The year-long commemoration of the 80th foundation anniversary of the Daughters of St. Paul in the Philippines came to a close on 27 Oct. 2019, Solemnity of Jesus the Divine Master, with a simple celebration.
The highlight of the celebration was a concelebrated Mass at the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary in Pasay. This was presided over by Society of St. Paul Provincial Superior Fr. Rollin Flores, with Fr. Lawrence Peralta as concelebrant.
In the entrance procession, the formands (prepostulants, postulants, novice, juniors) carried incense, candles and flags of the four countries that make up the province as well as that of Italy where the three pioneers came from.
In his homily, the presider stressed on the fact that Jesus is the only way to the Father based on the trinomial: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6)
After the Mass, all including members of the Pauline Family, went to the Alberione Auditorium for a simple agape meal and a short program. A short video on the early days of the foundation was screened. A surprise number – gifts were presented to the oldest FSP (Sr. Assunta Labay, 96 yrs old, 72 yrs in the convent, 68 yrs. as professed sister), to the three youngest members (Preps Anne Loraine Santos, Maria Gao, Imelda Samuing), to the two neo-perpetuals (Srs. Athitaya Jamoo & Daisy Pondaag), and to the two neo-professed (Srs. Aemy Soo and Laurin Kowal).
The presence of formands (1 novice, 1 postulant, 1 prepostulant) from Mainland China was deeply significant in that the Lord has answered the ardent desire of Blessed James Alberione to evangelize that country in a different way.
In January 1937, Bl. Alberione sent Sr. Elena Ramondetti, 27, and Sr. Maria Cleofe Zanoni, 24, to China, accompanied by Sr. Edvige Soldano, 40. But it did not turn out that way. The Sino-Japanese War drove them out of China. They went to India but it did not welcome them. So they landed on Philippine soil on 13 Oct. 1938 – it was supposed to be a stopgap until the war was over and they could return to China – but Divine Providence willed it otherwise.
Down the years, the Philippine Foundation has been instrumental in the expansion of the congregation in Asia, fulfilling the 1955 prophecy of the Founder that the nation would supply personnel (priests and sisters) to neighboring countries. Indeed, Filipina Sisters have been part of the foundations in Japan (1948), India (1951), Taiwan (1959), South Korea (1960), North Borneo (1961), Australia (1964), West Malaysia (1965), Hong Kong (1978), Papua New Guinea (1989), and Thailand (1994).
In May 2019, after discerning with the East Asia Delegation, the General Government decided to entrust the vocations from Mainland China to the PMPT Province, thus fulfilling the Founder’s desire to evangelize China in an undreamt of way. – Sr. Anna Yap, FSP