November 19, 2015, San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines – Sisters in Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter in San Fernando, the Philippines, will have a constant reminder of an Adrian Dominican Sister who supported their Congregation when it was founded 50 years ago – and continues to support them with theology and human development books. The small theology library at their Chapter's Central House in San Fernando now bears the name and photo of Sister Marcine Klemm, OP – in the Sister Marcine Klemm, OP, Little Library.
The library was dedicated in Sister Marcine’s honor during a simple ceremony November 3, the Feast of Dominican St. Martin de Porres, the day that a group of North American Adrian Dominican visitors, including Sister Marcine, left the San Fernando to return home.
The brief dedication ceremony began with a prayer by Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Remedies Mission Chapter. “O God, who have taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that all who will read the books in this little library may delight in the wisdom given to the author and draw closer to God in contemplative prayer and be inspired to become God’s instrument of mercy and compassion.” After the prayer and ritual ribbon-cutting, Sister Zenaida blessed the books and noted Sister Marcine’s generosity in providing them.
“It was a big surprise,” Sister Marcine said later in reflecting on the dedication. “I didn’t expect anything like that.” She noted that the Sisters in San Fernando have a larger library of professional books upstairs, but the newly dedicated library with spiritual books is in a strategic place: handy for the Sisters to drop by to pick up some spiritual reading on their way to their bedrooms.
Sister Marcine has been donating books to the Our Lady of Remedies Sisters for years, at times drawing on donations by a local community of Sisters in Adrian who had been part of a monthly spiritual reading book club. Recently, Sister Marcine has made use of a special service that ships items to the Philippines at a standard and reasonable rate, $89, no matter the size or weight of the box.
The first Remedies Sisters received their formation in Adrian, Michigan, beginning in 1961, under an agreement between Mother Gerald Barry, of the Adrian Dominican Congregation, and the Most Rev. Emilio A. Cinense, DD, Bishop of San Fernando, who had requested a Dominican foundation in his diocese. When the first Sisters in the new community arrived in 1965 – the year of the Congregation’s foundation – they were accompanied by Adrian Dominican Sisters Ellen Vincent McClain and Mary Philip Ryan.
Sister Marcine’s connection to the Our Lady of Remedies Congregation began in 1969, when she and Sister Rosemary Marson took the place of Sisters Ellen Vincent and Mary Philip. They stayed until 1972, when the Remedies Congregation became independent, under the leadership of the founding Prioress, Sister Evangelina Fernandez, OP. The Remedies Congregation came full circle in November 2011, when they formally merged with the Adrian Dominican Congregation and became a Mission Chapter.
Sister Marcine has visited the Remedies Sisters several times, attending their 25th and 40th anniversaries and the 50th anniversary of the University of the Assumption. This year, she attended the Remedies’ Golden Jubilee in October and remained for the opening session of the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s General Chapter.
During her original time in the Philippines, Sister Marcine taught at the University of the Assumption, which includes an elementary school, high school, and university. Sister Marcine originally taught chemistry at the university and biology in the high school, and later became principal of the high school and assistant director of the university.
“The teaching was really great,” Sister Marcine recalled. “Working with the Sisters was, too, because everything was kind of experimental. We didn’t have anything definite in place.” She spoke of the satisfaction of serving in the school, which was attended by the children of rice farmers. “They were very, very motivated and very, very happy to be able to be in Assumption Grade School or High School.”
Sister Marcine noted that, while she enjoyed working in the schools, her primary responsibility was “the growth and development of the Sisters,” who since then have taken on the administration of schools, teaching, catechesis, and social work, as well as diocesan work, parish work, and outreach ministry to the indigenous people. In all their ministries, the Sisters respond to the needs of the people. After Typhoon Haiyan struck the Visayan region of the Philippines in November 2013, for example, the Remedies Sisters collaborated with other organizations to provide disaster relief to those who suffered from the disaster.
Feature photo: Sister Marcine Klemm lights the candle at her table as the Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter begin Session 1 of the 2016 General Chapter.