FMA[*] Cambodia Marks 25th Anniversary

The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (also known as Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco) celebrated the Silver (25th) Anniversary of their mission in Cambodia last 9th November 2017. The long-awaited, auspicious day was held at Don Bosco School, Teuk Thla, Phnom Penh.
The celebration began with the solemn Eucharistic celebration at 8.30 a.m. at the High School hall. Most Rev. Olivier Schmitthaeusler, the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, presided over the celebration along with Rev. Msgr. Enrique Figaredo, Apostolic Prefect of Battambang and Rev. Msgr. Antonysamy Susairaj, Apostolic Prefect of Kompong Cham. Rev. Fr. Filiberto Gonzalez, SDB General Councillor for Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Roel Soto SDB, the Provincial Delegate to Cambodia, along with other Salesians, and diocesan/religious priests who came from all over Cambodia, concelebrated the Holy Eucharist.

During the offertory procession, 25 representatives of the Educating Community, namely, the students, staff, parents, and past pupils offered 25 kinds of fruits, signifying the fruitfulness of the Sisters’ mission.
Also present were several Sisters from different religious orders. The Superior General of the FMA congregation, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, was represented by Sr. Runita Borja, Councillor in charge of FMA Youth Ministry, who came all the way from Rome. Sr. Sarah Garcia, an ex-Provincial of CMY Province, was also present. She is currently posted at the FMA Human Rights office in Geneva.
Salesian Sisters from the inter-provincial conference of CIAO also graced the occasion. There was the Provincial of East Timor-Indonesia, Sr. Alma Castagna; the Provincial of Thailand, Sr. Nipha Agnese Rangabpit; the Provincial of Vietnam, Sr. Vu thi Kim Lien Rosa and the ex-Provincial of Japan, Sr. Kenjo Sumie Teresina. Other Sisters from Thailand, Vietnam, Hongkong, Laos, East Timor and Myanmar, especially the ones who had been part of our mission in its earlier stages, also came. Visitors and benefactors from Japan, Australia, Singapore and Thailand were also present. The students, past pupils and staff warmly welcomed their former teachers and volunteers.

At 9.30 a.m. the guests were around the colorful exhibition entrance for its opening. The three Bishops, assisted by benefactors, cut the ribbon and the guests entered the room to view the exhibit. It was indeed a very artistic presentation of the Province: its roots and beginnings and its growth and development. The “Very Important Persons” were asked to sign the day’s guest book.
At 10.30. a.m. the cultural program began with the welcoming and ushering in of the guests into the spacious high school hall while the children’s band of Don Bosco School played music. Then the guests of honour were presented and honoured.  After the assembly had sung the Cambodian National Anthem, a blessing dance was performed by a group of Teuk Thla students and staff.
“Together”, a choreographed song, was presented by the Teuk Thla high school students. This was followed by the message of Sr. Runita Borja. She underscored the significance of the jubilee celebration as a call to remember the reason for which our Institute came to this blessed land: to provide an integral education for young people, especially girls, and so that they might do their part in building a society that promotes the culture of life. It was also a call to celebrate the life that continues to pulsate in the different communities and in the works where our Educating Communities are present.  And lastly, she pointed out that the jubilee was a call to look forward to the future, that is, the FMA presence in Cambodia to continue and multiply.
After the message, the students from the four schools of the Salesian Sisters in Cambodia (Tuol Kork, Teuk Thla, Battambang and Phum Chreh), presented their “Thanksgiving” in a creative way through dance, song, action and choreography.  The well-prepared and much applauded presentation expressed in a unique way the Sisters’ and their beneficiaries’ gratitude for all the blessings received all thorough these 25 years.
Then Sr. Jessica Salvaña, Provincial of CMY Province, further expressed words of gratitude to each one who contributed to the growth and development of the Province, to all who were the Sisters’ strength and support in all these years. She presented a souvenir and a certificate to each one as a token of appreciation.
The celebration concluded with an agape. It was still another beautiful moment to get together to share, thank and appreciate each other.
Silver years of living with, healing and helping rebuild a nation into a truly great people….and now celebrating how the educative charism and family spirit of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello have given new life and hope to young people in Cambodia.
The celebration was doubly significant because it coincides with the 140th Anniversary of the First Send-off of FMA Missionaries to America on 14th November 1877. This expansion “beyond the seas” took place just five years after the foundation of the Institute in Italy (1872).  Six Italian Sisters departed for Uruguay in South America.
Back in Cambodia, the year 2017 also marks the opening of a new FMA house in Phum Chreh, a depressed village in a marginalized area of the city. The new “presence” at Don Bosco School-Chreh is directly under the CMY Provincial and consists of three Sisters: Sr. Teresita Garcia (in-charge), Sr. Thippawan Teresa Parksuwan and Sr. Teresa Maria Tran Kim Phoung.
“All glory to God who builds the house and guards over it.”
-       Sr. Anna Rani,FMA and Sr. Malen Estacio,FMA

[*] FMA: “Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice” (Italian for “Daughters of Mary, Our Help”)

Copyright © 2013 Salesian Sisters in Cambodia and Myanmar and Blogger Templates - Anime OST.