Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, SDB, celebrated the thanksgiving mass to mark the 125 years of the St. Francis Xavior congregation on February 28, in Hmaw Bi town, about 44 km (27 miles) north of Yangon.
“Christian hope knows the pain, suffering, tragedy, injustice in this world. But we try again and again to overcome all these. Although we are wounded, we try to move on the next morning,” said Cardinal Charles Bo.
Cardinal Bo encouraged the members to be faithful to their prayer life.
St. Francis Xavior congregation celebrated the event for the second time. The first celebration was held on February 2 in Pathein, Myanmar. The third one is planned in Myitkyina diocese, Kachin State, Myanmar.
Due to the political and Covid-19 crisis, the jubilee is celebrated in different locations for the convenience of the members of the congregation. The nuns are serving in other parts of the country.
The congregation released a jubilee magazine of 198 pages. The magazine depicts the historical legacy of the congregation, with messages from Pope Francis, bishops, and religious men and women.
The indigenous congregation of Sisters of St. Francis Xavior Congregation began on August 26, 1897, in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma).
“In time of the first world war, in time of internal revolution in the land, in time of second world war, the congregation has experienced so many losses and tragedies including the lives of some sisters,” said Sister Flora Joe, a member of the congregation.
Sr. Flora Joe says the congregation stood firm during suffering from cholera, plague and pandemic.
“The members of the congregation did not hide behind closed doors. Instead, the nuns selflessly have taken care of those suffering,” said Sr. Flora Joe.
“In 1965, many of the missionary schools were nationalized and among them were the schools run by the sisters. But the sisters have never given up. They rise from different kinds of hardships and keep on moving forward. Looking at the past, one can feel like an interesting and beautiful painting,” the nun said.
“The congregation vows to be alive as a brilliant and magnificent tree on which thousands of birds can take rest, and under its shade, many can take rest,” said sister Flora.
At this special event, the congregation remembered the founder Bishop Alexander Cardot, a French missionary who zealously made momentous efforts to develop the life of the ethnic people in Myanmar.
Out of 16 dioceses in Myanmar, Sisters of St Francis Xavior are serving in 13 Dioceses. There are 454 finally professed sisters and 60 with temporary vows. About 50 young girls are preparing to join the congregation.
The nuns have more than 100 convents in Myanmar. The sisters are also present in the mission areas of the Philippines, Italy, and Thailand.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.