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April 5, 2023, Mining, Pampanga, Philippines – With great joy and a sense of celebration, Sister Meliza Arquillano, OP, professed her Final (Perpetual) Vows on March 17, 2023, to Sister Elise D. García, OP, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, in a neighborhood chapel in the barangay (neighborhood) of Mining, Pampanga, the Philippines.
Two young friends of Sister Meliza present a basket of fruit during the Offertory.
Celebrating with her were the Sisters of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in Pampanga; two formal witnesses: Sister Jenny Fajardo, OP, Formation Director, and Sister Maria Yolanda Manapsal, OP, Chapter Prioress; her family and friends; and people has ministered with.
Also attending were four Adrian Dominican Sisters from the United States: Sister Elise; Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, former Prioress; and Sister Frances Nadolny, OP, former Administrator and General Councilor. Presiding at the Mass was Dominican Father Eugenio Cabillon, OP.
Left: Sister Meliza Arquillano, OP, with her immediate family; Right: Sisters Leizel Tedria, OP, left, and Marifi Lugtu, OP, right, both temporary professed Sisters, with Sister Meliza
“Final profession for me is the beginning of a life-long commitment to God, a covenant to fully commit myself to God’s mission and to follow the footsteps of Christ, fulfilling the God-given passions of my heart,” Sister Meliza said. “The Profession of Vows Liturgy is a blessing given by God, that I received with reverence and full responsibility. It is a divine celebration that sealed my promise with God, in witness of the public – whom I will serve until my last breath.”
Sister Meliza, the youngest of four and the only daughter of German Dominguez, Sr. and Leonila Arquillano, was born in the Philippines but met the Adrian Dominican Sisters while working as a machine operator in Taiwan while attending St. Joseph the Worker parish, where Sister Victoria Changcoco, OP, ministered. Sister Meliza later befriended Sister Maribeth Manguil, OP.
“The Sisters became good friends to us migrant workers and helped us seek a deeper meaning in our life,” Sister Meliza said. She came to know the Sisters better while helping them at the diocesan center and felt the call to religious life, entering the Congregation in 2013.
During her formation, Sister Meliza’s ministries have included service as Assistant to the Treasurer of Dominican School of Angeles City in Mining and as pastoral minister to the Aetas, the indigenous peoples of the Philippines, as well as to other people in need of a supportive presence.
The Rite of Profession involved a formal examination of Sister Meliza by Sister Elise as to her resolve to grow in the love of God and neighbor and to be joined to the Adrian Dominican Congregation by perpetual profession. After the formal testimony of Sister Meliza’s readiness for Final Profession by Sister Yolanda, Sister Meliza lay prostrate as the assembly sang the Litany of Saints.
Left: Sister Meliza Arquillano, OP, lies prostrate as the assembly sings the Litany of Saints; Right: Prioress Elise D. García, OP, presents the blessed profession ring to Sister Meliza Arquillano, OP, signifying her lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ as a fully professed Adrian Dominican Sister
Sister Meliza then addressed Sister Elise, vowing obedience to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Dominic, and Sister Elise and her lawful successors, “according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitution of the Sisters of St. Dominic of the Most Holy Rosary until death.” The Rite continued with the blessing and presentation of Sister Meliza’s profession ring as a sign of her fidelity to Jesus, and with the signing of the formal profession documents.
On behalf of the Dominican family and especially the Adrian Dominican Congregation, Sister Elise affirmed Sister Meliza’s perpetual profession. “We joyfully congratulate you and pray that God continues to inspire you to enter each day with a generous heart, in order to serve the call to seek truth, make peace, and reverence life,” she said. The Adrian Dominican Sisters in the assembly responded by promising Sister Meliza the “loving and grateful support of the community” and welcoming her into “the full and responsible participation in this life.”
Left: Sister Elise D. García, OP, Prioress of the Congregation, calls forward Sister Meliza Arquillano, OP, for the Rite of Final Profession; Center: Father Eugene Cabillon serves as presider at the Eucharistic Liturgy for Sister Meliza Arquillano’s Final Profession; Right: Sister Yolanda Manapsal, OP, Chapter Prioress of Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, testifies as to the readiness of Sister Meliza Arquillano, OP, to profess her final vows
Sister Meliza is the first Adrian Dominican Sister whose vows Sister Elise received since she took office in October 2022. “It was very touching to receive Meliza’s final profession of vows in that lovely neighborhood chapel, the pews filled with her Sisters and family,” she said. “She beautifully witnessed her desire to respond to God’s call with a great clarity of heart and joyful spirit.”
For feature photo at top: Prioress Elise D. García, OP, receives the Final Profession of Vows of Sister Meliza Arquillano. Also present are formal witnesses Sister Jenny Fajardo, OP, Formation Director, left, and Sister Yolanda Manapsal, OP, Chapter Prioress, second from right.
April 4, 2023, United Nations – A group of Dominican Sisters from throughout the world, while attending the 67th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 67), participated in a discussion on the “digital divide” and how women are affected by unequal access to technology. CSW 67 was held at the United Nations March 6-17, 2023.
Sister Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, a member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters General Council and one of the Dominican Sisters invited to participate in CSW 67, told Global Sisters Report, a project of The National Catholic Reporter, that technology “has two faces with regards to women’s wellbeing: face of development and face of abuse.” She added that technology can facilitate “the development of the full potential of women” or break women when technology “ushers the culture of death into the life of women.”
Adrian Dominican Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, the UN Representative for the Dominican Sisters Conference (DSC), spoke of the importance of involving women in the field of technology, where they are often under-represented. Women need to be “in all places where decisions are made,” she told Global Sisters Report.
Sister Durstyne invited Dominican Sisters from throughout the world to attend CSW 67. These included Sister Philomena Benedict from London; Sister Venetia (Veille), of South Africa, a member of the Dominican Sisters International Coordinating Committee; Sister Rose Mai Kim Pham from Vietnam; Sister Sarudzai from Zimbabwe; and Sister Maria DeJesus from Ecuador.
In addition, seven Adrian Dominican Sisters joined Sister Durstyne at CSW 67: Sisters Judith Benkert, OP, Ellen Burkhardt, OP, Bibiana “Bless” Colasito, OP, Judy Friedel, OP, Patricia Leonard, OP, Patricia McDonald, OP, and Kathleen Nolan, OP.
Read the entire Global Sisters Report article by Chris Herlinger.