Guided by the Four Stars
The 20 participants of the 2nd Session of the 4th Provincial Chapter of the Philippine-Taiwan-Hong Kong Province arrived safely at Maryridge Retreat Center in Tagaytay City on October 9, 2023. The Opening Mass at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon was presided over by Rev. Fr. Jose Aripio, SSP.
The 1st Day—October 10, started with a morning prayer followed by the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Fr. Micha Competente, SSP. In his homily, he invited the capitulars to be inspired by the example of Mary and Martha of Bethany: to put one’s heart in the task entrusted and to fulfill it with conviction which primarily flows from listening to the Word of the Master.
At 9:00 o’clock in the morning, the 20 Sister-Capitulars gathered at St. John Eudes Hall as the official venue of the chapter. The opening liturgy was solemnized with a Tagalog song Liwanag ng Aming Puso, invoking the Holy Spirit, as the capitulars in procession entered the session hall. The Gospel reading on the chapter’s theme from John 20:16-18 was read. After the Adsumus Sancte Spiritus prayer for the Synod on Synodality, petitions on Interculturality, Mission, Discernment and Integral and Ongoing Formation were particularly implored as four sisters individually enthroned the four stars with lighted candles at the center of the chapter assembly.
Sr. M. Anthony Basa, the Chapter President welcomed the delegates with her opening message. Then, Sr. M. Janice Golez, the Chapter Secretary called the capitulars one by one who confirmed their presence, signed the attendance list, and received their kits. The 20 capitulars are:
Sr. M. Anthony Basa (President)
Sr. M. Janice Golez (Secretary)
Sr. M. Magdalene Magallanes Sr. M. Luz Cabahug
Sr. M. Bernadette Martinez Sr. M. Angie Rhona Alvarez
Sr. M. Cecilia Payawal Sr. M. Victoria Victorino
Sr. M. Nimfa Ebora Sr. M. Aida Malonzo
Sr. M. Elizabeth Salido Sr. M. Virginia Velez
Sr. M. Francis Dy Sr. M. Kristine Legaspi
Sr. M. Christina Guadalquiver Sr. M. Celeste Parrilla
Sr. M. Cherylsalve Cualquira Sr. M. Carolina De Jesus
Sr. M. Celine Santiago Sr. M. Mercedes Pineda
Having verified the presence of the chapter members, Sr. M. Anthony officially opened the 2nd session of the 4th Provincial Chapter.
Sr. M. Cecilia Payawal, the Moderator of the day called on Sr. M. Nimfa Ebora to echo the content of the formative sessions and retreat during the 10th General Chapter. Through a video, Sr. M. Nimfa imparted the syntheses of the meditations given by Sr. M. Elena Bosetti, SJBP on the Women in the Gospels, and the illuminative talks of Fr. Bogus Zeman, SSP on The Complementarity in the Mission of the Pauline Family, and Fr. Mario Oscar Llanos, SDB on Integral Formation.
In the afternoon, Sr. M. Victoria Victorino presented the synthesis of the report of the former Superior General, Sr. M. Micaela Monetti. The flow of the presentation follows a.) the Five Calls—Fraternal Life, Youth Accompaniment, Toward a New Design, Proclamation of the New Frontiers, JPIC; b.) the Night of the Pandemic and of Global War; c.) Early in the Morning when it was still dark; d.) I have seen the Lord; and e.) In the Grace of the Centenary.
The report of Sr. M. Giovanna Colombo, the former Bursar about the Economic and Financial Realities of the Congregation (June 1, 2016 - December 31, 2021) was given by Sr. M. Anthony Basa. She gave us a glimpse of the global economic situation of the congregation. Feedbacks and insights were expressed by the chapter members in response to these reports.
By picking a star, each capitular was able to identify her group in view of the next day’s work. Four groups of five were formed and named after the Four Stars: Interculturality, Mission, Discernment and Integral and Ongoing Formation—the priorities which will serve as light for the province in identifying the courses of action they will actualize in the next six years.
After Sr. M. Cecilia has reviewed the schedule for the next day, the Chapter President closed the 1st day of the 2nd Session of the 4th Provincial Chapter at 6:05 in the evening.
The second day of the Provincial Chapter—October 11, focused on the drafting of the Courses of Action based on the 10th General Chapter's Final Document taking into consideration the reflections of the sisters synthesized in the Working Document.
The capitulars commemorated St. John XXIII during the Morning Prayer and the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Fr. Micha Competente, SSP. In his homily, he invited the assembly to check their disposition in praying. He stressed the importance of prayer as a relationship with God, our Father, who already knows His children’s needs.
The capitulars spent time for personal study and reflection on the Working Document for the Courses of Action. Then, they met with their respective groups to discern and identify the Courses of Action they intend to propose to the plenum assembly, which the PTH province will actualize in the next six years, guided by the stars of Interculturality, Mission, Discernment as a Lifestyle, and Integral and Ongoing Formation.
In the afternoon, the reading and approval of the minutes of the previous day, the plenary presentation of the group work followed. The reporters echoed to the assembly the fruit of their groups’ discernment on the courses of action for the particular star assigned to them.
Sr. M. Carolina de Jesus reported on the courses of action for the Star of Interculturality; Sr. M. Virginia Velez for the Star of the Mission; Sr. M. Elizabeth Salido for the Star of Discernment as Lifestyle, and Sr. M. Christina Guadalquiver for the Star of Integral and Ongoing Formation. An open forum and deliberation happened after every presentation of each reporter. The capitulars entrusted the rest of the work to the Redaction Committee.
Finally, after the moderator has reviewed the schedule for the next day, the Chapter President closed the 2nd day of the 2nd Session of the 4th Provincial Chapter.
The third day of the Provincial Chapter focused on the Finalization of the Courses of Action for the PTH Circumscription and Presentation and Approval of the Amendments to the PTH Statute.
To honor the patroness of the Diocese of Imus, the capitulars celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lady of Pillar during the Morning Prayer and in the Mass at 7:00am. They were graced with the presence of the Provincial Superior of the Society of St. Paul, Rev. Fr. Mario Sobrejuanite as the presider. In his homily, Fr. Mario led the assembly to reflect on God’s benevolence who always answers the prayers of His children but according to his purpose. He imparted the reasons why God also gives “no” for his answer: He knows what is good for us; it is not yet time; He in stores something better for us; and at times, because of our lack of faith.
After the capitulars spent time for personal study and reflection, they proceeded to the plenary presentation of the groups’ suggestions and modifications on the fruit of the work of the Redaction Committee for the Courses of Action followed. Sr. M. Nimfa Ebora reported for the Star of Interculturality; Sr. M. Aida Malonzo for the Star of the Mission; Sr. M. Elizabeth Salido for the Star of Discernment as Lifestyle, and Sr. M. Bernadette Martinez for the Star of Integral and Ongoing Formation.
In the afternoon, the Final Presentation of the Courses of Action and Approval of the Body took place. Sr. M. Nimfa Ebora read the second draft of the Courses of Action. An open forum was opened after every presentation for each Star. Then, the Courses of Action for all the Four Stars obtained the unanimous approval of the capitulars.
After the health break, the chapter assembly resumed the session with the Presentation of the Amendments to the PTH Statute prepared by the Ad hoc Committee for this purpose. On behalf of the committee, Sr. M. Victoria Victorino reported the fruit of their work. The capitulars deliberated upon the proposed modifications and after which they voted for approval.
Sr. M. Anthony Basa, the Chapter President and members thanked both the Redaction Committee for the Courses of Action and the Ad hoc Committee for the Review of the PTH Statute for the commendable works they have completed. Then, she officially closed the 3rd day.
The fourth and last day of the Provincial Chapter highlighted the updates shared by the Provincial Superior and the Councilor for Administration.
The capitulars started the day with a morning prayer. They gathered for the plenum at 8:30 in the morning. Before they proceeded to hear the updates on the province, Sr. M. Victoria Victorino explained the modifications of the articles of the PDDM Directory presented in the Final Document of the 10th General Chapter. After an open forum, some concerns raised by the capitulars were clarified.
Then, Sr. M. Magdalene Magallanes, the Provincial Councilor for Administration presented the updates concerning the economic situation of the PTH Province.
During the open forum, the capitulars asked questions which were answered and clarified by Sr. M. Magdalene. She assured the chapter members that that as of the moment, the financial status of the province is good enough to sustain the province for the next three years.
Sr. M. Anthony Basa, the Provincial Superior shared on the realities of the PTH Province especially on the condition of the sisters and the activities we anticipate in the province. She particularly shared about the incoming Pauline Family which will be hosted by the PDDM at the new Alberione House in Antipolo.
Sr. M. Mercedes Pineda to read Prot.437-2023, the letter of Sr. M. Bernardita Meraz Sotelo, the PDDM Superior General on the Consultation Process for the next Provincial Superior.
Sr. M. Anthony Basa also expressed her gratitude to the capitulars who have worked hard and well during the provincial chapter, fulfilling their particular tasks.
Likewise, the chapter assembly commended Sr. M. Anthony and the rest of the sisters in the Provincial Government for all their dedication and efforts for the good of the PTH Province.
Finally, Sr. M. Anthony Basa read her Closing Message and officially closed the 2nd Session of the 4th Provincial Chapter at 10:37 in the morning.
The day culminated with the Closing Mass presided over by Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP at 11:00am. In his homily, he reflected on the line from the day’s Gospel—"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” He highlighted that neutrality is actually absence of one’s conviction. Thus, he posted a challenge to the assembly: to make their presence felt and their Christian identity known to others, by standing for the truths of the Gospel lived by Jesus Himself.
A table fellowship followed after the Mass.
As we come to the close of the 2nd Session of our Provincial Chapter, we offer our deepest gratitude to God whose divine wisdom illuminated our journey. The grace of the Holy Spirit was poured upon us. He has sustained and guided our reflections, deliberations and dialogue.
Together, we stand united towards a deeper understanding of the “stars” that will guide our path for the next six years as women of the Gospel, disciples of Jesus Master.
Interculturality is our compass, reminding us of the rich tapestry of human diversity that surrounds us. It teaches us that unity in diversity is not merely an ideal, but a living reality that brings strength and resilience to our community and society, in synodality with the Church.
Integral formation is to illumine our path, guiding us to become better versions of ourselves as a Disciple of the Divine Master. Learning is a lifelong endeavor and personal growth is a continuous process nourishing and strengthening our mind, heart and will.
Discernment will help us navigate the complexity of our choices and its challenges. We are called to listen attentively to our inner voices, to seek the path that aligns our religious values and convictions.
Mission beckons us to extend our horizons beyond the walls of our religious community. It urges us to channel our collective energy and charism towards making a transformative impact on the world, sent as we are to live Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life.
As we go back to our respective communities, let us not only carry these fresh insights and lessons with us, but live and share them. We shall be ready and equipped to follow the “Star,” Jesus Master.
In conclusion, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to each and every one of you for your service in the various committees, active engagement, unwavering dedication, and thoughtful contributions to make our Chapter meaningful and fruitful. I also thank the sisters in the communities especially our elderly and sick sisters, and our young ones in formation who have journeyed with us through their prayers and sacrifices. Together, we have the power to shape a brighter future for our Congregation in the Church marked by the love and unity of the Triune God.
As an expression of love, joy and gratitude, I officially CLOSE the Second Session of the 4th Provincial Chapter!
Sr. M. Anthony E. Basa, PDDM
Chapter President/ PTH Provincial Superior