Special Gratitude Day in Myanmar

FMA communities in Myanmar celebrate Gratitude Day
 in solidarity with the Internally Displaced Families in Kutkai & Muse’
This year’s celebration of Gratitude Day in Myanmar assumes a different tone. On the 12th of January 2019 some members of the Educating Community composed of 7 Sisters, 1 Lay collaborator, 1 pre-aspirant and two young girls of the FMA communities visit the refugee camp in Kutkai. This visit is part of the Provincial Gratitude Day in Myanmar which is aimed at celebrating it in a more meaningful and significant way. It is realized as an opportunity to share the experience of God’s providential care and love to our presences in the Province with our suffering brothers and sisters who are displaced because of the on-going civil war in Kachin State.
Through the help and collaboration of Fr. Luigi, Director of KMSS (Karuna Myanmar Social Service) of Lashio Diocese and Fr. Tino, Procurator of Lashio Diocese, the group is able to connect with the 46 IDP’s in Kutkai and Muse’ and is hosted at the Bishop’s residence. Fr. John Gam Seng (SDB) and another 2 laymen accompanied the group to Kutkai for the distribution of the goods.
Though Kutkai is relatively far from the FMA communities in Pyin Oo Lwin, this small town in the Shan State of eastern central Myanmar is chosen to be the heart of our gratitude day celebration. It is about 964 km from Yangon and 398.6 km. from Pyin Oo Lwin. It takes around 9 hours by bus from Anisakan, Pyin Oo Lwin to reach the place since the transport has to crossed several mountains. Kutkai is a place near Muse’ which is bordering China. It is indeed a periphery that is worth the attention of any group who wants to bring help to those who are in need. There are 28 displaced families (135 people) in the camp which is inside the compound of the Catholic Church. The families are Catholics from the Kachin and Shan tribe. The head catechist, Saya Naung Latt who is assisting the families, recounts that because of the fighting between the Burmese army and the tribes’ army , many people flee from their own villages and find a place for their temporary shelter in the town of Kutkai. It is far from their village called Naung Phan which is about 15 km away from Kutkai. It has been 6 years that the families are staying in the camp through the help and care of the Civil Society Groups and local authorities. The KMSS charity group of Lashio and the other NGO also provide support for their essential needs of housing, health care and education. But, it is too little and cannot get enough for their living. There are a big number of women and children staying in the camp. The adults try to search for any work that they can find in order to provide especially for the children and elderly. Finding themselves in such situation, the children cannot study well and therefore discontinue their studies and engage in work earning a minimal wage. In March the families will be relocated to Gale Zup Aung, 14 km away from KutKai where, hopefully, they can start to rebuild their lives.
It is touching to see the eyes of the families: children, young people, elderly and adults beaming with joy as they meet and endlessly thank the group for the little items they receive out of the kindness of many people.
Indeed, God’s magnanimity and generosity are overwhelming that one cannot contain it for oneself. The solidarity with the 46 IDP families from Kutkai and Muse’ of the Diocese of Lashio is the Salesian Sisters’ concrete gesture of recognizing and thanking the Lord for His immense goodness to His people.  The visit would not have been possible without the help of our Singaporean friends from Project Kyrie who quickly responded to the Sisters’ invitation to extend help to the IDPs.


The 19th of January 2019 was a great day for the members of the Salesian Family in Cambodia as they gathered for the annual Salesian Family Day. It was also a day to deepen one's Salesian spirituality by studying and reflecting on the Rector Major's Strenna for 2019. The gathering was held at the vocational training center of the Salesian Sisters in Tuol Kork District.

The event began at 9:00 am with the Holy Mass concelebrated by Fr. Roel Soto (the Provincial Delegate), Fr. Ceferino Ledesma and Fr. Eugene Xalxo.  After a short tea break at 10:15 Fr. Cef Ledesma, SDB began his talk on the Strenna entitled: "HOLINESS ALSO FOR YOU"  based on the Biblical passage 'So that my joy may be in you' (Jn 15:11). Subtitled "Holiness is for Everyone," the presentation of Fr. Cef was seasoned with jokes and anecdotes (for which he is quite known), making the participants expect for more.

Before lunch, games animated by the VTC staff were held and enjoyed by everyone. The more than 60 participants (SDBs, FMAs, ASCs, Past Pupils, VDBs and a Sister-Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, actively and whole-heartedly took part in the games and competitions which also had a touch of "Salesian sanctity". A special family lunch was served by the FMA Tuol Kork community.

Thanks and congratulations to Sr. Malen Estacio for organizing the event and to Sr. Amanda Alvarando and community for hosting this wonderful gathering




December 10 was an important date for the Educating Community of Don Bosco School (Phum Chreh) since it was the day that marked the blessing of the additional learning facilities of the school. The building constructed through the generous help and support of our benefactors (ACTS, Anonymous donor, friends from Singapore) and members of the Educating Communities in Cambodia was another milestone for Mary Our Help (Cambodia – Myanmar Province). Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, MEP together with Dr. John Lee, Founder of ACTS, Dr. Gladys Wong (representing Dr. Damian Png – Chairman of ACTS and Dr. Eugene Loh (ACTS Mission Leader of Phnom Penh), Salesian Sisters, representatives of the Educating Community of Don Bosco School (Phum Chreh), ACTS Missioners of Phum Chreh graced the occasion to join the Sisters in thanking God for this marvelous gift to the community and villagers.

The current school building which was completed in 2002 accommodates children from Grades 1 to 6. The Sisters continue to offer quality education to deserving and poor children offering them free daily lunch meal and medical assistance. Moreover, they want to do more to keep the kids off the streets and to offer them more learning and formative opportunities. For this reason, a need the building was conceptualized in order to offer other basic school facilities which will provide a full day school (till 4 PM) offering an enrichment curriculum to keep the children engaged in school for a longer duration. The other facilities such as the Multi-purpose Hall, Teachers’ Room, computer Laboratory will also be functional to the teachers and staff which can serve as a conducive place for their weekly formation.

Some Pieces of Daily lives of Don Bosco Kindergarten, Phum Chreh

Our children learn by themselves by doing they are learning like Montessori way of teaching.


13-20 OCTOBER 2018

It was a historical meet because it is the first time the Buddhist and Christian Nuns come together.
Organized by the PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE in collaboration with the FO GUANG SHAN BUDDHIST MONASTERY, KAOHSIUNG, TAIWAN, the meeting saw 70 Buddhist and Christian nuns coming together to deepen the theme: Active Contemplation and Contemplative Action. Seventy Buddhist and Catholic nuns, mainly from Taiwan, but also from other countries such as South Korea, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, the Philippines, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Norway and the United States, took part in the international dialogue.
Representing the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue are Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, Secretary of the Department, and Monsignor Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage, Undersecretary with responsibility for Buddhism. Father William Skudlarek Osb, Secretary General of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID) and also consultant to the Pontifical Council, will lead a delegation of fourteen Catholic women from Asia and Europe and the Americas. A European delegation from the World Council of Churches in Geneva, led by Lutheran Simone Sinn, was also present.  
The agenda of the First International Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Nuns - explains the Vatican note - includes the following items: The Origin, Evolution and Present-day Situation of Monastic Religious Life for Women in Buddhism and Christianity; Buddhist and Christian Approaches to Active Contemplation and Contemplative Action (Right Mindfulness and Right Conduct); Buddhist Meditation and Christian Contemplation; The Service of Buddhist and Christian Nuns to Humanity; Religious Women Promoting the ‘Feminine Genius’; Sharing Stories of Buddhist-Christian Solidarity and Envisioning Future Possibilities. 
The international dialogue seeks to achieve two main objectives: to promote the dialogue of spiritual or religious experiences and to create more space for women to participate in interreligious dialogue. The work of these days is marked not only by discussions in plenary sessions, but also by visits to sacred places in the region, individual conversations and small groups, testimonies of stories of solidarity.  
There were three fma Sisters participated, Sr. Teresa Joseph, Sr. Tomassina Lee, and Sr. Sarin Eng. it was a very enriching and learning experience. During the meet Sr. Sarin fma, shared her story of Buddhist-Christian Solidarity. Sr. Teresa Joseph, fma spoke on Religious Women Promoting the “Feminine Genius.”

I was chosen to be one of the panellists to share the stories of Buddhist-Christian solidarity; envisioning future possibilities. So I just share my personal story of Buddhist and Christian nuns in Cambodia. That was on the last day. From this experience, I was urged to reach out to the Buddhist nuns in my country. I hope that in the future, I will do something which I have learned from this conference with Buddhist religious in Cambodia. It would not be something significant, but perhaps just a starting step. Please, pray for me, Mother. I thank God, and thank to my Provincial: Sr. Jessica Salvana for given me this opportunity.
- Sr. Maria D. Mazzarello Sarin Eng 

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