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PURAK, Papar – The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) held a three-in-one celebration on 8 Dec 2016 at their Pace Bene Spirituality Centre here.
Their patronal feast day – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – was held in conjunction with the 138th birth anniversary of their founder, Msgr August Wachter, and the 80th foundation anniversary of the congregation.
In his address after the Mass, Archbishop John Wong touched on the recently ended Year of Mercy. He quoted Pope Francis: “Mercy cannot become ‘ a mere parenthesis’ in the life of the church. Her very existence is mercy itself.”
Then the prelate said that since the Franciscan congregation has the biggest number of Sisters in Malaysia [over 100], it meant that the congregation has a “bigger opportunity to portray the merciful face of God” through their apostolate.
He exhorted them to benefit from the guidance of their retreat master, Fr Jerry Lobo ofm, in the preparaton of their General Chapter next year.
In her turn, Sr Grace Deosing, superior general, thanked everyone who have helped the sisters in their monthly outreach to remote places. She said the 80th founding anniversary coincided with the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
“Our celebration is a year-long celebration with those in the outskirts and peripheries of our lives. A monthly outreach to remote places: going out of our boundaries to be with them. Our stay was brief …but enough to be in their midst, sharing God’s word, experiencing their conditions of simple living and listening to their life stories,” said Sr Grace.
Joining Abp Wong at the altar were Archbishop Emeritus John Lee, Msgr Primus Jouil, Father Lobo and Father Aloysius Fidelis.
Other guests included members of the La Salle Brothers, Daughters of St Paul, Franciscan Seculars, and lay benefactors, collaborators and friends.