September 2015

From 2015-09-16 to 2015-09-30

the AsMIC confirm their peripheries

In the City of Pines (Baguio), Philippines, the AsMIC confirm their peripheries

The agape had for its theme “Gifted to Respond Gratefully to Mission for the Poor.” As an outcome of the AsMIC AGAPE, it is expected that AsMICs will:

- strengthen their bonds and commit to undertaking their responsibilities and commitments in line with the AsMIC vision, mission, organizational structure and broad plans

- Develop common aspirations and plans for concretizing the call to mission for the poor.

The bonds of friendship were definitely

sealed as new friends were made and old friends cherished the short time of being together. AsMICs committed to live the spirituality of Thanksgiving concretely by sharing blessings of time, talent and treasure to the peripheries. Where our peripheries are is something that AsMICs will be discussing with the help of their M.I.C. AsMIC coordinators. Sister Leonila Stewart who is also the National M.I.C.

AsMIC coordinator will guide both AsMIC Pangasinan and Metro Manila and Sister Lilia Frondoza will take charge of two Metro Manila AsMIC groups based in ICAM. Sister Justina Villagracia has been meeting faithfully with the AsMICs from Davao City while Sister Felisa Salac is doing the same with AsMICs Mati.

It was also a beautiful opportunity to say the Rosary together at the grotto of Mama Mary at the Assumption Sabbath Place, run by the Assumption Sisters. The chapel served as a fitting venue for daily Eucharistic celebrations presided by four different priests of different religious orders, the CICM, OFM, a diocesan priest and a Thai priest.

It was also a first time in Baguio for most AsMICs from Mindanao and so a tour of Baguio City was a must for them. To culminate the tour, The M.I.C. Novitiate was visited as well as the adjacent Holy Spirit Retreat Center which used to be owned by the M.I.C. It provided a good opportunity for AsMICs to commit to work for the promotion of more M.I.C. vocations so that more will spend their lives giving thanks to God. As Mother Délia Tétreault said, may our lives be a hymn of perpetual thanksgiving!

The AsMICs left Baguio with a promise and a hope to get together for a third Agape, having been relaxed and comforted in the Lord and by the Lord, physically, psychologically and spiritually! But before that would be materialized, the plans for a book about M.I.C. sisters, to help in the promotion of vocations and the drafting of scholarship guidelines to make education available to a wider population are being undertaken.

Victoria Ledonio Yao, AsMIC

“As missionaries, we must not be afraid to work, to devote and spend ourselves for others.” DT

From 2015-09-01 to 2015-09-22

A Second Chance

Nguyen Thi Minh Tam currently works as lab technician at the Montreal General  Hospital - a unit of MUHC (McGill University Health Centre).

By Nguyen Thi Minh Tam

In 1975 during the Vietnam war, the Communists from the North successfully captured South Vietnam, which was a Democratic state. I was twelve years old at the time and living with my family in Da nang, south of North Vietnam. Because of the invasion, my family hurriedly escaped to Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam.

After the successful capture of the South, my father, my brotherin-law and other officers were forced into concentration camps. My family was tagged with a red flag, and monitored by the now ruling government authorities. Democracy in Vietnam had ended. I lived in Saigon for seven years before escaping with my sister to Malaysia in a fishing boat. This was a dangerous risk. In the open sea, hundreds of boat people were victims of sea piracy and other accidents, but this was our only alternative to escape the communist regime.

The trip from Saigon to Malaysia took four days. We were placed in Pulau Bidong  refugee camp; we were very thankful because we knew that God had spared our lives and gave us a second chance to live freedom again. This camp received one or two boat loads of refugees every day from South Vietnam. The Island was filled with thousands of boat people crammed into temporary houses that were built by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); some stayed in shacks built by the refugees themselves. Wanting to help others, I volunteered to teach English to other refugees and my sister worked with the children in the camp.

Life was simple and our basic needs were met. The refugees were united and helped each other in many different ways. My sister and I stayed at the camp for two months. It was a time of anxiety and uncertainty concerning our future, but I was anxiously anticipating a new life. It was a relief when our names were published on the list to leave for Canada and to be reunited with our brother who had been living in Montreal for two years. We left with little possessions but with plenty of optimism. We were warmly received in Canada.

Since then, I have been living in this country and have adapted to the Canadian culture and climate. I now consider Canada as my second homeland; it has welcomed me, has given me the opportunity to rebuild my life and to receive all the benefits of a Canadian citizen, for which I am deeply grateful. After 13 years in Vietnam’s concentration camp my father was released; in 1990, he was reunited with the rest of us here in Canada.

Looking back at all the events, I see that my family and I have been under God’s protection at all times. My journey in search of freedom ended here in Canada, but I have embarked on a new journey which is to serve others. Through volunteer work, I have found a meaningful way of growing closer to God and of witnessing His Love as I walk with others on the path of life.

From 2015-08-15 to 2015-09-15

A Precious booklet

After the Sisters left, I leafed through the precious booklet once again with my mother. Then she said to me: If you wish, I will put your lovely booklet in a safe place and give it back to you once you 're grown up. lt was hard for me to part with it, but I agreed ... However, I followed my mother as she took my treasure to that safe place. My booklet landed in my father's drawer chest, under a pile of handkerchiefs. From then on, when my mother was away, I would go and pay a visit to my little Chinese friends. I had to do it quickly, sort of secretly. Climbing on a chair, I would reach in for my booklet, and then put everything neatly back in place. Once a year, the M.I.C. Sisters came and talked to us about the children of China. The link between the booklet and the visit of the missionaries continued all along my elementary school grades. At the age of 15, the call became more and more pressing, and I asked my mother's permission to go and join the Missionaries of the lmmaculate Conception. Her assent did not come very easily... Now I understand why.

I was19 when I  entered the  Novitiate, on August  8,  1942. During my years  of formation  in  religious  life,  my  dream  continued  to  grow.  ln 1945, an  amazing proposal was made to me: We are thinking of you  for the mission  of China. Given the explosive situation in Asia at that time,  my departure was postponed. I had to wait nearly 20 years before leaving for Taiwan.  I  spent 32 years among my Chinese friends  in Taiwan and in Hong Kong.  I  worked  especially  with little ones in kindergarten,  in Guanshi. I  always paid great attention to what went on in the secrecy of their hearts ... I  especially  think of Chen Yung Yi, that little boy who  liked so much to come  and  pray  in our chapel ... Led step  by step to the Christian faith, he is a priest today.

When  I   recall  those  memories ,  I   am  filled  with  wonderment   and  gratitude.  The simple visit of two Missionary Sisters helped me to find my way in life.

Sister Jeannette died in Pont-Viau in 2012. She was 90 years old.