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Good Shepherd Philippine Novitiate Turns 60

Submitted by: rgsphil
On: 17/07/2021

 

The Philippine Novitiate marked its 60th year last June 21, 2021. Mass was held at the Good Shepherd Chapel in Quezon City in the morning with Fr Hartono Budi, SJ as presider. In the afternoon, a simple program was held at Heart of Mary Hall in QC, with video presentation, testimonials and prayer to honor and reminisce with gratitude all those who had been part of the past six decades of the novitiate.

Introduction At Mass (by Sr Lulu Fabia, one of the first novices):

"Sixty years… 60 years ago, by any reckoning, is a long time ago. What do we remember of '60 years ago'? We realize that the heart remembers! It remembers persons, events, life unfoldings – and this is a grace because to remember is to cherish, to hold what all we remember in love and gratitude. So we have this celebration of the Eucharist today, to thank God for what started on June 21, 1961 and continues up to this other June 21, 2021.

When the Philippines was made in to a Province on December 3, 1960, the Provincial Mother John of the Cross Kroner, transferred from Los Angeles to Quezon City to guide the young Province in its founding years. After only six months, they announced the opening of a GS Novitiate in the Philippines. It must have taken a lot of love and zeal – and daring – to make a decision like that. They had a Team – Sr. Mary Veronica, Sr. Mary Rosalie and Sr. Mary Immaculata. But they did not have a novitiate building. So the 1st Bond, actually even the 2nd Bond in 1962, were housed in the Contemplative Sisters’ “Bethany”. The Magdalens started their community a month earlier May 11, 1961. The Apostolic Novitiate had a big all-purpose room: for Instructions, Conference, Study, Library, Recreation, a sewing corner, liturgy and song practices. There was no piano, no organ, no tape recorder in the beginning. Everything was a capella. Another big room served as dormitory with cubicles separated by curtains. There was a kitchenette for merienda and simple cooking/baking lesson. Meals and prayers were shared with the Professed in their refectory and Chapel, a good walk from the CGS building! Although there was no communication between the Professed and the novices except on feasts and BBG (Blessed be God) days, the care and solicitude of the Sisters for the young ones was palpable and felt.

The LA Community was generous – with books, household effects, food stuff (including cans and boxes of the famous See’s Chocolates). Jesuits from the China Province (Kwang Chi Community) came for classes – Scripture, Theology, Moral Theology, Liturgy. Fr. Mc Caan, novice master in Novaliches, came regularly for Spirituality, Prayer, Vows.

After two years, the Novitiate building was finished so the novices transferred to the 4-storey structure, ready for the influx of aspirants in the years to come. After nine years, Sr. Veronica finished her term. And a succession of Novitiate Directress/Formators followed for the next 60 years – Srs. France Therese, Angelita, Guada, Marietta, Olga Malou, Marion, Sansu, Tess Figueroa, Terry, Lea.

The Philippine Novitiate from its earliest years has been a formation place for the “foreign missions.” Mother Foundress’ “I belong to all nations where there are souls to save” became an inspiration and a special call to many. When Hong Kong, Macau and Korea were still part of the Philippine Province, young professed even before final profession were missioned or volunteered to go there. Later when China and Korea were attached to the North East Asia Provinces, Sisters continued to volunteer to do mission work there, especially for Filipino OFWs. The Philippine Novitiate has prepared missionaries for Hongkong, Macau, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Tahiti, Madagascar, Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, USA, Guam, Canada, Malta, Bolivia, Rome.

The story and history of the Philippine Novitiate can be captioned by the theme of the Congregational Chapters in the 2020’s – “Drawn by Love, Passionate for Justice” So much love, so much zeal all these 60 years. May it also try to live the Philippine Church’s 500 Years of Christianity “Gifted to Give.” Blessed be God!"