PAPAR(CS).- The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) have all the reasons to rejoice and to glorify the Lord as they marked the end of the Year of Faith with their 6-day Annual Retreat at Pace Bene FSIC Centre for Spiritual Formation and Retreat, Papar from Nov 30-Dec 7.
The retreat ended with the Eucharistic Celebration in thanksgiving to God on Dec 7 which coincided with the celebration of their Feast Day, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The main Celebrant was Archbishop John Wong.
The retreat was facilitated by Fr Terry Burke, a Mill Hill priest who teaches at St Peter’s College, Kuching. The Sisters expressed their gratitude to God for the privilege to have Fr Terry as their facilitator since their Founder Msgr August Wachter was also a Mill Hill Missionary (MHM). Sharing the same motto “To Love and To Serve”, we could see the missionary zeal of our Founder in Fr Terry!
The theme of the Annual Retreat was “The Three Loves of Christ”: His love for us, our love for Him, and One with Him in His love and service for the world.
The retreat was very enlightening and meaningful for it touched the hearts of the Sisters. During the retreat, Sisters who were below 60-years old have their one day “Desert Day” to be totally alone with God.
In his message to the Sisters, Archbishop John Wong quoted the address of Pope Francis to the clergy, religious and seminarians during the 2013 World Youth Day. He reminded the Sisters to inculcate three essential patterns in their lives.
Firstly, to constantly be aware of their Divine vocation by returning again and again to the source of their calling. For this, faithfulness to a life of prayer is very essential.
Secondly, living out the call to proclaim the Gospel “for we cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in communities, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel!”
Thirdly, promoting the culture of encounter and welcoming, the Sisters were urged to mix around and bear witness to the Gospel and not to avoid meeting people.
Lastly, Archbishop John Wong challenged the Sisters to model after the Blessed Virgin Mary in their lives. Her faith, courage and humility are to be reflected in their lives.
The celebration was also participated by relatives, friends and collaborators of the FSIC whose presence, support and collaboration in their mission were greatly appreciated.