Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition (SJA) celebrated the 175th anniversary of the congregation’s arrival to Myanmar on March 22.
Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang of Kalay Diocese, Myanmar opened the ceremony by cutting the ribbon and blessed the shrine of St. Joseph as a monument of the occasion.
The thanksgiving jubilee Mass took place at 9 am (local time) in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kalay, Myanmar.
Before the end of the Mass, Sister Marie Therese Phe Ling Yah, provincial of the congregation, thanked all.
On this great occasion, the nuns’ renewal of vows, the silver and golden jubilee celebrants in the congregation were also included.
In his message, Archbishop Paul Tschang In Nam, Apostolic Nuncio to the country, congratulated and prayed for the sisters.
“It is my prayer that you may remain rooted in God and reality, remembering the past with gratitude, embracing challenges with hope and taking a risk together for a mission,” he said.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon Archdiocese, praised the nuns’ selfless service.
“God worked wonders through the dedicated Sisters empowering thousands of Burmese youth through quality education, solid value formation, and opening creative opportunities. Generations are indebted to your selfless service. You are part of the history of this land,” the cardinal said.
He continued, “The Church in Myanmar is proud of you, grateful for your glorious service, your missionary vigor. As times changed, your mission changed and extended to various dioceses: health and education, frontline evangelization, the relief of the unfortunate, for the orphans, HIV people with children, and human trafficking.”
In a message, Bishop Thang commended the honorable and faithful service of the SJA nuns.
“As bishop of Kalay, I would like to take this opportunity to personally commend all of the members of St. Joseph’s the Apparition for many years of honorable and faithful service to different areas of our diocese and to the people of those areas you serve,” he said.
“Congratulation again upon reaching this impressive milestone in your history, and best wishes for continued success in all of your future endeavors,” the prelate said.
The Golden Jubilee celebrant, Sister Alberta Khai Za Dim, recalled her journey as a nun.
“Yes, the road which I have chosen is a bit tough. Yet, I traveled to reach my destination, i.e., to enter into my religious vocation,” she said.
The nun expressed her feeling by quoting the words of St. Emilie de Vialar, “My only desire is to accomplish God’s will.”
“I am happy to say that, I do my best to accomplish the will of God through my apostolate fulfilling His mission and glad to be a member of SJA Sister,” she said.
St. Emilie founded the congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition in 1832. She sent the six pioneers to Myanmar via voyage and arrived at Mawlamyaing, the southern Myanmar, on June 17, 1847.
Their motto is “Devotedness unto Death.” Their mandate is “Go, with what you have and will receive, do all the good you can.”
They are serving in eight dioceses out of 16 dioceses of Myanmar.
In 2021, there are 232 native SJA sisters and 6 Filipina sisters. As many as 67 native sisters and one Filipina sister passed away.
There are 35 SJA convents, 5 centers for HIV/AIDS patients, 4 orphanages, 2 boarding houses for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) children, 3 homes for the aged, 4 convents, and 2 schools in the Philippines. (The communities in the Philippines belong to the SJA Province of Myanmar.)
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