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International Dominican Justice Promoter Speaks of Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking

June 27, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Cecilia Espenilla, OP, International Justice Promoter from Dominican Sisters International (DSI), spoke to Adrian Dominican Sisters at the Motherhouse in early June about her work with the Dominican Order throughout the world. She spoke of her collaboration with Justice Promoters from the continents of Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America to bring about the vision of justice and peace called for in the Gospel.

Specifically, Sister Cecilia spoke of the efforts of the DSI, the regional Justice Promoters, and Dominicans throughout the world, to end human trafficking and bring healing to the victims. 

“We’re trying to strengthen this international network” to address the global human trafficking problem, she said. The victims – the majority women and girls – come from throughout the world, but are more likely to be from families suffering from poverty and violence, and are often deceived by human traffickers in their efforts to find employment. Victims come from all areas of the world and can be sent any other area of the world.

The purpose of human trafficking “is always exploitation” for the gain of the traffickers, Sister Cecilia said. “In 2009, the human trafficking industry generated $32 billion” in areas such as sex trafficking and forced labor in construction, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and domestic servitude. Human trafficking, she said, is less risky for the traffickers than other illegal activities – such as trafficking drugs and arms – because of the difficulties in persecution and the availability of people to exploit.  

Watch a video of Sister Cecilia’s presentation below.

International Dominican Justice Promoter Speaks of Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking


Adrian Dominican Sisters Participate in 2019 DSI-Philippines Gathering

March 15, 2019, Manila, Philippines – Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter were among 179 participants in the 2019 gathering of the Dominican Sisters International-Philippines (DSI-P) meeting in February at the University of Santo Thomas Seminary. The Adrian Dominican Sisters were one of 15 Congregations of Dominican Sisters that participated in the event.

Father Rolando de La Rosa, OP, speaks on the Beatitudes as a sure way to holiness.

The theme of the Day of Recollection was “Dominican Style of Holiness: A Glimpse to the Genius of a Woman.” Father Rolando de La Rosa, OP, guided the Sisters in their reflection, focusing on the Beatitudes as the sure way to holiness.  

In his introduction, Father de La Rosa reminded the Sisters of the current state of the world: suffering, violence, and leaders who attempt to solve problems like illegal drugs with more violence. Consumerism and materialism drive people to work hard to get what they want. Father de La Rosa noted that this materialism is creeping into the lives of religious, as evidenced by convents filled with consumeristic goods. 

Religious are so active that they become less attractive, Father de La Rosa said, encouraging the Sisters to lead an orderly life and to align their lives with the will of God, as guided by the Beatitudes. 

Father de La Rosa interpreted the Beatitudes in these ways:

  • Blessed are the poor. Happy people are those who are not afraid to lose anything because they claim nothing as his/her own. Learn to limit your wants because your needs are only little.

  • Blessed are those who mourn. People mourn because they have lost or miss someone who is precious or something that is valuable. When we lose our sense of mourning we become apathetic, Father de La Rosa said. We don’t see the value of someone with whom we live or work. 

  • Blessed are the meek, those who don’t pretend to be strong. Meekness is a product of gratitude, of recognizing who I am before God.

  • Blessed are the merciful. In the Dominican Rite of Profession, the question asked is, “What do you seek?” and the response is, “God’s mercy and yours.” Mercy is an expression of love.

  • Blessed are the pure of heart. Single-heartedness makes an integrated, whole, and holy person. 

  • Blessed are the peace-makers. Peace is the tranquility of order. We are called to live an orderly life – that is, doing God’s will.

  • Blessed are the persecuted. If good people are bystanders and don’t act to combat evil in society, evil triumphs.
From left, Our Lady of Remedies Sisters Rose Bernardo, OP, Lourdes Pamintuan, OP, and Romina Bautista, OP, participate in a small group discussion with Dominican missionaries.

Father Jeffry Aytona, Director of the Dominican Networks for the Youth, spoke to the Sisters on how they can influence the youth in their ministry to become partners in the mission. He called to mind the message of Pope John Paul II on his second visit to the Philippines during the 1995 World Youth Day. “The Dominican commitment is to educate, to catechize the youth. The youth are not only seeking knowledge to fill their minds but formation in the faith to strengthen their soul.” 

Father Aytona attributed the vocation crisis to the lack of pastoral programs for the young in schools. He challenged schools to give youth not only academic formation but most of all value formation, which can be manifested in their desire to follow Christ and participate in the mission of the Church.

The representatives of DOMNET Youth expressed the needs of youth today: proper guidance and wisdom from elderly, not from the Internet. Generally the youth of today are connected with the whole world through the Internet, but they still feel left out and in the end they are not happy. They need to experience the care and guidance of true mentors, not virtual mentors.  

“The young people must be empowered with veritas (truth),” Father Aytona said. “We religious should be role models to the youth, who are witnesses to the joy of the Gospel.”  

A highlight of the Day of Recollection was the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided over by Father Quirico Pedregosa, OP, Rector of University of Santo Thomas Central Seminary. 

Feature photo (top): Sister Rosita Yaya, OP, Chapter Prioress of Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, participates in the closing Liturgy of the Day of Reflection for Dominican Sisters International-Philippines.


Sister Myra Dalisay, OP, participates in an ice breaker with Dominican Sisters from other congregations.


 

 

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