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Message of Sr. Regina Kuizon RGS

Message of Sr. M. Regina Kuizon RGS
Province Leader, Religious of the Good Shepherd Philippines Japan
for the Perpetual Profession of Vows of Sr. M. Nguyen Thi Bach Mai and Sr. M. Theresa  Chu Thi Nguyet Hoa
September 8, 2019, Good Shepherd Chapel, Toyonaka Community, Osaka, Japan

Good afternoon Most Rev. Bishop Sakai and concelebrating priests, Good Shepherd Sisters—apostolic and contemplative, lay mission partners, families and friends!

St. Mary Euphrasia, foundress of the Good Shepherd Congregation,  said,” I no longer say, I am French.  
I am German, Spanish,   I belong to all nations where there are souls to save.” Today, we are here Filipinos, Vietnamese, Japanese, Canadian… gathered to be God’s channels of mercy and compassion.

September 8, is the day Catholics mark as the birthday of Mary, our Mother. She said Yes/FIAT to God for all eternity. She is our model of discipleship. Today is very special because this is the first Perpetual Profession of Vows of two sisters in the three-year-old Province of Philippines-Japan. On December 12, Sr. Clara Loilo from the Philippines will also pronounce her Perpetual Vows.  The beauty of this day is that our two sisters are Vietnamese who in 2007 were called to be missionaries to Japan. Truly, St. Mary Euphrasia is so present in our gathering and rejoicing that we have come together for mission. She has guided our sisters to be in love with God and His mission: from Vietnam, to Japan, then to the Philippines, to Angers where Mother Foundress dreamt of the Generalate which continues to reach out to families, especially women and children in 72 countries where we are.

Last year in Angers, France, Sr. Ellen Kelly ur congregational leader, spoke with Srs. Mai, Hoa, Clara and other young sisters from 27 countries who were gathered during the session of Love, the Heart of the Universe. As reported, Sr. Ellen expressed the hope that “they would develop friendships across borders that would last a lifetime.” She emphasized that the lifelong commitment expressed by Perpetual Profession calls for very deep and honest discernment.  “Pay attention to your heart,” she said, “for where your heart is there is your treasure also.” She invited the Sisters into a deeper communion with God, the created world, the universe, with each other and with those who accompany them.  Love is about relationships, she continued and it must be lived in our everyday life. “

We are blessed that members of the families of Sr. Mai and Sr. Hoa are here to witness today’s occasion, and to be with Good Shepherd Sisters and lay mission partners as our dear sisters made their commitment to Jesus the Good Shepherd forever.

Our journey of unification started in 2014 when with the Congregational Chapter theme, “Energized by the Spirit We Risk Together for Mission,” inspired the Sector of Japan to ask the Philippine Province for unification. At that time, the Philippine Province just concluded its 2014 Chapter with the theme, “Spirit Fired We Risk with Hope for Mission,” which was adapted from the congregational chapter theme. Our two units dared to take the risk.  Consultations, conversations and sharing of our stories of hope and dreams, revealing our fears and anxieties and opening ourselves to our varied cultures, paved the way for the establishment of the new Province of Philippines-Japan on April 24, 2017, feast of St. Mary Euphrasia.

During our Congregational Chapter 2015, our sisters and lay mission partners articulated for us the needs in the world that we need to address: poverty, forced migration, refugees, women and children, victims of human trafficking, gender inequality and religious intolerance.

Like, Mary, St. Mary Euphrasia followed the ways of the Good Shepherd. Our individual journey of vocation to religious life makes us strong as a Province as we, collectively follow the Good Shepherd. With our congregational thrust of Women, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, we look with hope and expectation to the future -- to the 2021 Congregational Chapter Theme, “Drawn by Love, Passionate for Justice,” and next year’s Philippines-Japan Province Chapter and its theme, “Transformed by Love, Passionate for Mission.”

Pope Francis said in 2013, “Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community.... This is why Jesus said: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest”, that is, God the Father, to send out labourers into his harvest.(Mt 9:38). “Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer; and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit.”

Thank you very much, Sr. Mai and Sr. Hoa, to your families who prayed for you and also for the religious family that you have embraced. Thanks to all of you who have come and have prayed that there will be more who would have the courage to follow the Good Shepherd, so that we may be able to serve families especially women and girls, and together uphold the integrity of creation and “protect our common home”.

Arigato gozaimasu. Maraming Salamat po. Chan thanh tri an. Thank you very much. And in the words of St. Mary Euphrasia and St. John Eudes, in the language of the first French-Canadian Good Shepherd missionaries who came to Japan—Merci beaucoup.