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Gratitude to God and to Susan

Submitted by: regina
On: 08/10/2015

Good Shepherd Sisters and mission partners in the Philippines join the Good Shepherd family worldwide in thanking God for the gift of Sr. Susan Chia to the congregation.

Sr. Susan passed on to eternal life on Octber 3, 2015 in Singapore. At the time of her death, Susan was a member of the Congregational Leadership Team, having been elected during the 2009 Congregational Chapter in France. A new set of leaders has been elected in the recent 2015 Congregational Chapter.

File Photo. Sr. Susan speaks to the local leaders in 2010.

Sr. Brigid Lawlor, congregational leader and the outgoing CLT will turn over to Sr. Ellen Kelly and her incoming CLT the concerns of the congregation during their meeting in Rome this October. The incoming CLT will begin their leadership on November 14, when a Eucharistic celebration will be held at the Generalate.

Sr. Susan Chia, was the link councillor of the CLT to the Philippines. She came to the Philippines in 2010 for the Local Leaders' meeting and conducted sessions on "Gathering the Hundredfold" as part of the preparations for the Centennial Celebrations of the Good Shepherd Sisters in the Philippines in 2012. In coordination with Sr. Cecilia Torres, then province leader, Susan also came in 2013 for the stewardship session conducted by the congregational treasurer, Sr. Yolanda Borbon for the local leaders and treasurers.

File Photo: One of the four groups during the Gathering the Hundredfold session.

Sr. Susan will be remembered for her great concern for formation of sisters worldwide. She initiated the 2011 and 2012 Formators' Session held in the Philippines, Chile and Kenya. This August 25-September 30, 2015 she was behind the planning for the Third Module of the Asia Pacific Formators' Session held in Maryridge, Tagaytay.

Though unable to attend the sessions because of sickness, Susan planned with the facilitators Elaine Basinger, Salomi Cruz, Josita Corera and the rest of the Formation Core Team the contents of the sessions.

Photo: At the Good Shepherd Chapel in Quezon City. (Photo by Sr. Veronica Nobleza RGS)

On October 7, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Good Shepherd Sisters in the Philippines were in solidarity with the rest of the congregation remembering Susan during the Eucharistic Celebration, and in the afternoon rosary and procession in honor of Our Lady.

Our Philippine Province representative to the funeral service for Susan, Sr. Guadalupe Bautista and Congregational Leadership Team representative Sr. Ma. Teresa Pomar shared the message of Sr. Brigid Lawlor. The message was read by Sr. Ma. Teresa, contemplative and Sr. Eliene Barros, apostolic, both members of the CLT.

Thank you, Susan.


October 7, 2015 – Singapore

Shared by Eliene Barros and Teresa Pomar

Members of the Congregational Leadership Team (CLT)


Sister Brigid regrets that she is unable to be here in Singapore with us today. However, she holds all of you close to her heart and has prepared this message on behalf of the entire CLT.

At the exact time of Susan’s death (Eastern Standard Time) Brigid was addressing the sisters in the New York Province and the English Region of Canada during their opening ritual marking the Unification of their units to become the Province of New York–Toronto. Brigid shared with the sisters that during her last phone conversation with Susan immediately before she began radiation,they spoke about this Unification ceremony. New York had been one of the units for which Susan was councillor. Susan would have been at this joyous event!Needless to say, she was very presentin spirit as she passed from this life to eternal life.

The rest of the Congregational Leadership Team (CLT), apart from us (Eliene and Teresa), are also in distance lands celebrating Susan’s life. Anne Jo is in Angers giving presentations to lay mission partners from Australia. Angela and Armelle are in Rome preparing to welcome the new CLT. Rita is in Senegal having helped to prepare sisters for their profession ceremony last weekandnowgivingChapterechoes. Like Brigid, both Jude Ellen in the USA and Reina in El Salvador are too far away to get here in time to be with you. However, all of the CLTsendyou greetings filled with universal love and international support.


First and foremost,our love, sympathy and prayers go out to Susan’s family, especially her mother, sisters and brothers; to Sr.Joan Lopez and all our sisters and lay mission partners in the Province of Singapore/Malaysia and beyond to the Asia Pacific Circle and the whole congregation.

Susan brought her many gifts and talents to the CLT. When we think of her, the first thing that comes to mind after her sheepish smile and dancing eyes was her passion for formation at all levels. How creative she was with her formation committee and especially with Elaine when leading the sessions for formators, leadership teams, and other gatherings.

Of course we all learned how to make the Chinese New Year salad – Singapore style! And we all learned how to do fundraising from our “little Chinese sister” by very professional coercion methods!

Susan was strong on developing cultural awareness within herself and with others. She grew in a deep appreciation of our unity in diversity in the congregation.

On one of her visits to a Unit with many elderly sisters, the sisters appreciated her zeal and enthusiasm for the mission and especially for the new foundation in Kolwezi, Congo. However, they said to her – “what can we do - we are too old? Susan responded: “that is true but you can love – love until the end of your life.” The conversation then took on more energy. Our dear friend Susan certainly lived a life of love and it is that love which continues to inspire us.

In a similar way, during the European Leadership Sessions, the participants told her“We, in Europe have manylimitations.Her response was that she had limitations too. She took her chemotherapy tablets out of her pocket (which she called her new BFF – best friend forever) and she said:“I too don’t know how long my life will be, but I am here.”

We, as a CLT, had the joy of being with Susan for our last two sessions of Council and for the Congregational Chapter. In addition to being our link person for Formation and the International Justice and Peace Office, she assisted with the work in the Mission Development Office and the Chapter Planning Committee. What an impact she made in all of these areas!

She was our visionary and our artist. As you can tell from the examples above, she lived the words of Phillip Pinto, cfc, a person who inspired her. He says: “Transformational leadership is a way of being leaders arising out of the depths of the wisdom within each of us, a wisdom that allows others the space and opportunity to transform their own lives. The only leadership that is worth the name is spiritual leadership.”

We are immensely grateful for having been on the Team with Susan who in her wisdom inspired transformational leadership through her challenging questions like “Where are you”?” and “What are we going to do?

While we know that she is with Jesus, Good Shepherd - Christ, Our Light, we will all miss her very much. We find consolation in the words of Meister Eckhart: “Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.”

One sister in hearing the news of Susan’s death said: “She is now the Super Nova that she encouraged us to become!” May she be united with Blessed Maria Droste to whom she had great devotion and may they intercede for all of us to our Shepherd God.