Closing of the V Vice Provincial Chapter

“For what great nation is there that has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call on Him?”

This text from Deuteronomy in today’s first reading, March 15, has been the real experience in this Chapter. The illumination we have received during these days, the messages and the challenges are very much connected, and even succinctly put in the homily of Bishop Patricio Buzon of the Diocese of Bacolod, who celebrated the Mass to close the Chapter. The Holy Spirit has been doing his work among us.

Before the Holy Eucharist, the Capitulars met for the last session in the morning. The Chapter Routine was made, then, Sr. Ma. Luisa Garcia, General Vicar, addressed to the assembly her message to close the Chapter.

She encouraged the sisters not to forget the experiences that made them who they are, however not to remain complacent. Instead, to launch into the new horizon for the new chapter in the life of the Vice Province. She likewise added to remind the different experiences in the Chapter: the caresses of God, the meeting with the sisters – listening and feeling the accompaniment of each other, the illuminations that undoubtedly helped everyone to strengthen and renew their covenant and penetrate the mystery, especially the invitation of placing Jesus at the center of their lives as the source to be generators of life… furthermore, she invited everyone to keep themselves open and available and not to be afraid to make way for what is new to effectively become true farmers/sowers of the Good News.

Ultimately, together with the gratefulness expressed by Sr. Ma. Luisa, for the wonderful outcome of the Chapter, the Capitulars were also expressing their gratitude, first to the Lord who has made everything possible. To Sr. Blanca Nidia Bedoya Salazar, General Superior and the Council that is affectionately represented by the meritorious presence of Sr. Ma. Luisa Garcia Casamian, General Vicar, to the previous Government Team of the Vice Province for all their love and preparations, to the Novitiate community for all their warm accommodation, to the committees in the Capitulars who faithfully did their job. All the Capitulars who seriously did their part, the friends who sent their greetings and supported us and all the sisters in the communities of St. Clare Vice Province and in the whole Congregation whose prayers were strongly felt in the course of the Chapter.

May the Lord continue to inspire and guide the way of the Vice Province.

5th Day of the V Vice Provincial Chapter

“Remember your mercies, O Lord” is the responsorial Psalm for today’s Psalm, Psalm 25 that Fr. Roy Christian Jesulgon reiterated in his homily on the 5th day of the Chapter, March 14, 2023. This was aptly said to the Capitulars and to the new Government Team of the Vice Province proclaimed yesterday, who need God’s mercy to carry out their responsibilities, all their desires and aspirations as generators of life.

In the conference after the Chapter Routine, the Capitulars were privileged to have an on-line talk directly from Vietnam with Most Reverend Joseph Dao, Bishop Emeritus of Xuan Loc Diocese, Vietnam. In his beautiful talk on ¨Consecrated Women, Generators of Life”, he was asking the sisters “What is this life?” He quoted John 1:4, saying that Christ is life. The challenge now is how to present Christ in the present world. Bishop Dao gave a nice reminder of the centrality of Christ in our existence to be an effective channel in going to the heart of the people.

After the talk, the presentation of the proposed Objective and the Chapter Commitments by the Commission on Redaction followed. There was then an open forum with a good participation of the Capitulars where it can be seen the synergy in mind and heart as sisters having the same goal and desire for the good of the Congregation.

In the afternoon, the approval of the proposed Objective and Chapter Commitments took place and the result of the Chapter’s evaluation was presented.

It was a delight for the Capitulars to greet the Community of the General House even if it was only on-line, a moment of exchanging wishes and expressing gratefulness for the Vice Province of St. Clare, Asia and the General Superior, Council and Community.

This day finished with everyone feeling blessed, grateful, satisfied and hopeful.

4th Day of the V Vice Provincial Chapter

The Gospel of this March 13, speaks of Jesus saying, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place” (Lk 4:24). As part of the motivation for the day, the liturgist mentioned that this statement of Jesus may be considered by some as an excuse not to complicate their lives. But Jesus only warns us that things are not easy as it may seem, especially in the call for discipleship. One has to take a leap in overcoming obstacles. She or he has to do her best and allow God to do the rest.

In the first morning session, after the opening prayer, the checking of the Capitular´s attendance was made, followed by the reading of the agenda and the reading of the minutes.

There after, the Commission for the presentation of the Synthesis of the Study of the Report presented their work.

The group work for this day consisted in identifying the urgent needs of the Vice Province basing from the summary of the work on the Final Document of the XXIII General Chapter.

In the afternoon, there was another group work to finalize the commitments for the next triennium. Sr. Ma. Luisa Garcia, the General Vicar, congratulated the Capitulars for the work done and for what she had learned throughout all the sharing of the sisters. She also gave an insightful word again to inspire and challenge the sisters that the beautiful words written will really be turned into efforts and be lived.

After the session, everyone proceeded to the Chapel for a time of Adoration. It was a moment of earnest prayer for the new Vice Provincial Government. After the Adoration, the new Team formed by the Vice Provincial Superior and the three Councilors was announced, as well as the new formators.

Everybody welcomed warmly the sisters who will be serving and accompanying the Vice Province and all the assembly is open and grateful to receive the appointed government sisters and formators as gifts of God to lead our demarcation for the next three years. They are:

Vice Provincial Superior : Sr. Angela Maria Martinez Sierra
1st Councilor/Vicar : Sr. Lorena Bagalanon Sacal
2nd Councilor : Sr. Mapin Mahilum Pineda
3rd Councilor : Sr. Frances Laraine Faelnar Andrade

Mistress of Postulants : Sr. Emily Tambis Soliva
Mistress of Novices : Sr. Juliet Valdon Mantos
Mistress of Juniors : Sr. Frances Laraine Faelnar Andrade

Newly Appointed Vice Provincial Government and Formators

Today, 13th day of March 2023, 4th Day of our Vice-Provincial Chapter held at Mater Dolorosa Novitiate Community, Talisay City. We joyfully announce the new set of Vice Provincial government and Formators of St. Clare’s Vice-Province of Asia that will serve on the next triennium 2023-2026.

Vice Provincial Superior: Sr. Angela Maria Martínez
Vicar: Sr.Lorena B.Sacal
2nd Councilor: Sr.Mapin Pineda
3rd Councilor: Sr.Frances Laraine Andrade

Postulancy: Sr.Emily Soliva
Novitiate: Sr.Juliet Mantos
Juniorate: Sr.Frances Laraine Andrade

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of their life and their generous YES to accept the new mission entrusted to them and accompany them in our prayers.

3rd Day of the V Vice Provincial Chapter

The 3rd day of the Vice Provincial Chapter falls on the 3rd Sunday of Lent on which the Gospel speaks about the Samaritan woman on the well. Jesus told the woman, “Give me something to drink”. The liturgist of the day posted a compelling question for the Capitulars that says ¨For you, what is that drink that Jesus is asking from you?

In the morning session, Fr. Agustinos Supur from the Claretian Missionaries was invited to talk about “Consecrated Women, Generators of Life – in the Context of Asian Mission”.

The talk was a moment of grace in which the Capitulars together with some of the sisters attending online are confronted with the different realities in life as consecrated women. Fr. Agustinos was talking about Mission as a Journey. Journey not only with the Christians but with all the people of the world. He also mentioned that God is also a Journeying Trinity as he quoted Vita Consecrata 17-19 that tells about the Vocation and Mission as consecrated individuals is in the initiative of the Father, for the following of the Son in the power of the Spirit. He too stressed that in the following of the kenosis of Christ, all are included, “Not one left behind”.

The second part of his talk is a challenge on how to journey upward – the Spiritual Aspect, journey inward – to self, journey outward – with others and journey downward – discovering mother earth. All these had been a very profound topic that invite everyone to live a life of a journeying mystic. Not the concept of a mystic that levitates and floats in the air… but Mystics that contemplate on God’s hidden face on the poor, the strangers, the refugees, the lonely… Persons that walk with their sisters and brothers not just side by side but face to face, persons that inspire the people and give taste to faith as salt of the earth and light of the world – thus called as generators of life.

As for the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters in particular, basing from the Document of the XXIII General Chapter given him, he said that he is being edified by the way of life the sisters are trying to live and telling the sisters that they are in the right track as journeying sowers/farmers of the seeds – the Gospel. His parting words was telling the sisters to “Continue to be farmers as Generators of life”.

In the afternoon, the sisters proceeded to their group works to study their life and mission. In the Plenary, the sacred discussions and evaluations of the reality of the sisters and their communities led to the conclusion that the Document of the XXIII General Chapter is somehow being lived in the Vice Province, though for sure everyone are still in the journey of perfection.

The last part of the session was the presentation of the Document of the XXIII General Chapter that the Congregation is invited to observe and grow with for the next 6 years. Sr. Ma. Luisa Garcia Casamian, the General Vicar and one of the members of the Commission who elaborated the Document invited the sisters to make a qualitative leap and move on their own experience not just as a community or a Vice Province, but that each sister must enter, immerse, and allow herself to be affected and be confronted by the Document.

She said that we are often told to live with fewer structures but finally it seems that we look for them in order not to get lost… That this document is open for the “fundamental intuitions” that each one will be challenged to reflect, and name her experience in the depths of her being, as everyone is a sacred and a unique story. Also, that from the Document, the community will be left in their creativity of making their Life and Mission Project something vital and unitive that will give more reason to the sisters’ daily waking and doing.

Lastly, each Capitular was solemnly given their own copy of the Document with the formula: You are Charism, You are Mission, You are Congregation… Thus, God help them to be truly one.

2nd Day of the V Vice Provincial Chapter

What’s best than starting the day praising the Lord together as Sisters in the Lauds, and receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist, while filling the air with melodious songs that touch hearts and with high hopes that it is reaching heaven? That’s how the second day of the Vice Provincial Chapter started.

Yesterday, the Council headed by Sr. Angela Maria Martinez as the Vice Provincial Superior, Sr. Daniela Villanueva as the Vicar and the VP Secretary, Sr. Juliet Mantos as in charge of their different Committee, and Sr. Jenemer Torio as the VP treasurer presented their reports for the triennium. Today the Capitulars did their first group work of evaluating the Documents.

In the plenary, words of gratefulness for the Council filled the atmosphere. The work did by the VP Government is laudable. Knowing fully well that it was in the period of pandemic, they had managed to make all the sisters in the VP feel all the more closer to each other with the good use of Media. Also worth noting is the physical improvements, projects of auto sustainability, the formation of the Sisters and many others… What is best commended was the unity and the support among the VP Government that were radiated to the Local Communities.

In addition, the morning was packed with healthy conversations that touch very much the reality of the Vice Province that the time has to be extended.

In the afternoon, the zeal for the betterment of life as Consecrated individuals was more aflamed by the inputs on the topic, Consecrated Women, Generators of Life given by Sr. Josefa S. Aldana, SFIC. Sr. Josefa was citing the points of being faithful to Christ, fidelity to the Charism, fidelity to the mission and fidelity to humanity, which are all best illustrated in the document of our XXIII General Chapter Document that she also presented to the assembly as a challenge for everyone.

That ends the second day of the Chapter. Let us keep on praying with and for the TC Sisters.


Opening of the V Vice Provincial Chapter

Opening of the 5th
Vice Provincial Chapter
of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family
General Vice Province of St. Clare, Asia

“Holy Spirit blow, blow ‘till we be
the kind of Capuchin Tertiary Sisters
of the Holy Family you want us to be”

…has been the prayer of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters as they held the opening of their 5th Vice Provincial Chapter today, March 10, 2023.

The opening Mass was presided by Fr. Dante Barcelona, OFM at 7:00 in the morning, with all the Capitulars and Mater Dolorosa Novitiate Community in Talisay City, Philippines, where the Assembly is held.

Sr. Maria Luisa Garcia Casamian, TC, the General Vicar of the Congregation came to preside the Chapter that will end on March 15, 2023, in behalf of the General Superior, Sr. Blanca Nidia Bedoya Salazar, TC.

There are 23 committed Capitulars from the 12 Communities in Asia, namely, Vietnam, India, China, Korea, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, with the other nationalities from Colombia and Spain as Missionaries in Asia who are now gathering. Their aim is to renew their communities and apostolic commitment with the guidance of the Holy Spirit in walking with one another, with the Church and with the people of God.

Let us all join them in their desire and pray for all of them.

Annual Retreat and VP Chapter

Twenty-four sisters of the St. Clare General Vice province culminated the Annual Retreat with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided by the Retreat Master himself, Fr. Raul Buhay, OAR.

The Annual Retreat started from March 2nd to March 9th. Most of the retreatants will be participating the upcoming V Vice provincial Chapter which will begin tomorrow, March 10th to March 15th.

The V VP Chapter has the theme: Fraternal Communities generators of life.

Pope invites Capuchin Sisters

by: Deborah Castellano Lubov-Vatican News

Pope to Capuchin sisters: ‘Let the Holy Family inspire you’

Pope Francis invites Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family to learn from the Holy Family, to embrace littleness and to have a massive impact by listening silently to God’s voice, maintaining a strong personal prayer life, and living out synodality together.

Pope Francis has called on religious sisters to be powerful prophets of humble listening, so that by listening to God’s voice they might be empowered to go against the current and ‘noise,’ to bring God’s love to all without distinction.

The Pope gave this encouragement as he addressed members of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family on Monday in the Vatican.

According to their website, the Congregation was founded in 1885, in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montiel, Benaguacil, in Valencia, Spain, and was approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1902.

What was born as a small family of sisters is now present in 34 countries located on four continents, full of young women worldwide “joyful for their call and happy to be consecrated to the service of others.”

Pope Francis told the nuns on Monday morning that it was a joy for him to welcome them, especially as they celebrate their 23rd General Chapter.

with the Generals

God Took Pity on Me

by: Sr. Sharon Garzon, tc

       Before I finally heed the call of the Lord, in a way, I can say that I thought I was already okay by the world’s standard.  May you not take this as boasting because what I gave up is nothing compared to what the rich and the famous who followed our Lord gave up, including that of the princes and princesses who left everything just to serve Him… but, if one is asking for a secured job, car (though vintage), privileges and favors, a little investment, wonderful friends and loved ones, several suitors, pleasant entertainments and hobbies, a promising future, what more can I ask, I had them all.  Not in exaggeration, but I remember friends would call me, “The envy of Murcia.” (Murcia is my hometown).

       What was puzzling however was:  After a busy day of work or even during the very busy day at work, or in the leisure time, I felt blissful and yet I also felt incomplete.  Thinking that what was lacking was my prince charming, I started opening my door to the possibility of finding the man of my dreams. However, the Lord had His plans for me that He did not permit me to commit myself to anyone, because He knew when I commit myself to something or someone that will already be forever.   

       Looking back, when I was small, I remember putting half-slip on my head, pretending to be a Religious Sister while singing and dancing in front of the mirror.  But as I was growing older, I told myself that I do not like to be a Religious Sister upon seeing and experiencing some not so good examples from some cranky Sisters, though I met and are friends with other nice and kind ones at school. I told myself, we could be holy outside too, so why enter?  It is very funny, it is ironic, and I am here now, a contented happy Religious Sister.

       There was a point in my life when I was in the middle of diligently doing my task, I asked the Lord, “Lord will I do this for the rest of my days, just to count and count and to balance this and that? I think there is more to just working and earning.” I think, there and then that the Lord had awakened again the seed of vocation that He planted in me since I was in my elementary years in our beautiful mountain where the Salesian Missionaries are there present to share the faith to the people where I and my treasured family actively participated.                     When I considered again the likelihood of “the Call”, I started knowing a little more some Congregations.  Nevertheless, it only took a “bata” (the daily clothes worn by the Sisters) when He tried to get my attention to my present and much-loved Congregation.  When I first saw the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters in Bacolod City, near our place of work, I found their “bata” nice because it seemed light and cool even if you exert effort, especially in our scorching hot country, Philippines.

      I asked the Sisters about their Congregation and in response, they told me who they are, they invited me for a search-in and it is there that my inexplicable journey to Religious Life had begun.

       When our Lord definitely called me some 15 years ago, I thought I was giving Him a great favor of giving up my family, friends, dreams, plans, what I had and what I was, because it was not at all easy. It was painful when I asked my dear ones’ blessings and for them I will be leaving them behind. In the same manner that it was heart crushing to think that, I will not be there when they need me. In addition, the thought that in times of jubilation, get together and celebrations, I know I will no longer be there, was hurting.  Next, the letting go of my plans of having a nice family of my own, to let go of all of my dreams, to let go of the desire to fulfil my passions and to do the things that I really love doing – remunerated or not, and the list goes on and on…

       When it dawned on me that the Lord commissioned me to give not just a hundred, thousand or even millions in the collection box or in charities if I had the chance, and when I knew that He asked me to give not just a part but the whole of myself,   I was thinking it was me who was giving Him my best by giving Him my all when I said YES to Him, but, I realize I was wrong.  “He cannot be outdone in His generosity”.  He is always giving back to me all the favours, or to rephrase, the favours are all for me.  I am always at the winning end.

       His promises in Matthew 19:29, “And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much, and also inherit eternal life”, have been unfolding right before my eyes.

      As for the people I care the most, God knows how much I love them, but He lets me see that He loves them more and that He can take care of them much, much more than I can. Furthermore, He was teaching me how to be truly generous by expanding my capacity to love. He asked me to love not just a group of people I can call “my family or my own” but to consider making “all family my own” to love not just a few but to love all, “fratelli tutti” (brothers/sisters all), to be inclusive rather than exclusive…

       He taught me that an authentic love goes beyond borders, goes beyond time and space so much so that what I should be offering my dear ones and everyone, should be far more than just what is banal and material, much more than mansions here on earth where moth and rust will just destroy and will just perish, instead,  to offer the kind that lasts forever – eternal life.

      I remember walking back home to our Community in Quezon City one afternoon when a mentally deranged man touched my arm, made the sign of the Cross and knelt in front of me, and I froze.  I was stupefied not for fear of him, but because I realized the great responsibility that was laid on me:  If a crazy man sees the image of God in me, using His consecrated garb, I should be more conscious that my way of living reminds people of the presence of our Lord (…so, help me God…).  

      The way I perceive and understand things now, my priorities that were far different from long ago, how I have grown, knowing my capacities and limitations, the experiences I enjoyed or cried over and seeing His hands in the events that gave me the faith and trust that He will always be there to see me through… all these and more are priceless and amazing and can never be traded for anything else.  These I consider graces that only He can give. Even so I am still a “work in progress”.

      I can conclude that I am a better Sharon than 15 years ago and that for sure I will never discover these without Him calling me to this kind of life.  I can’t thank God enough – HE TOOK PITY ON ME by consecrating me to Him through Religious Life so that I can change my goals and transcend, knowing that without Him, I am nothing.

       I was not living a sinful life back then, in fact, I was also trying my best to be good and follow His precepts as I understand it, but He opened my eyes to see that “to be good is not good enough” to enter His Kingdom. It is in knowing His will, and following it. If the Lord did not call me to Religious Life, I fear I could have been carried by many distorted ideologies to my perdition and that of others that I may have influenced.           

      Now and for always, I wish to put this line in a song, a reality in me: “I’ll shout it from the mountain top, I want the world to know, the Lord of Love has come to me, I want to pass it on…” 

Sr. Leslie, Sr. Sharon, Sr. Emily, Sr. Clara with the Bishop and Priests on their Perpetual Profession