Final Vows of Agnes Dini Hari fcJ and Dewi Gallang fcJ

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Indonesia
By Clare Hand fcJ
FCJ Province of Asia-Australia
Srs Agnes and Dewi with Province Leader, Sr Judith in the middle.

It is always a happy moment when FCJs are accepted for Final Vows and that was certainly the case when we heard that Dewi and Agnes would be making vows on July 25. All FCJs and many of the CiM in Indonesia were involved in the preparation which began months before the actual day of the vows.   July was especially busy as preparations intensified and the “pre-vow” excitement began to build.  Several days before the ceremony we welcomed FCJs from around the Province and members of Dewi’s and Agnes’ families.  Prayer on the night of July 24 was in Thanksgiving for Agnes and Dewi’s lives as FCJs and in sheer celebration of this happy occasion.  The vow celebration itself was a delight.  The liturgy was beautiful and the Parish Youth Choir was exquisite.  The celebrant, Fr Azismardopo SJ gave a powerful sermon.  He paralleled making Final Vows with the earthquake that shook the city that morning.  He warned Agnes and Dewi to watch out for the effect of God in their lives!  When Dewi and Agnes made their vows it was deeply moving.  Sr Judith received the vows, while Srs Margaret O’Donohue and Wina witnessed Agnes’ vows and Srs Clare and Irene witnessed Dewi’s vows. The vows were followed by lunch in the church hall.  It was good to take time to catch up with so many friends.  Later that evening we rounded off the day with a simple gathering and the opportunity to enjoy watching Agnes and Dewi open their cards and gifts.


Pilgrim Blessings

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australia
By Judith Routier fcJ

A blessing service was held in the Moonbria community house on May 18th for two of the pilgrims who will be going on the pilgrimage in July.  Marea Lanki teaches at Genazzano and Rick Van Duppen is Deputy  Principal at John Paul College Frankston. After reflecting and sharing on the journey ahead we prayed with Marea and Rick:

‘Always aware of your Cosmic Presence and of your abiding love, we shall rejoice in all that happens – the surprise and sudden change, the clash of plans and hopes.  This will give us courage and strength to radiate life to Mother Earth, to search the hidden treasures still unexplored in ourselves and those we meet.’

The other pilgrims are all from Benalla and they will have their blessing service at another time.

I also had the pleasure of joining with Richmond and Moonbria communities as they farewelled their local leader, Maureen Merlo, and wished her many blessings as she left for Europe – where she will have a bit of a break before joining the Amiens Group Pilgrimage.

FCJ Sisters MoonbriaFCJ Sisters from the Moonbria and Richmond communities gather with pilgrims.

Feast of Pentecost and the Beatification of Mosenor Romero

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australia
By Anne Morrison fcJ

On Saturday 23rd May in the Church of St Brigid’s in Fitzroy, I had the joy of participating with many people from El Salvador and other Latin American countries at a vibrant, celebratory Mass of the Holy Spirit, combined with a celebration for the beatification of Archbishop Romero. The sense of joy at this great event was palpable. The singing led by the choir was full and energetic. At the end of Mass we had prayer and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after which we shared refreshments. During this time I spoke with some of my friends from El Salvador who personally knew Archbishop Romero. One lady told me with tears in her eyes that she had received a Rosary from him. Her husband told me that they were present at his funeral. He was in the plaza and shared with me, that from the second floor of the government buildings, soldiers were shooting people in the plaza! Another person told me that today was a day mingled with joy and sadness because, as he told me, they lived far from the city in the mountains but each day had listened to the broadcasts of Romero’s homilies, and on the day Romero was assassinated, as always, they were listening to the Mass and heard the shots fired and realized that their beloved pastor had been shot. For people of South and Central America, for many years, Archbishop Romero has been St. Romero, so it is such a wonderful occasion that at last the Church has officially recognized him as a martyr. I felt very privileged to be able to share the joy of these people.

Vale Fr. Geoff King SJ: The Power of Prayer

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australia
By Catherine Flynn fcJ

Fr Geoff King SJFr Geoffrey King SJ (1943 – 2015) was a member of the Jesuit community in Richmond, Melbourne.  He was a highly gifted and talented person who shared his many gifts generously.  As a Canon Lawyer, he was highly esteemed within his own Congregation, locally and internationally.  For seven years he was the Director of the East Asian Pastoral Institute.  He twice attended the Society of Jesus General Congregations.  Fr Geoff has been on the FCJ Society’s ‘Prayer for Healing’ list for the last five years since his diagnosis of motor neurone disease.

After his diagnosis, Fr Geoff would often be seen driving around the local supermarket in his electric chair doing the community shopping.  He did this until he had to move into residential care two years ago.  From there he still continued to go, in his chair, by train to the university to give lectures; to watch his favourite football team play; to attend classical concerts; to outings with friends and to solitary, reflective drives around the public gardens near-by.  One by one, these activities had to be relinquished, but he never complained.

A quote from an article (The Age, 4 April 2013) which he wrote about his condition is worth recording:

‘Why do I choose to press on into the more horrendous parts of this motor neurone journey? …Ultimately for me this is not a matter of reason but a matter of faith.  I believe in a creator (and creative) God and I believe in the paradoxical power of the cross’.

Geoff was placed with Christ and not found wanting.  Geoffrey James King SJ died in East Melbourne on 7 May 2015.

Vale Geoff, with gratitude and affection from all your FCJ friends.

Myanmar National Youth Congress VII

Posted on Posted in Myanmar
By Sisca Setiati fcJ

Don Bosco and Marie Madeleine d'HouetThe Myanmar Catholic Youth Congress VII was held from 21-26 April 2015 in the Salesian Seminary, Anisakan, central Myanmar.  It coincided with the Bicentenary Birth of Don Bosco (1815-2015) and about 2000 youth from different parts of Myanmar attended the congress which gave them the opportunity to pray, reflect, share, study and mingle with each other.  There was a cultural presentation of each diocese where the youth were able to share their talents and the richness of their culture. One of the highlighted programs was sharing the charism of each congregation where the youth learned about the different religious in Myanmar.  It was a privilege as we were able to share our historical connection with the Salesians: the meeting in Turin between Marie Madeleine and Don Bosco when he was a young priest at that time.  The history which happened in Turin has been repeated on Salesian ground in Myanmar as we journey together with the youth in Myanmar through this event.


Moving House in Myanmar

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Myanmar
By Agnes Samosir fcJ

Moving House in Myanmar (May 2015)Moving house can be stressful and frustrating. Yes, for sure it is time consuming. At this time interestingly it was unforgettable. We started moving our things on May 3rd and the big, last parts on the following day. On May 5th, we went back to our “old” empty house to clean it thoroughly before handing it over to the owner. During the cleaning, many memories appeared in my mind: happiness, struggles, relationships and growth. It was a good time to say “thank you” and “goodbyes” to the house.

After the cleaning, we had a very short visit to some of our neighbours. We thanked them for their care and friendliness. In return, we received words of gratitude and appreciation. Some were very impressed with the long hours we spent to clean the house and by our brief visit of “thank you” and “good bye” to them. They said they had never had an experience like this. What a lovely acknowledgement. We went to our new home filled with deeper joy, courage and confidence for a new chapter of our life.

Renewal of Hartini’s Vows

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Indonesia
By Clare Hand fcJ

FCJ Sisters Hartini's Vows (April 2015)

Mei, Rowena and I had the great joy of attending Hartini’s renewal of vows in Ende. It was an opportunity to experience the joy of consecrated life at first hand. We arrived in Ende on the early afternoon of Easter Sunday – in time for a short rest before celebrating Easter prayer and a lovely meal with the community. The following day we all worked together with Beta, Meita and Hartini to prepare for the vow ceremony. Meita and Mei were ensconsed in the kitchen all day meanwhile the rest of us prepared the chapel and the dining room. The ceremony took place at 6pm. The Eucharist had a distinctly ‘Easter’ feel with readings and hymns bursting with resurrection joy. The celebrant Fr Ambrosius spoke of the radical choice Hartini was making. Hartini renewed her vows in a strong and steady voice.

The vows were received by Beta and witnessed by myself (Clare) and Sr Blandina CIJ. We then had a delicious meal thanks to Meita and Mei (and Beta who prepared the dessert). Several young people were also present including three of Hartini’s students. What a lovely day we all had. How great to have such a beautiful ceremony so close to Easter.

Hartini's Vows

Profession of Final Vows in the Philippines

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Philippines
By Van Reposar fcJ

On the evening before their Perpetual Profession a Thanksgiving Prayer was held for Srs Elvisa and Ciony in Scout Borromeo community, and the families of Elvisa and Ciony also joined in the prayer.  The theme for the prayer was ‘A journey to remember with joy and thanksgiving’.  A traditional ritual was included with Elvisa and Ciony holding a bowl with water and a candle in it. Then each one present placed some petals which symbolize beauty and fragrance of life shared with others.  Another symbol was grains of rice sprinkled into the bowl which symbolize abundance and prosperity.  The celebration concluded with a meal and sharing of stories.

April 25th 2015 was a joyful occasion for the FCJ Sisters in Province of Asia-Australia as Srs Ciony Sodusta and Elvisa Camilion made their Perpetual Profession of Vows at Los Desposorios Chapel, Panay Avenue, Quezon City. The Mass was at 9am. Both the parents and siblings of Elvisa and Ciony were present, as well as friends, colleagues and neighbors. The celebration began with the choir singing the entrance hymn: ‘Pagmamahal sa Panginoon ‘ (Love of God).  Fr. Eugene Canete from the Missionaries of Jesus was the celebrant.  In his homily he emphasized the gift of the Eucharist as their chosen theme was ‘Taken, broken and shared.’  He also spoke about the faithfulness of God in our lives.  After Mass, all were invited for a celebration lunch, during which Elvisa and Ciony greeted all those who came and distributed bookmarks and chocolates as souvenirs.

At 5pm, FCJ sisters, families and some friends gathered again at Scout Borromeo for  the opening of cards and gifts.  It was certainly an evening of great joy, celebration and thanksgiving.

May the experience of these days be with Elvisa and Ciony as they continue their journey as Faithful Companions of Jesus.

FCJ Sisters at Final Vows (Philippines 2015)FCJ Sisters Present at the Final Vows
Back row- L-R: Annabelle Delos Santos (Bing), Caecillia Pirenaningtyas (Tyas) Maureen Merlo, Vanessa Reposar (Van-van), Afra Primadiana, Dewi Galang
Front row- L-R: Agnes Dinihari, Elvisa Camilion, Judith Routier, Salvacion Sodusta (Ciony), Paola Terroni

CIM Completes Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australia

Companion in Mission, Pip McIlroy participated in a two-year program called the Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship, organised by the ACBC. Its aim is to cultivate the capacity of women in the Church for leadership. “I feel very lucky to have been supported to undertake this program. It is a fantastic initiative of our Church,” writes Pip. We congratulate Pip on her achievement.

By Pip McIlroy

Every now and then we are fortunate enough to find ourselves in places where we think, “I belong here” or “These are my people”. The experience of feeling completely ‘at home’ with a group of individuals who you have not known for very long or about whose lives you know very little, is a rare occurrence. Upon beginning the Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship in February 2013, I was blessed with this very experience. Two years later, having completed the program with 16 other young women from around Australia, I am eternally grateful to have been given the opportunity.

The Fellowship is organised by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference through the Office for the Participation of Women. It has the aim of cultivating the capacity of women in the Church for leadership. The two-year program includes the completion of a Graduate Certificate in Theology through the Broken Bay Institute and the University of Newcastle. It also includes four residential weekends based at the Sisters of the Good Samaritan’s Mount St Benedict Centre in Pennant Hills, Sydney. Throughout these weekends we participated in sessions related to faith formation, interfaith relations, leadership and wellbeing. The University study is completed exclusively online apart from one face-to-face lecture each semester during the residential weekend.

At the time of applying for the Fellowship, I was not sure what else lay ahead for me in the following two years. I had recently completed my undergraduate degree and was searching for graduate positions in the public service, education and even finance. I was unsure where to start my career and didn’t know how the Fellowship would fit into my schedule, whatever it turned out to be.

I ended up being accepted into the Teach for Australia program in 2012, at the same time that I was offered a place in the 2013-2014 Fellowship group. Teach for Australia would require me to complete my Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching whilst teaching four days a week in a school in a low socio-economic area over a period of two years. It was going to be busy and challenging work. The prospect of adding the academic demands of a Graduate Certificate of Theology and the commitment to the formation program of the Fellowship seemed crazy. However, I saw it as a unique opportunity to be part of an exciting and ambitious venture.

Pip with some of the other women from the YCWIF, 2015.

The flexible structure of the Fellowship allows women in different stages of their lives to participate whilst maintaining their other responsibilities; at work and at home. There were three babies born in our group within the two years and these mothers were able to juggle their family obligations with the demands of the Fellowship program. Several members of the group are now going on to complete the Masters of Theology through the University of Newcastle.

A highlight of the Fellowship was our visits to the places of worship for people of different faiths. We were warmly welcomed into the spaces of many groups from different traditions. During one residential weekend we visited the Emanuel Synagogue in Woollahra, in Sydney’s East. Speaking to one of their female Rabbis, Jacqui, it was clear that she was a passionate and successful leader in her Jewish community. It was moving for us to witness this wonderful example of the value women can bring to their religious congregations, as leaders and mentors.

I feel very lucky to have been supported to undertake this program. It is a fantastic initiative of our Church. I am sure when I look back on this experience in years to come, it will be a significant point of both my faith journey and career path into a position of leadership in the Church. It has helped me to confirm where “my people” are and how I can continue to seek them out in my work and personal life.

If you are interested in sponsoring a young Catholic woman for leadership, please email Fellowship Coordinator Andrea Dean at:

Thanksgiving in the Year of Consecrated Life in Shepparton

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australia
By Frances Kennedy fcJ

FCJ Sisters - Shepparton

Following on from the Diocesan Mass of thanksgiving and celebration in Bendigo during March, the four parishes of the Shepparton area: St. Brendan’s Shepparton, St. Mel’s South Shepparton, St. Mary’s Dookie and St. Mary’s Mooroopna, combined to host a dinner on 10th April to mark the Year of Consecrated Life. As an expression of gratitude and appreciation, they invited all religious who had served in those parishes: Mercy Sisters, Daughters of Divine Zeal, Marist Brothers, Faithful Companions of Jesus, and the more recently arrived Italian monastic group (a Public Association of the Faithful) the “Community of the Sons and Daughters of God” who came to Dookie in 2009. Twenty-five religious joined with 125 parishioners for the event at Goulburn Valley Hotel. After grace and words of welcome, a toast to the religious was proposed by a long-time parishioner Mr. Dom Segafredo. Monsignor Peter Jeffreys, currently parish priest of Mooroopna, then addressed the assembly, combining in an interesting and informative address, aspects of history, church life, spirituality, religious consecration and the involvement of the local faith community.

During the evening, the M.C. moved around the room with a roving microphone, inviting each of the twenty-five religious to share some memory or insight from their time in Shepparton area. A representative from each of the parishes followed the microphone and presented a memento of parish tokens to each religious. As well as marking the Year of Consecrated Life, the coming together was a very rich community experience for the four parishes and an opportunity to respond to the exhortation of Pope Francis:

“I urge you as laity to live this year for Consecrated Life as a grace which can make you more aware of the gift you yourselves have received. Celebrate it with your entire ‘family’, so that you can grow and respond together to the promptings of the Spirit in society today.” (Apostolic Letter from Pope Francis, 21 November 2014.)

Companions in Mission – Recommitment Ceremony

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Australia
By Liz Brown fcJ

On the 22nd of March FCJ Sisters, family and friends gathered in FCJ College Chapel, Benalla, to witness the recommitment ceremony of two Companions in Mission – Jane Branigan and Neena Shanks.

Jane Branigan and Neena Shanks recommitting themselves as Companions in Mission, 2015.

The sacred space was the focal point for their ceremony with the Companions in Mission banner in pride of place. Sr Catherine Flynn received their recommitment. The format for the ceremony was simple with well chosen readings and opportunities for personal reflection. The grace they each prayed for was to live in faithfulness and love and so be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be humble, gentle and just in all their relationships. The readings, songs and prayers reflected their desire to be like Marie Madeleine so as to allow God to work in and through their lives. They reminded each of us about the challenge God sets before us, to wait expectantly for our “Fiat”. The ceremony concluded with a get together in the D’Houet room of the college where a sumptuous afternoon tea had been set out for all the guests. Upon entering the D’Houet room, Jane and Neena were touched to see so many people had sent cards and emails were on display for their special day. The joy of the occasion was so evident on their faces with their beaming smiles. As one of them said, “The day couldn’t have been more beautiful”.