The Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco have just started a year-long preparation and celebration of the 25th Anniversary of their presence in Cambodia. Starting with a Mass of gratitude last December 8, the Sisters, together with teachers and staff, representative students and past pupils, volunteers and co-workers gathered together at the Eucharistic Celebration presided by Fr. Roel Soto, SDB at the Sisters’ vocational training center in Tuol Kork where they started in 1992.

“Twenty-five years ago, this piece of land we are standing on was just a dirty, uncared for lot where vendors and people frequenting the opposite Moan-Ang Market would throw their wastes,” the Mass commentator said in the introduction, “but God had other plans for this place.  So He brought in four courageous Salesian Sisters from four corners of the world to start a beautiful mission here.“ They were to be the educators, mothers and sisters of poor girls and young women who, because of years of war, were deprived of education, work skills and moral formation. The rest of this beautiful mission story is history, as shown in a few video clips presented before the Mass.

Since it was also the solemnity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Fr. Roel spoke animatedly of the virtue of purity which he compared to a delicate crystal glass which must be handled with much care. The girls paid much attention as Fr. Roel used an interesting story-telling style which made the listeners imagine they were holding delicate pitchers and glasses. At the end of the Mass, a group of girls dressed as angels, came out from the rear and approached the altar to honor Our Blessed Mother with their beautiful dance.

Many of the past pupils who were beneficiaries of the initial years of the Sisters’ mission which was formally inaugurated on December 8, 1992 were present at the Mass and in the evening program which they had prepared for the Sisters as an act of gratitude. The colorful numbers of the program were put up mostly by the graduates of Tuol Kork, Teuk Thla, Battambang and Phum Chreh. The past pupils also prepared a simple dinner for all and donated rice and food items for the interns. They also collected cash as donation for the “a bigger celebration” for the real event next year.

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