Last 15-19 March 2017 was the canonical visit of Sr Ma Inez Furtado to the community of Angono-Marikina-Parañaque. On the first day, Sr Ma Inez arrived from Davao and was warmly welcomed by the sisters present. After settling down & taking a light breakfast, she then began her individual dialogue with some sisters. The next three days, the sisters of Marikina & Angono started arriving & she continued her individual dialogue with them. On the morning of 17 March, she met with His Excellency Most Rev. Jesse Eugenio Mercado, D.D. Bishop of Parañaque. The bishop then joined the community for lunch. Sr Joy Salomo, who came from Davao, arrived in the afternoon to be with Sr Ma Inez. In the afternoon of 18 March, Sr Ma Inez had an encounter with the community. Present were Srs Joy & Thelma. On the last day, the whole community with Srs Ma Inez, Joy & Thelma went to Pansol, Laguna for rest & recreation. The following are the impressions of the sisters of the community on the canonical visit:
- What I particularly liked in our encounter with her was when she said that ‘our mission shouldn’t be confined to certain places’ –- it is without frontiers or borders. However we cannot give what we don’t have. There is an exigency: we have to be formed in the likeness of Jesus Christ.
- I found the encounter to be meaningful & significant. The powerpoint presentation helped a lot. In my individual dialogue with her, I had difficulty expressing myself.
From my individual dialogue & our encounter with Sr Ma Ines, I got to know her deeper. My impression of her also changed – from being a General with superiority to a sister, that is, like one of us. She was able to reorient us to our way of life as an FI. She is the woman of our time. I am grateful & will miss her & Sr Joy.
- I found her to be simple, very open & easy to talk with. I did not hesitate to share with her my personal life & desires. There were times we laughed during our light conversation. At one point I was also teary-eyed. I will miss her.
- I felt enlightened, challenged & grateful. She can capture the spirit of the Congregation & make things clearer to us. I particularly liked her explanation that our mission is rooted in God & like a tree, it grows with branches. One branch is the family of St Candida. I also liked her emphasis & challenge to us to follow where the Spirit is leading. However I have to start with myself, that is, grow in my inner encounter with Jesus & then share this with others.
- It was good & enlightening. It opened us to a new theology. What I particularly liked was her emphasis that our true mission is the mission of Christ which hopefully will lead us to a deeper form of prayer & union with God. Only if we’re united with God can we bring him to others.
- It would have been better if there was also an interpreter around during the encounter with her for us to be sure in understanding exactly what she was saying. In spite of this, I liked the drawing of the tree from the roots (mission of Christ) to the branches (family of St Candida). I particularly liked what she said – that we have one mission which is the mission of Christ & thus there should be no distinction between sisters who work in our centers or outside. There is a need for us to interiorize & deepen on this. We don’t need to be confined to one place only. I am sent by Christ just as Christ was sent by the Trinity. Hopefully, as I grow or journey onwards, I radiate the face of Christ & not my face.
- It was life-giving & brought about renewal. In her previous visit, she came across as a disciplinarian; however, this time she is a great animator. With her talk, our questions were answered & I felt clarified. I also feel challenged by conscience to live our calling. We have one mission & there should be no discrimination among for example lay groups whether these be NGOs or church-based groups. Both can enjoy the friendship they have with the Hijas de Jesus.
- It affirmed very much my being an FI. I felt renewed within & also challenged to look once more into my own life with, for & in Jesus Christ. It gave me so much hope in the way I look at my service now – whatever task I’ll do will have to be seen in terms of fulfilling God’s mission in the Church & the Congregation through Ignatian spirituality & the charism of Mother Foundress. Everything that Sr Ines said was very heart-warming. It feels so good to be an FI. I also found it so nice to be able to laugh to my heart’s content with my sisters.
- It was an enriching experience & there is a need to reflect on the points she gave. Also, as an amplified community, we need to look at the future with hope instead of thinking of ourselves. We need to ask God the question: “What more can we do to love & serve you?” Our roots are in Christ; we need to grow into a tree. Being in mission, we need to attach ourselves to the roots & we are called to work in whatever part of the world. We should have a space in our hearts for unity in diversity instead of uniformity & shun apostolic individualism.
- Like the Transfiguration, I saw the face of Christ in these five days with Mother General. We were able to deepen in the spirituality of the Congregation & our mission in the world which is to proclaim Christ to others. I feel joyful & inspired by our mission & spirituality. I am grateful to be an FI – forever.
- I was happy to be able to talk with her personally. She resonated with my experience in being alone in formation but gave me words of encouragement to move on with what was started & strive hard in my formation.
- The visit especially the encounter was an inspiring experience. I particularly liked what she said about our only mission which is to be the presence of Christ in the world & to share the charism of St Candida especially with the lay. She talked about turning over to the lay our different responsibilities thus the need to prepare them via formation.
- I felt animated to participate in God’s mission as an Hija de Jesus.
- I felt positive about her visit. It was timely since we are journeying as an amplified community for 1½ – 2 years now. Her visit is a sort of evaluation either guiding / affirming us if we are on the right track or redirecting us if we aren’t. Her presence encourages us to continue with what was started and animates us to be more open, creative and available to respond to what is being asked of us at this time.
- I felt very animated & came to appreciate more the gift of my vocation as an FI with the challenges that come with it. I particularly liked her emphasis on looking at mission not just as tasks or doing but it entails our whole being whether we are awake or asleep! She then zeroed in on the essence of our mission which is to be like Christ in the world today being religious apostolic living the Ignatian spirituality with the charism of St Candida. She also told us that there should be no distinction between sisters who work outside or in our centers simply because we have only one mission. If we are becoming fewer due to sickness & or death, this should not be seen as an impediment but as a challenge. What is important is not quantity but quality – how we can live with creative fidelity our vocation in our time.
When the sisters asked Sr Ma Inez for her impressions of her visit to the community, she said that she saw the sisters happy and not bogged down by problems. She can see that the sisters are trying to put into practice the proposals of the Congregation. There is joy in searching together new ways of living our apostolic / community life. We also seem to understand the objectives of why we have to try these new ways. Finally, compared to her previous visits, she can see that the sisters in the Province have moved forward a lot.
Thank you Srs Ma Inez & Joy for your visit to our community. We will continue to relish this experience with you in our minds and hearts and live out the challenge of making Christ more present in our personal, communal & apostolic lives as Hijas de Jesus in the world today.
Maria Inez, with the Bishop of Parañaque and the community
Day of Relaxation in Pansol Laguna
Mrs Villegas, Srs Leoly, Ma Ines and Cecile
Postulant Mary May, Ma Inez and Florie May
Ma Inez with Manresa School Drivers Felix Kenneth and Raul
Cecile, Ma Ines and Leoly with some students faculty and staff of Manresa School
Some staff of Manresa school, Leoly, Ma Inez, Cecile and Mrs Villegas