Lunar New Year Festival they would light candles and not, like their non-Christian neighbors, burn incense or paper money, or “kowtow” in honoring their ancestors. It actually turned out to be the case that she belonged to one of these traditional Catholic families. A major development shortly after her birth was the arrival in nearby Hanyang of Father Edward Galvin and other Irish priests, initiating the Maynooth Mission to China there. Galvin had founded this missionary group specifically to go in mission to China, and they soon became known by the name which is still used today, the Missionary Society of St. Columban. Vocations were plentiful in Ireland, America and Australia, so despite the complications of the ever-changing political situation in China, Columban priests soon fanned out from the central city of Hanyang to towns and villages in the surrounding countryside. And so they came to Chang Dang Kou when Li was a young child. This generated a great renewal of faith and practice in www.columban.org
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the community, along with rapid growth through conversions of individuals and entire families. Sisters of Loretto were recruited from America and schools established. Li’s uncle came to be a teacher in the seminary and her brother, Li Heng Ping, taught in the primary school established by the church. Hanyang, and its sister cities of Hankou and Wuchow (today consolidated politically as the major city of Wuhan), are located at the confluence of the great Yangtze River and one of its major tributaries, the Han. In 1931 the Yangtze River basin experienced one of the worst floods in over 100 years. People in the cities and surroundings were completely washed out of their homes and lands and, as is typical of river flooding, the water just sat in place for weeks. The Columbans and Sisters opened their homes and churches in Hanyang to hundreds of refugees. Some young Christian lay women joined them in this www.columban.org
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Bishop Galvin in China
ministry of shelter, feeding and health care, and came to live together as celibate lay women. Eventually they were given the name of Virgins of Mary. This form of lay community had a long history in China. The movement became permanent, and a group of five Virgins also went to live and work as catechists in Chang Dang Kou. Young Li was deeply impressed by the work and teaching of Columban Fr. Timothy Leahy in her village. Although she didn’t know them well, she also found herself being attracted to the Virgins’ dedicated life of prayer, peace and service. She approached Father “Li,” as his Chinese parishioners
called Fr. Leahy, and he encouraged and instructed her. In 1937, this culminated with her baptism at the age of 18 as “Bao La” (Paula). That watershed personal event was followed soon afterwards by a traumatic national development— the 1938 invasion and occupation of China by the Empire of Japan. This development eventually made it impossible for the priest to visit the village. The Virgins were also brought back to the group’s main residence at the Church of Our Lady in the city of Hanyang. With them went some village girls who had recently been recruited. In the midst of all this, Galvin, who had become a Bishop when June/July 2013
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Bishop Galvin, third from right, in China
the Vicariate Apostolic of Hanyang was erected in 1927, was actively pursuing his long-range goal of developing a religious community out of the group of lay virgins. On March 19, 1938 he petitioned Rome for just that and received the letter of approbation on June 3. Thus one day, towards the end of the year, to her surprise Li was handed a letter which had been mailed to her in her village from Hanyang. It was from the virgins who were now in formation to be Sisters. They wrote, “If you want to study to become a Sister, you should come to study as soon as you can, because now our bishop is recruiting people who want to become Sisters.” Excited, Li asked her parents, and they approved, seeing this also as a move which would give her more security during the occupation. Her mother’s one condition, as a faithful observer of Chinese tradition, was that her daughter stay with the family for the celebrations of the Chinese 14
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Lunar New Year Festival. That fulfilled, she left home and arrived in Hanyang by the fifteenth day of the New Year, the last day of the New Year celebration. This began a period of sharing the life and work of the community as a candidate. There were postulants, novices and candidates at various levels of progress toward religious profession. Two American Loretto Sisters were in charge. On October 7, 1940, the first Sisters of Our Lady of Hanyang professed their vows, and the Congregation was born. Meanwhile, Paula Li was studying, praying and being trained as a midwife. The Sisters’ work was expanding rapidly. Here’s how she described it in our interview: “We would go out into the city and villages, meet people, and tell them good things about God. We would visit poor people, assess their needs, and bring this information back so the missionaries could help them. We would care for the sick. Each day some of us would go out,
carrying a little box with medicines, etc. Others would work in the clinic which had been set up in the Sisters’ compound. We would assist pregnant women and be midwives for their babies’ delivery. Some, who could pay a little, stayed in the clinic. Others were served in this way at home free of charge. After a day’s work, we would come home to pray.” An interesting detail concerns their ministry to the dying, whom they frequently encountered. After providing whatever physical care they could to a seriously ill person, they would ask if he or she would like to be baptized. A “Yes” or nod of the head led to baptism. A “No” or shaking of the head did not. For those unable to respond due to unconsciousness, a yes was presumed! Vicariate reports list a remarkable annual count of deathbed conversions! The Japanese occupation did not greatly interfere with the church nor the Sisters. Although www.columban.org
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they were hard on the people, in general, the Japanese respected religion. The Columbans were all from Ireland, the U.S.A. and Australia, with whom the Japanese were not initially at war. To remind the occupiers that they were foreigners, Columban Bishop Galvin had English-language signs posted on the cathedral and other church facilities. And, Irishman though he was, he took the extra precaution of having the British Union Jack flown over the cathedral! Still, there was danger. Li recalled an incident which involved her. The Sisters’ compound was just outside the east wall of the city. One day she and a student were walking from there to the bishop’s office inside the walls. The gate was guarded by Japanese soldiers. As required to do, Li bowed to the soldiers. The student somehow did not. One soldier reacted angrily, pointing his bayonet so forcefully at her that it opened up her coat. She was frightened out of her wits. Li calmly told her to bow. This time he was satisfied and let them pass. When they arrived at Bishop Galvin’s office and told him of the experience, he walked them to the same gate pass, took them each by the hand, and marched with them right back through the gate. He told them, “Now he sees you are with me. You will never be bothered again.” And they were not! Paula Li was clothed as a novice in October 1943. That same year, as Chinese resistance to the Japanese occupation expanded, the Japanese began bombing. At the time, Li was caring for some pregnant women in the clinic. One of the superiors asked if she was afraid of the danger that they might be www.columban.org
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bombed. She replied, “No, but I do get butterflies in my stomach!” The superior said that was a sign that she was really afraid. As the bombing intensified, there were many deaths, including Bishop Xi and two Sisters in Hankou, just across the river. Concerned about the Sisters’ safety, Bishop Galvin moved many of them, particularly those still in formation, to an empty seminary building in Hanchuan, an isolated village about an hour outside the city. While Paula Li was in that refuge, an important date arrived. On October 7, 1944, there was a special Mass. Because of the impossibility of Bishop Galvin safely traveling to Hanchuan from Hanyang, it was celebrated by Columban Father Patrick Maguire. Immediately following the homily, with great emotion and joy, Paula Li and five fellow-novices knelt and said life-changing words. When her time came, in a clear voice, she said: “I, Sister Rosa, in the presence of Our Lady, the Bishop’s representative, these assembled priests, the Superior General and my Sisters, vow for one year poverty, chastity and obedience in the presence of God.” Eight years of patient preparation had come to fruition – Li Fen Fang was now Sr. Rosa, a Sister of Our Lady of Hanyang. In 1945, the Japanese surrendered and the authority of the Republic was reestablished. The Sisters returned to normal life and work in Hanyang and were not molested. Some of the senior Sisters professed perpetual vows. The others, such as Sister Li, continued to renew their vows annually. However, there was growing instability, as the split grew between Chiang KaiShek’s Guomindang and Mao
Zedong’s Communist faction. This ultimately resulted in civil war. In 1949, Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic of China. Guomindang soldiers began to desert and wander aimlessly, posing a real threat to people in an increasingly lawless situation. Thus when the Communists arrived in the area, they were hailed as liberators and, as Sr. Li said, the people “opened their doors to them.” Things were calm for a while, but little-by-little the Communist authorities began encroaching on the church’s freedom. Missionaries were identified with foreign imperialism. Gradually all were either expelled or accused of treason and imprisoned. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Bishop Galvin became increasingly concerned for the well-being of the Sisters. If he were deported, the Sisters and their extensive ministries and institutions would have no means of support. So on February 18, 1951, he told the Mother General that he was releasing all temporarily professed Sisters (the majority) from their vows. For their own safety, they should return to their families. They must lead normal, civilian lives and were free to marry. For Sr. Rosa Li and her companions, this was devastating news received with heartfelt tears. Bishop Galvin was in fact deported on September 17, 1952. The small number of perpetually professed Sisters continued the somewhat underground existence of the congregation. Most followed the Bishop’s order to return to their families for safety, yet most kept their vows despite pressure from the authorities to renounce the faith and much urging to marry. Three Sisters who had no June/July 2013
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families continued to live together as religious in a small area of the convent. At some point before 1955, they were evicted as the government had taken over the entire convent complex for a teacher training college. They then took refuge in a small area behind St. Columban’s Cathedral. Finally, in 1966 the Cathedral was closed during the Cultural Revolution. These Sisters then were forced to move back to their home villages even though they had no families there. Sister Li, however, was just a little over six years professed in 1951, and like most of the other young Sisters, still in temporary vows. Thus she was one of those dispensed and told to return to her family and village. The emotion of that tragic development is still strongly expressed when she speaks of it more than 60 years later. She went to live with her older brother at his school for more than a year and initially got small part-time jobs in factories and hospitals. At one point, she worked in an umbrella factory which was set up in the former Wuchang Cathedral. Her training and experience in nursing and midwifery led to a good job in a hospital where she worked from 1953 to 1963. She then took a 16
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Bishop Galvin and children in Hanyang.
similar position in another hospital, staying there till 1976, the year the horror of the ten-year Cultural Revolution ended. During these years, she lived in the women’s dormitories at the hospitals. Even though dispensed from her vows, Sr. Li was determined to faithfully live the commitment which she still maintained in her heart. This posed tremendous challenges. One of the biggest was pressure from the government for her to marry. Others in her situation did do so, as they were free to do, yet it was not always a truly free choice. Sr. Li recalls one former companion who steadfastly refused the pressure. Finally, after the government had her beaten, she submitted. Sr. Li was now 33 years old. To make her more marriageable, officials took ten years off her official birth record to make her
23! A young fellow-worker in the hospital, chosen by a matchmaker for her, did his best to win her affection. She steadfastly ignored him, and he finally gave up. In 1955, the Communist government began a large-scale campaign to take down the Church, accusing it of being hostile to Communism. The foreign missionaries were already gone or in prison. Now it struck at Chinese bishops, priests, religious and laity who were considered to be leaders. After being denounced, they were imprisoned. Sadly, it was sometimes supposedly faithful and trustworthy church members who denounced them with trumped-up charges. Most were tortured to try and get them to confess to being counter-revolutionaries. Many were eventually executed in horrible ways, including the firing squad, hanging, being dragged to death, beaten to death, and even being buried alive. During this time Sr. Li’s brother Li Heng Ping was killed for his faith. Sister Li, now 36, was not considered a leader, so she was not imprisoned. Instead, along with a number of other people, she was held in isolation many times over the course of that year for so called reeducation and selfcriticism. It was a very traumatic experience. They were guarded 24 hours a day to prevent anyone from committing suicide. Still, under the intense pressure, one person unsuccessfully attempted this by drinking poison. Sr. Li told them not to worry, for she would never consider such a surrender. Every day she would be interrogated and pressured to admit her “errors.” She was expected each day to write down and sign a confession of at least one error. One tactic she used to outwit www.columban.org
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her interrogators was to carefully read the newspapers for clues to safe answers. For instance, she read in the paper that it had been determined that the Rosary was not counterrevolutionary. Thus, when told to say or write what she did when she prayed, she would respond, “I pray the Rosary.” On one occasion, she was placed in the middle of a group of twelve people. They vigorously interrogated her about her “errors,” trying to get her to admit that she had collaborated with “foreign invaders.” She categorically denied this, saying that the foreigners with whom she had associated came to China to do good deeds. In response, she was told that she herself did many good deeds but that her mind was erroneously attached to Christianity. If she simply changed this, all would be well. Her response was, “My family and I have believed in Christianity since I was a child, and I will never change.” “What a shame,” they told her, “that’s the only problem we have with you. Just be smart, and turn your back on this belief.” There was no danger that this strong woman of faith could ever be tricked or pressured into doing so! At the end of six months, with no incriminating evidence found, she was allowed to resume her normal life and work in the hospital. That didn’t mean her challenges were over. In 1956-57, the Chinese government implemented the first phase of family planning and birth control. The hospital maternity department began to perform abortions. Sr. Li’s immediate supervisor informed her that she would be expected to participate in these procedures. This led to a heated argument in which Sr. Li insisted that she could not www.columban.org
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and would not. It would violate her religious beliefs. She was in real hot water. She doesn’t know how, but word of this reached the hospital’s director of personnel. He instructed the supervisor that Sr. Li must not be forced to do this. Thereafter she was exempted and left to perform other duties. Her comment after all these years, “I would prefer to clean toilets than to go against my faith.” In 1957 the government realized that it had failed to stamp out the church despite the persecution. It took another track and formed a quasi-national church that it would be able to control, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Bishops, clergy and religious who submitted were again allowed to function. The primary problem with this, of course, was that it officially eliminated the authority of the Pope and the unity of Chinese Catholicism with the universal church. This presented clergy, religious and laity with a tremendous dilemma. Seeking to discern what would be best, some chose to join and keep the Church alive; others refused, forming what came to be called the “Underground Church.” The Cultural Revolution attacked all institutions as counterrevolutionary. Churches were closed. Property was expropriated. Educated and professional people, including bishops, priests and nuns, were forcibly sent to do manual work in the countryside and undergo “reeducation.” Fortunately, her valuable nursing and midwifery skills being needed, Sr. Li was able during this period to continue working in the hospital without too much trouble. At one point the head of the hospital did try to get her to join the Communist Party.
When she refused on religious grounds, he said, “Well, just go ahead and fill out the application.” She wouldn’t budge. What support did Sr. Li have during this quarter century of being on her own and faithfully living the religious commitment she had made as a young woman? A sort of underground support group was maintained by many of the exiled former Sisters, who kept in contact with each other in various ways. When possible, they would meet with the three older Sisters who continued to live in community until 1966. Another refuge where they would sometimes be able to gather was in the apartment which was shared by two of the Sisters. During all this time they never gave up hope. Sr. Li retired from the hospital in 1976, the same year that the horrors of the Cultural Revolution were ended by the government. The churches were allowed to reopen, the Chinese clergy and religious to return and function. Sr. Li went to live in a house that had been owned by her deceased eldest brother and survived on her pension. Later, she moved to Hankou, where she could rent inexpensive quarters in a building owned by the hospital.
Sr. Li, center
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With the advent again of more freedom of religion, in 1979 a few of the surviving Sisters reoccupied their former dwelling behind St. Columban’s Cathedral. Once again, after so many decades, the Sisters of Our Lady of Hanyang were living together their vocation. Would the community, tried by so much persecution, ultimately survive? In 1991, they took the major step of accepting four young women as candidates. In the years since, more women have gradually joined. Tremendous challenges remain, but they are committed and sharing the hardship of a very poor, precarious community life together. During this time, Sr. Li continued her private life of religious commitment, practicing her faith, living her former vows, attending Mass with the Sisters when possible, and helping out with tasks like cleaning the church when she could. On December 23, 2000, she went to St. Columban’s for Mass. Afterwards, the sacristan informed her that two Bishops wanted her to know that they felt she should not leave. This was certainly an unexpected message, but at the same time, she says, she was not really surprised. Neither, at first, was she ready to accept it as a message from 18
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L-R: Columban Fr. Dan Troy, Sr. Li, Fr. Rick LaBrecque
God. She knew that one of those Bishops, Bishop Tu of Hanyang itself, whose Cathedral was St. Columban’s, had sent two of his own blood sisters to live with the community and be cared for. Sr. Li did not approve of this. Accustomed by now to dealing with higher authorities whose manipulations were not always the most highly-motivated, she couldn’t help but wonder if he thought her nursing skills would benefit his own sisters! Nonetheless, she decided to stay for the next three days and then leave. She has never left since! At the conclusion of our second conversation, I asked Sr. Li for any words or thoughts that she would like to share with anyone who might read her story. Here is what she said after prolonged thought and reflection: “During my lifetime, there has been much hardship for us
Christians. This was a real burden in my heart, as I sought to always be faithful. Today, there is much more freedom and less danger for Christians. I would like people in the future to be aware of the sacrifice and suffering of those who went before them. Cherish your freedom in faith, and continue to love and spread it. What I have done, I did for the Church. As Christian people, whether Sisters or lay Catholics, we are all responsible to share our faith. By our testimony, we can touch people. Even if we fall short, even if we don’t achieve all we really want to do, we should do as I did. I always tried to do the best I could at this, even if it was imperfect.” Sr. Li continues to live a quietly active life with her much younger fellow Sisters of St. Mary. She shares in their prayer, community living, and even work. She is now the only living Sister from the original vocations received by Columban Bishop Edward Galvin. At 91, we might think that she would not look forward to much of a future. Such questions don’t concern her. As she has for all these years, she lives cheerfully from day to day, leaving whatever the future may hold in the Lord’s hands. And, let’s not forget her older brother, still going strong at 101! CM Fr. Rick LaBrecque is a long time friend of the Missionary Society of St. Coumban.
Author’s Note: The information in this article is based primarily on interviews with Sister Li at the convent in Hanyang in autumn of 2011. Now two years later, she is still going strong at 93. Her elder brother, however, ended his earthly journey in November of 2012. www.columban.org
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A Visit to Nagasaki Terribly Disappointing By Fr. Paul McCartin
his year the Japanese Catholic Council for Justice and Peace held its annual convention in Nagasaki. The keynote talk was given by Fr. Michael Seigel, SVD, an Australian teaching at Nanzan University in Nagoya. He talked about why the Catholic Church gets involved in justice and peace issues. Workshops were held on various issues including: peace, nuclear weapons, nuclear power, war reparations, the death penalty and other issues. I was happy to hear Bishop Koda say that he had participated in one of the weekly demonstrations in Tokyo against nuclear power. It is not every day that we hear of bishops joining in protests. He talked about the plan to build a nuclear power plant in the town his parents come from. Told that the town would get lots of money if residents agreed to allow the plant, a Buddhist priest immediately commented that, “It mustn’t be safe.” Walking into the hall where the reception was, a waiter suggested that I try the soup. “It’s whale.” “Whale!?” “Yes, the caterer specializes in whale.” After I picked myself up off the floor, I asked one of the leaders of the Council for Justice and Peace about this. He couldn’t understand why I had a problem with the menu. While in Nagasaki I took the opportunity to see the reclamation work in Isahaya Bay. Part of the bay was sealed off in 1997, in order to provide more land for farmers. www.columban.org
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Scenes from Nagasaki
But the number of farmers fell drastically, so that purpose became unacceptable. Officials came up with another, flood-control. Then a leaked internal report made it clear that the project would not function as a flood control measure either. In reality, it seems to be another of the many so-called public works projects which benefit the construction industry and its friends, not the public in general. In other words, the projects are a way to transfer tax money to the construction industry and the politicians and bureaucrats who support the industry. Isahaya was an important wetland, the largest staging site in Japan for the migratory shorebirds on the East Asia-Australasia Flyway (stretching from Australia and New Zealand to Siberia and Alaska) and habitat for an outstanding
diversity of bottom-dwelling organisms, including mudskippers, the endearing little fish that used to spend their time sliding across the mudflats at low tide, frolicking in the water at high tide and burrowing beneath the mud to avoid predators. The project was severely criticized by major nature conservation organizations in Japan and abroad. I remember being incensed by the Agriculture Minister’s comment, “The mudskippers will just have to fry (when the wetland dries up).” A man walking his dog showed me the original edge of the bay and summed the project up perfectly, “Totemo zannen desu.” It’s terribly disappointing. CM Columban Fr. Paul McCartin lives and works in Japan.
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Cultivating a Relationship Planting Seeds, Bearing Fruit By Amy Woolam Echeverria
hen I was a little girl and lived in North Carolina, my father had a vegetable garden, maybe about half the size of a football field. We had to walk to the garden from our house, through some woods to the clearing to get to it. Nights and weekends were when my dad and I would go out and plant, prune, weed, water and harvest. During those hours in the field, he taught me about intuiting the signs of seasons; the hard work of preparing space for things to grow; the patient but active waiting needed as the seeds progressed through their life cycle. He taught me about the joy of resting in the shade; the satisfaction of transforming barren landscape to abundant earth; the exhaustion of bending over in the noon-day sun; the sweetness of a strawberry grown and plucked between my fingers. But what I remember most about those nights and weekends were the hushed, almost unspoken, conversations. I remember my dad holding my hand in his as he showed me how to plant a seed and the way he would wipe sweat and 20
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dirt from my face with his shirt and how I could rest my head in his lap and look at the sky after a long day’s work. We were tending the relationship as much as we were the garden. There was as much fruit in our hearts as there was in the fields. We learn to be in relationship with Creation and with one another when we share in these simple but life giving moments. But as we all know, relationships demand attention. In scripture we read that in order for the tree to bear fruit it must be nurtured, pruned, watered, and tended. (Lk 13:9) We can’t say we want fruit without the willingness to do the hard work involved in bringing life to bear. There needs to be coherence between word and deed. (Mt 23:1) This year brought the historic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Among his legacies is his commitment to the environment. Consistently in his statements, messages, prayers and actions, Pope Benedict XVI, invites us into a “covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God.” (Message for the 2008 World Day of Peace, 7) Whether it’s planting
our own vegetable garden, reducing our consumption, or calling for just and sustainable environmental policies, God invites us into relationship with Creation and one another. Nearly 1,400 years ago, St. Columban captured the essence of this covenant when he said, “If you want to know the Creator, know Creation.” It’s been a long time since my dad and I worked that little plot of Carolina soil, but the seeds that were planted all those years ago continue to grow and bear fruit. CM Amy Woolam Echeverria is the director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington, D.C.
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Missionary Society of St. Columban Policy Statement to Our Benefactors
he Missionary Society of St. Columban, (a.k.a. Columban Fathers and hereafter referred to as the Society), deeply appreciates the spiritual and financial sacrifices of those who support our missionary endeavors. We consider the relationship with our benefactors to be a sacred trust, and we go to considerable lengths to honor that trust. As one of the founding organizations of the National Catholic Development Conference, we fully endorse the “Donor Bill of Rights,” a document developed by several not-for-profit organizations. These guiding principles promote high ethical standards in charitable fund-raising. By embracing these principles, we hope to preserve and promote the integrity of Catholic philanthropy and instill trust and confidence in the minds and hearts of those who support us. www.columban.org
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As a Columban benefactor, your rights include: • To be informed of our mission, the way we intend to use donated resources, and of our capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purpose. • To be informed of the identity of those who serve on our governing council, and to expect the council to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities. • To have access to the Society’s most recent Annual Report. • To be assured that your gift will be used for the purpose for which it is given. • To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition. • To be assured that information about your donation is handled with respect and confidentiality to the extent provided by law. • To expect that all relationships with individuals representing the Society will be professional in nature. • To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the Society, or hired consultants or solicitors. • To have your name deleted from our mailing list.
• To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and expect to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers. • To be assured that we never sell, rent, or exchange the names of our faithful benefactors with any other organization, agency or individual. • The Columban Fathers are a Catholic missionary society entrusted by the Holy Father with part of the Church’s mission “to spread the Faith and saving work of Christ.” (Vat.II) • The Society works under the guidance of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and under the leadership of the bishops. • The Columban Fathers are listed in the U.S. Official Catholic Directory published annually by ©P.J. Kenedy and Sons. • The U.S. Internal Revenue Service recognizes us as a religious not-for-profit corporation, therefore contributions to our work are tax deductible. • We employ no outside professional fund-raisers and pay no commissions. June/July 2013
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Ho n o r i n g t h e Pa r t n e r s h i p “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Matthew 28:19
Columban missionaries are in partnership with benefactors, staff and volunteers around the world as we fulfill Christ’s commission to all of us: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19 Society co-founder Bishop Edward Galvin knew this partnership well, and he wove it into a fabric that is distinctly Columban. Bishop Galvin once said, “We will have a good response from these letters. The Catholic people, God bless them, always respond when they can…Whatever it costs us in time or sleep, every letter must be answered. The man or woman who gives us prayers must be thanked, as is the person who sends us money. We have no right to ask for anything which we are too busy to acknowledge.” (Quotation from The Red Lacquered Gate.)
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Bishop Galvin’s charge is one that is alive and well within the Society today. Please partner with us now in this most important of all commissions. We will fulfill Christ’s commission and honor the partnership. Make a gift to the Columban Fathers by using the return envelope in this magazine or by visiting www.columban.org to donate online. For information about how to support the mission through a Legacy Gift, please contact Fr. Michael Dodd or Chris Hochstetler. Columban Fathers P.O. Box 10 St. Columbans, NE 68056 Phone: (402) 291-1920 Fax: (402) 291-4984 Toll-free (877) 299 -1920 email@example.com
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nce upon a time, the young missionary who had gone to live in a remote village observed that the women had to make a
seemingly arduous daily journey to the well. Before sunrise they set out with buckets on the mile-long walk, waited in line for their turn to draw the water up manually from the deep cistern, and then walked home with their arms straining from the weight of their precious cargo. “What a hard life these women have!” he thought, “I should do something to help
Finally, it opened my eyes to the realization that our thirst for water, for friendship and for God are inseparable.
them.” A short time later, thanks to the generosity of his family and friends back home, he was able to install a mechanical pump that delivered water
surprising discovery: they preferred the demands of
to several faucets at a site close to the village. The
drawing water from the well to the convenience of
young missionary was very
filling buckets from the faucet. Walking together
pleased with the success of
to the well, waiting in line, and walking back home
provided these women with an opportunity to share
However, some weeks
experiences, seek advice about family matters, and
later, the pump developed
build friendships. The installation of the pump and
a mechanical problem,
the faucets provided them with easy access to water, but deprived them of the “living water” of daily
FROM THE DIRECTOR By Fr. Tim Mulroy
encounters that nurtured their spirits and their community. As a young seminarian, hearing this story
which required the skills of an engineer who had
recounted by a seasoned missionary opened my
to come from the city. He fixed it, but within
mind to the complexity of the missionary life
days another mechanical problem surfaced which
before me. It made me realize that missionaries are
required a return visit. However, weeks later when
called to be both teachers and learners. It helped
the pump broke down a third time, the young
me understand the importance of actively trying to
missionary became greatly frustrated with his
understand other peoples and cultures. Finally, it
project. To his surprise, the village women didn’t
opened my eyes to the realization that our thirst for
seem to share his frustration; rather they simply
water, for friendship and for God are inseparable.
resumed their early morning trek to the well outside the village. Over the succeeding weeks as the young missionary conversed with the women, he made a
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COLUMBAN FATHERS PO BOX 10 ST. COLUMBANS, NE 68056
NON PROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID COLUMBAN FATHERS
An Invitation Calls for a Response We are but clay, formed and fashioned by Visit our Columban Website We encourage you to visit us online at www.columban.org. Through our website, you can join in our mission as together we help those who need it most. Learn more about: • making a donation to the Society or a specific project • our Mission Education programs • our gift annuity program • current projects and programs.
the hand of God.
That is to say, we are weak and vulnerable but with God’s grace we are capable of great generosity and idealism. Is God calling you to spread the good news? To a life of ministry among those who are less fortunate and more vulnerable than you are?
We invite you to join this new generation by becoming a Columban Father or Columban Sister. If you are interested in the missionary priesthood, write or call…
If you are interested in becoming a Columban Sister, write or call…
Fr. Bill Morton National Vocation Director Columban Fathers St. Columbans, NE 68056 877-299-1920 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.columban.org
Sister Virginia Mozo National Vocation Director Columban Sisters 2546 Lake Road Silver Creek, NY 14136 626-458-1869 Email: email@example.com Websites: www.columbansisters.org www.columbansistersusa.com
Japan + Korea + Peru + Hong Kong + Philippines + Pakistan + Chile + Fiji + Taiwan + North America
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