“I wish that all of you will be animated by one heart and the same spirit,” these words of our Father Founder Blessed Francisco Palau echo in our hearts as we, the Las Marias Community Interprovincial Juniorate –Philippines, journey together as we prepare for our final commitment to Christ in Missionary Carmel. Our community comprises of nine (9) Juniors from Blessed Francisco Palau Province and Our Lady Mother of the Church (Kenya): Sr. Matilda Ogu (Nigerian), Sr. Fidelia Nnadi(Nigerian), Sr. Theodora Osita(Nigerian), Sr. Juliet Onuchukwa(Nigerian), Sr. Annes Chikufenji (Malawi), Sr. Yovita Neonane (Indonesia), Sr. Jeanette Inlayo (Philippines), Sr. Jazel Laureno (Philippines) Sr. Genelyn Ruales (Philippines); together with our formators: Sr. Marivic Baldecañas, Sr. Ma. Pilar Ruiz and Sr. Julieta Ganza.
In our five months of living and sharing together, we have been nourished and inspired by our varied activities. The cultural week held last June gave us a glimpse and allowed us to experience the richness and beauty of each culture and country. Highlights of the activity includes: flag-raising of each country, exhibits, video presentation, cultural dances and songs, native games (Nigeria and Philippines) and serving of native food and delicacy. Culminating the cultural presentation of the Philippines was the cultural tour around some of the historical places in the Philippines like Intramuros (Manila’s walled city), Lights and Sounds and Augustinian Museums, Fort Santiago and Rizal Shrine. Our Palautian and Carmelite identity was deepened by our in-house classes on: Edith Stein, Biblical Women of Fr. Palau, Historical and Spiritual itinerary of Fr. Palau (Sr. Loida Tortogo), Foundational Charism of Fr. Palau (Sr. Bernabel Galindez), Palautian Pedagogy of Prayer, CM Constitutions and Chapter documents (Sr. Elsie Ybera). In order to hone our skills in drawing, an Art Workshop was organized for us. Spanish class was also regularly given by Sr. Pilar Ruiz. Indeed every activity leads us to journey inward seeing our own realities vis-à-vis that of the world and the Church in order to move forward and make our “Yes” to God more grounded and solid.
Being in a multi-cultural community is indeed an experience of communion, moving beyond our cultural and individual differences and holding on to what really unites and makes us one – and that is our desire to finally commit ourselves to our Beloved. We have just started our journey, there are a lot of purifications and stripping off along the way but we believe that God’s grace is always at work and His love is ever faithful. Truly, God’s call is a gift that is gratuitously given to us and we just need to be open to His many surprises in this year of our preparation.
As we move forward to continue our journey, we thank you our dear Sisters and ask you once again to accompany us in your prayers. God bless you all!
Las Marias Interprovincial Juniorate
Tandang Sora, Philippines