In recognition of the United Nations International Day for Street Children on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020, Sister Jolyn “Jules” Dungo, OP, writes about her ministry to street children in the Philippines through the Adrian Dominican Sisters School on Wheels.
By Sister Jolyn “Jules” Dungo, OP
April 8, 2020, San Fernando, Pampanga, the Philippines – Pope Francis summoned each of us to move out of our comfort zones and bring the Good News to the frontiers of Earth. In his pastoral exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the pope called us to bring Jesus to the very heart of the world so that people may know about God, hope, salvation, love, and everlasting life.
I have been reaching out to children on the frontiers in my native Philippines through my ministry with the Adrian Dominican Sisters (ADS) School on Wheels. The ADS School on Wheels meets the practical needs of the street children.
Together with our volunteers, we meet the children in the marketplace – where they perform everyday labor – and at the city government hall, which has become a meeting place or school for them. We teach the street children and other interested children how to read, write, and count, along with religious education.
Our ministry to the street children has three objectives: to develop a culture of acceptance and equality among children from a disadvantaged environment; to strengthen social functioning and potential through education; and to change society’s negative impressions of street children.
As a social worker charged with reaching out to the street children, I witness their daily struggles. They try to work through socially acceptable ways like selling eco bags and flower garlands. Others work for minimal pay as parking lot attendants, car washers, and fish vendors. They are forced to work to survive.
In this ministry, we deal with the most vulnerable sector of society and we strive to protect them from all forms of abuse, trafficking, and violence. But we want more for them. We want them to dream and to realize their dreams outside of life on the street. We give them opportunities to work toward their dreams, no matter where they come from, their religious affiliations, or their associations.
Engaging in this ministry is transformational. It changes my perception. The street children’s situations allow me to dream for them and to help them to realize their dreams in God’s time. I believe what they need is acceptance, opportunity, and the hope that they can overcome poverty and their lives on the street.
Dr. Jose Risal, our Filipino national hero, once said, “The youth is the hope of our country.” His words are technically and figuratively true. When the good traits of the children are nurtured and developed, they might become teachers, architects, engineers, priests, Sisters, the next national hero or President of the Philippines, or even the next Filipino saint. If these children are included in the development efforts of the United Nations, their dreams will be realized. It takes one individual who believes in them to make a difference.
Feature photo: Sister Jolyn “Jules” Dungo, OP, speaks with a group of street children as part of her ministry.
March 23, 2020, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Margaret “Peggy” Coyne, OP, a nurse who currently serves as Health and Wellness Director for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, was elected on March 13, 2020, to a four-year term as Chapter Prioress of the Adrian Crossroads Mission Chapter of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
The Mission Chapter is based in Lenawee County, Michigan, which includes Adrian. Mission Chapters, part of the government structure of the Congregation, are made up of Mission Groups, Sisters and Associates who meet regularly for Congregation business and community. Each Mission Group elects a delegate, a Sister who serves on the Mission Council with the Chapter Prioress to focus on living out the mission in their particular geographical area.
Sister Peggy will begins her term on July 1, 2020. She succeeds Sister Mary Jane Lubinski, OP.
In a message to Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates, Prioress Patricia Siemen, OP, affirmed the election, promised and encouraged prayers for Sister Peggy, and thanked Sister Mary Jane for her years of service.
As Chapter Prioress of Adrian Crossroads Mission Chapter, Sister Peggy’s responsibilities include promoting the unity of the Mission Chapter, inspiring the Sisters to fidelity in their life of mission, and discerning life decisions with the Sisters in the Chapter. Sister Peggy will also serve on the Congregation’s Leadership Council with the Prioress, General Council, and other Chapter Prioresses.
“I was awestruck,” Sister Peggy said after the election. “I’m still humbled by this, by the opportunity to work with all those wisdom figures in Adrian Crossroads Mission Chapter.”
Born in 1952 in New York City to Irish immigrants, Sister Peggy studied at St. Clare’s School of Nursing and became a registered nurse. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from Siena Heights University in Adrian and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from Regis University in Denver.
'Sister Peggy worked for 15 years as a nurse in the intensive care unit at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, and then at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York. She joined the Hastings (New York) Franciscan Sisters in 1984, and left that congregation in 1995.
Through a friend, Sister Peggy met a group of Adrian Dominican Sisters in Chicago. Through their encouragement, she entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1999. After professing her vows as an Adrian Dominican Sister, she ministered as Director of Behavioral Health at Mercy Hospital Chicago, overseeing the inpatient unit, the day hospital and outpatient programs, and four outpatient satellite units. Since 2015, she has been Director of Health and Wellness for the Adrian Dominican Congregation.
Sister Peggy brings into her new position the gifts of patience, fairness, common sense, wisdom, active listening, and a sense of humor. “I understand the challenges of gracefully aging and the limitations associated with doing so,” she told Sisters before her election. “I desire the very best for each Sister as I journey with you.”
She is also willing to meet the demands of being on call for ailing Sisters at all times of the day. Another challenge for Chapter Prioresses, she said, is working with people in difficult situations. “I know that I bring a calm and empathetic presence to such times, as well as the ability to be direct, which helps all those involved come to a peaceful resolution.”
“I’m honored to be working with you,” Sister Peggy told the Sisters. “It gives me great pleasure to walk into the future, into the unknown, with you."