Thank You, Sr. Teresita!

 The Salesian Sisters in Cambodia, together with their aspirants, students, past pupils and lay collaborators expressed their gratitude to SR. TERESITA GARCIA, as she approached the end of her 6-year term as Provincial of the Cambodia-Myanmar Province (CMY). A two-day celebration of thanksgiving, with the theme  “Six Years of Joyful Growth” was held at the Don Bosco School in Teuk Thla last June 5-6, 2015.

The evening of June 5 saw the colorful presentations of the student-boarders, past students, teachers, volunteers and non-teaching staff. Students of Tuol Kork started with their welcome song for “Sr. Tere”, as Sr. Teresita is fondly called. Then the students recalled in a dramatic scene the tragedy that happened to the Cambodian people in the 1970s, followed by the restoration of peace when war ended. The tableau showed the coming of Don Bosco to Cambodia when the Salesian Sisters  started to provide education and skills to young women and children. The students also depicted the people’s return to normal life with the dance “Robam Ch’rok Sreov”. Also, a  “Colombian-Khmer” dance performed by the teachers and past pupils provided a joyful atmosphere.

A group of students in impressive costumes came all the way from Battambang and presented a lively dance which seemed to show a Spanish influence. Then,   the Home and Food Management students of Teuk Thla performed a meaningful “black light” number to the tune of “You Raised Me Up” while the elementary and high-school boarders presented a choreographed dance. The teacher-trainees, meanwhile, presented a play depicting a person’s compassion and care for others and for his environment.

The volunteers of Tuol Kork and Teuk Thla, together with Sr. Teresa Maria of the Battambang community provided more fun and amusement with their surprise number – the “Sr. Teresita Quiz.” The program concluded with a message (“good-night” talk) from the honoree; with her usually relaxed and often funny way of talking to the youth, Sr. Teresita conveyed to them the importance of living the present moment with joy, love and full attention: no anxiety for the future nor regrets for the past. Life unfolds following the cycle of growth…we cannot expect an unripe fruit to taste sweet. We must wait till it matures. She also reminded everyone to be strong in facing the challenges of the present.

The Sisters’ Day, June 6, started with a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Fr. Roel Soto, the Delegate of the SDBs (Salesians of Don Bosco) in Cambodia. After breakfast, Sr. Dory and the Tuol Kork community animated a modified “Bingo” game in which the Sisters filled up squares showing the virtues and character traits of the co-Sister whose name they had picked. The Sisters realized afterwards that everybody picked the same name – Sr. Teresita – no wonder, their descriptions were nearly the same.

Then followed a variety program prepared by the three communities and emceed by the versatile Sr. Teresa Maria who dressed up and acted like Madame Aung San Suu Kyi, the “self-invited guest” of the evening. The community of Tuol Kork (Sr. Leeza, Sr. Lina, Sr. Dory, Sr. My Hanh, Sr. Rita and Sr. Saren) opened the program with a meaningful song expressing gratitude.

 The Teuk Thla community presented a symbolic play – “The Giving Tree” played by the American volunteer, Miss Claire Pressimone, supported by the aspirants Saren and Sina and the cast of FMAs (Sr. Thippawan, Sr. Maria, Sr. Van, Sr. Koma, Sr. Florencia and Sr. Malen) with special costumes designed by Sr. Mi Na. The community of Battambang concluded the evening with a choreographed number; how gracefully the Sisters (Sr. Lakana, Sr. Teresa Maria, Sr. Marisol and Sr. Gema) danced!  Their number depicted the missionary call of Sr. Teresita.

The program concluded with the presentation of gifts from each community. Indeed, the whole program was another collaborative work of the Sisters, their lay collaborators and young people which resulted in a successful event – a proof of synergy in the Salesian Family! It seemed that everyone would remember Sr. Tere for her simplicity and sincerity, her youthfulness and joy. Aspirant Sina said of her: “When you meet Sr. Tere, you see in her a very simple person, but even her simple stories carry a deep meaning or message. I love listening to them.”

Prior to her appointment as CMY Provincial in 2009, Sr. Teresita served as boarders’ assistant, teacher, catechist and community animator of the communities of Tuol Kork (3 years), Teuk Thla (3 years) and Battambang (6 years). She said that the tasks she preferred most were teaching catechism and being assistant of the boarders.

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