What's Happening

rss


Sisters in Philippines Teach and Live Out Statements on Environment and Climate Change

September 23, 2019, Kalookan City, Philippines – “We still have 11 years to recover our Mother Earth.”

That was the message and the sense of urgency that Adrian Dominican Sister Maria May Cano, OP, gained from her participation in the National Convention on Laudato Si’ and Climate Change, held September 3-5, 2019, at Layforce, San Carlos Seminary, Guadalupe, Makati, in the Philippines. 

Sister May was one of 140 participants who learned more about the environmental crisis from the convention’s study of Laudato Si’ (Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment) and An Urgent Call for Ecological Conversion, Hope in the Face of Climate Emergency, a pastoral letter by the Bishops of the Philippines.

Both documents – as well as a Unity Statement issued by participants of the National Convention – outline practices and attitudes that can turn the world around from ecological disaster: 

  • an end to reliance on fossil fuels for energy, 
  • decreased use of plastics, 
  • advocacy against ecologically destructive practices such as mining and oil drilling, 
  • greater care in the use of resources, and 
  • an attitude of respect and reverence for all of creation and for the cultures of indigenous peoples. 

In their July 2019 pastoral letter, the Bishops committed themselves to live the spirit and principles of Laudato Si’ through 13 action points to restore the health of the environment.

In an interview, Sister May outlined the various ways that she and the other Sisters in the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter have learned to live with the health of the environment in mind – and have taught students, co-workers, parishioners, and family members to do so as well. “We involve ourselves and immerse ourselves in ecological issues,” Sister May said. 

The Adrian Dominican Sisters have long advocated for environmentally friendly practices – and against any abuses of Earth or of natural resources. For years, Sisters in the Our Lady of Remedies Chapter have stood with the indigenous peoples in the Philippines against foreign multinational corporations that have sought to seize their land and plunder it for its natural resources. Along with other religious participating in the recent convention, they advocate against large-scale and open-pit mining, large dams, and other practices that threaten the environment.

Sister May has already begun the process of teaching the documents’ recommended sound environmental practices closer to home – at the Diocese of Kalookan Caloocan, where she ministers. 

“I proposed the ecological policy to the different departments that we need to reduce our use of plastic,” she said. Her instructions have been as simple as suggesting that plastic banners for diocesan celebrations be switched to cloth banners and that people who attend meetings bring their own meal kits – plates, silverware, and glasses. Understanding the need to set a good example, Sister May said the Sisters have also started using stainless steel straws to cut down on the one-use plastic straws.

One initiative promoted by the convention is to reduce by half the current carbon emission in the Philippines and to work for the ecological conversion of families toward a carbon-free Philippines. Sister May has been very aware of the need to reduce the use of fossil fuels such as carbon. “When we arrive in the office we switch on the air conditioning,” rather than leaving it on overnight, she said. “I ask my co-workers to turn it on in the morning – a little sacrifice not to turn the air conditioning on early, so the carbon use is reduced.” 

The bishops in the Philippines have also recommended the use of healthy, clean energy rather than energy produced by fossil fuels. “Making energy through solar power is expensive, but in a few years we will save a lot of money,” Sister May said.

The Sisters in the Remedies Chapter have also been teaching children, teachers, and parents in their schools how to live in a way that respects the environment. “The Dominican Schools of Angeles City and Apalit will not use bottled water,” Sister May said. “We have a water station so the schools ask the children to bring their own water tumblers.” 

The Sisters also encourage people to adopt practices that bring them closer to Earth: planting trees, planting gardens, eating of the produce of their gardens, avoiding junk food, and adopting a balanced diet. The Sisters use compost on their gardens to enrich the soil and save seedlings from plants so that they can grow more the next year. “In our own little way we should set an example,” Sister May said.

Feature photo: Sister Maria May Cano, OP; Planting trees is one of the many ways that the Sisters and communities in the Philippines address the threat of climate change.


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.


 

 

Recent Posts

Read More »