Ministry to Our Own
Counting Our Blessings
On behalf of the Unit of Our Lady of Lourdes, I would like to express my gratitude to Sr. Joanne Riggs and the leadership of American Province for their kindness and generosity to help and share their resources to support our Unit and the young SMIC in Philippines. By the presence of Sr. Eleanor, we could feel the hearts and blessings from the American Sisters; we experienced the Grace of God and One SMIC through them.
May God bless our American Sisters in ways they need most.
By Sr. Lucy Zhang, SMIC
A Big Blessing at SHS
It was such a big blessing to have our dear Sister Eleanor Goekler, from our US province to give our teachers and faculty members a very meaningful spiritual seminar. The theme of the seminar was Eco-spirituality at Sacred Heart School, Tacloban held on Jun 1-2, 2017, a few days before our new school year started. We are very grateful to have Sr. Eleanor to share her rich Franciscan spirituality and profound life experiences with our teachers, and bring us close to our inner self, and especially help us to realize and appreciate the beauty of our Mother Nature.
We know that Tacloban had a very devastating super typhoon Yolanda in 2013; most of our teachers are the Yolanda survivors. It was a good opportunity for some of the teachers to share their unforgettable memories, and how they survived from that disaster. There were some very touching stories shared with the whole group. Through tears and deep grief, we have realized how powerful our Mother Nature is and how weak we humans are; we are called to protect and live harmoniously with our environment. Through the attentive listening and sincere support, there were also healings around from God's wonderful hands.
With the inspiration of St. Francis, we were all invited to write our own Canticle with grateful hearts. At the end of the seminar, we made a practical plan on how to take care of our Mother Nature, starting from our own school. All of us promised to try our best to take care of our environment and Mother Nature with awareness and God's help.
It was a wonderful seminar for all of our staff and faculty members! We are very grateful for Sr. Eleanor who spent these few days with us and brought the spirit of St. Francis to our lovely campus. With everyone's effort, we hope that the spirit of St. Francis will be rooted more deeply in the heart of all our teachers and students!
By Sr. Rebecca Niu, SMIC
A Special Blessing at St. Francis Formation House
Calling Abraham to journey to a foreign land, God promised that He will bless him, and his offspring will be countless like the stars in heaven. Along the journey of Our Lady of Lourdes Region going forward, we believe that God also promises us that His bountiful blessings and graces will be countless like the stars in heaven. While thinking and counting our blessings for the year 2017, at this moment, we could recall that Sr. Eleanor is one of the special blessings that we received directly from God this year.
Sr. Eleanor Goekler arrived at the Our Lady of Lourdes Region in the Philippines on May 05, 2017, and she went back to her own province, the Province of Immaculate Conception, on August 11, 2017.
We have to say that we received plenty of God's blessings and had a wonderful experience when Sr. Eleanor was staying with us. First of all, she kindly accompanied our pre-novices and some junior professed Sisters to study English by reading and sharing the Gospel, and sharing our daily life and talking in English around the meal table. Second, the students of SMIC - ITCM in Manila and the teachers and the Sisters of Sacred Heart School in Tacloban also benefited from the "Spiritual Activity" guided by Sr. Eleanor in June and July. Lastly, both the Sisters at St. Francis Formation House and all the junior professed Sisters in the region had an opportunity to have a "Franciscan Spirituality Workshop" with Sr. Eleanor, which was held in different places and time. What we learned was not only the way and the life of St. Francis and St. Clara of Assisi, but also captured the core spirit of both Saints' life as well. Indeed, those spiritual activities enlightened and attracted us to go deeper and to follow the footprints of St. Francis and St. Clara.
Apart from giving us "The Franciscan Spirituality" and other activities, we'd better say that Sr. Eleanor herself is an excellent model to our young sisters for her patience, her kindness, her ever readiness to help, and her valuable sharing. It is true that living with Sr. Eleanor has enriched and nourished us in different ways. Her presence among us and her wise suggestions have created a kind of atmosphere that is transforming and inspiring to us along the continuous journey to God.
"How good it is, how pleasant, where the people dwell as one! ... Like dew of Hermon coming down upon the Mountains of Zion. There the LORD has lavished blessings, life forevermore." (Psalm 133) Dear Sr. Eleanor, how good and pleasant it was when you were living with us and it was as if the dew of God fell upon us. We believe you are the special blessing that God bestowed to the Sisters of Our Lady of Lourdes Region this year! Sr. Eleanor, whenever we think and count our blessings, you are in our hearts and prayers!
By Sr. Teresa Zhang, SMIC