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September 28, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Adrian Dominican Sisters gathered on September 20, 2023, were transported half a world away from Adrian to the Philippines when Sisters Lourdes “Lou” Pamintuan, OP, and Victoria “Vicky” Changcoco, OP, gave a presentation on the history, ministries, and missions of the Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies based in the Philippines.
Sister Lou gave a history of the Remedies Dominican Congregation, which began in 1961 with the request by Bishop Emilio Cinense for Adrian Dominican Sisters to serve in the Diocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines. Mother Gerald Barry refused, but offered religious formation for women from the Philippines willing to start a Dominican Congregation in his diocese. Five young women came to Adrian for their formation.
“In time, the seed was nurtured in Adrian and ready to be planted in the Philippines,” Sister Lou said. Four Sisters completed the formation process and, on October 2, 1965, were joined by Adrian Dominican Sisters Mary Philip Ryan, OP, and Ellen Vincent McClain, OP, “for the formation and community direction,” Sister Lou said.
“On December 8, 1965, I became the first Postulant to enter [the community] during a ceremony in the chapel, followed by a simple snack,” Sister Lou recalled. “In four years’ time, the Good Lord of the Harvest blessed the community with vocations.” In 1972, the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies became an independent congregation.
The Sisters moved to a new Motherhouse on the grounds of a seminary in 1978. “It was our home for many years,” and the site of professions of vows, jubilees, retreats, and other community celebrations, Sister Lou said. The Congregation later sought a merger with the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and the two became one Congregation in 2011. The Sisters based in the Philippines are now part of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter.
Sister Vicky spoke of her years of ministry, beginning with her entrance in 1985 at the age of 20. She participated in a “contextualized formation” for men and women novices from different communities. “This is where my passion for social justice began,” she recalled. “It was all eye-opening for me. I became bolder in living out the mission as a Preacher of the Word.”
Sister Vicky recounted her years in social ministry, from the deposition of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 – when people became poorer. “We facilitated the release of activists from jail, attended rallies, mobilized the people, and gave seminars on consciousness-raising.” She continued her advocacy and work for people with low income after the 1981 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which displaced many people. Farmers who came to live at the Clark U.S. Air Base were harassed after the U.S. military left and foreign investors arrived.
“We facilitated meetings between farms and the Clark Base,” ultimately presenting a successful petition with 1 million signatures asking the Clark Development Corporation to allow the farmers to remain on the land.
“I found the courage to take the initiative to lead the group,” Sister Vicky said. “I was branded as an activist, received death threats, and was blacklisted by the government. My faith and trust in God were constant, for I knew God would not abandon me.”
Sister Vicky also spoke of her 13 years as a missionary in Taiwan, beginning in November 1999. She ministered primarily with Filipino women who arrived in Taiwan as mail-order brides seeking a better life in a climate of worsening poverty in the Philippines. “My life as a missionary in Taiwan was often hectic,” Sister Vicky recalled. “I would find myself late at night on the road to attend the call of Filipino housewives with emotional and psychological problems because of mistreatment.”
Watch a video of the entire presentation by Sisters Lou and Vicky below or view from the ADS video library.
St. Louis, Missouri, September 28, 2023 – “What are you doing here?”
For Adrian Dominican Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, Professor of Homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, that is the “most vital spiritual question every human being must answer. What supreme reality can claim your whole heart and free you to live for one another at any cost?”
Sister Sara posed those questions during a recorded video homily for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, focusing on the story of the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a and on Jesus’ loving support for his apostles – and us – in Matthew 14:22-33.
“What makes it possible for us to embrace hardships, to put aside self-indulgence and indifference to the sufferings of others and the Earth, ‘to lay down our lives’ for the people we love and the common good?” Sister Sara asked. She turned to the prophet Elijah for the answer, noting how Elijah fled for his life from the rulers of Israel, Ahab and Jezebel, and was finally crushed in spirit. God treated him with kindness and compassion, giving him rest and appearing as a gentle whisper until, ultimately, Elijah answered God’s questions with his life. “With spirit renewed, liberated from fear, he rededicates himself to participate in God’s saving plan for Israel,” Sister Sara said. Jesus offered the same loving support to his apostles when he appeared to them in their boat on the stormy sea.
Sister Sara’s homily was part of a unique initiative, Catholic Women Preach (CWP), in which Catholic women offer homilies on the readings for each Sunday, encouraging Catholics in their daily faith lives. CWP provides “a global platform for women’s voices and faith reflections so that the fullness of our Catholic giftedness can be accessed by all Catholics,” according to the website.
Read more about Sister Sara and watch a video of her preaching.