MAY 09


                                 Sr.Mary A Juelar, FI  was formally sent by Sr. Emelinda Falsis, FI, Provincial Superior of Indico Pacific Province as the third missionary of the Congregation to its new foundation in Flores, Indonesia last May 9, 2024, at 9:00 in the morning. The simple yet very touching mission-sending ceremony was held at Manresa Retreat House Chapel and was attended by about thirty sisters from MetroManila Community, Juniorate, and Asia Oriental Province. Sr. Mary will be the superior of the new community, comprised of two other Filipina sisters, Sr. Marie Sweet Candelaria, FI,  and Sr. Judith Campaniel, FI.

           In her short but very inspiring thank you speech, Sr. Mary happily shared that she was grateful to the Province for trusting her and sending her for the third time to the missions at age 70!  When she was 54, she was sent to Bangladesh for 7 years, and in 2018 for an 8-month mission to Myanmar. “Go, say yes or you will be like the prophet, Jonah” said her mother when she first left for the missions. She hardly understood her words then, but now, she did! Like the prophet Jonah, she found herself hesitant to go. She needed a “3-day inside the belly of the whale experience” to answer God’s call again.  Her reflections on a homily she heard from a famous Bishop finally gave her the courage to say yes again. He said, “Like the Magis, let us do these 5 points to follow Jesus:  Go the distance, do not be afraid to ask questions, take risks, look up to the stars for guidance, and take new paths”. Trying to realize these words in her life today, we could see in Sr. Mary’s smiles that indeed, “going to the missions is lovelier, the third time around!”

              The sisters joyfully embraced and congratulated Sr. Mary for her new mission after the ceremony and proceeded to the refectory to celebrate with her over a refreshing “ice cream, biscochos, and muffins” snacks. 

By Sister Marianita Tenoso, FI



Word of Thanks of Sr. Mary

     Sixteen years ago, I was 54 years old. Maria Inez Furtado the former Hijas de Jesus Superior General sent me to Bangladesh.  The first person who knew that assignment was my mother, and her first reaction was to tell me. “naku napakahirap ng country na yan.. (That country is very poor…) and she continued, “pero pwede ka na rin doon kasi sanay ka naman sa hirap” (But you can be there because you are used to poor situations). She added, “di naman kita pwedeng pigilan kasi baka magaya ka kay prophet Jonah,” (I also cannot say no because you might become like the prophet Jonah.)

It is only now that I understand the last statement of my mother.

Sometimes, when I think of my age, I do not feel enthusiastic about leaving, about going forth and setting out, about running away from God and going in the opposite direction like the prophet Jonah. Sometimes, like the reluctant prophet, we have yet to spend three nights in the belly of a whale to be able to hear God’s call and go where we are being sent. At the core of what it means to be detached gives me the freedom and helps me to be faithful to the mission.

Now that I am 70 years old, I will go to Indonesia tomorrow, thanking God above all else for His grace and blessings since it is through His Divine guidance that I have found my calling and purpose in serving others.  I trust in His plan for me as I start my mission in Indonesia.

I want to share with you my reflection on the homily of Bishop Ambo during the Feast of the Magi. At that time, “relate na relate ako sa homily nya” especially as I was preparing for my new mission. He said,

“If you want to be counted among the Magi, you should consider these five points: 1st -Be ready to go the distance. 2nd - Dare to ask questions. 3rd- Look up to the stars for guidance. 4th -Lay down your gifts. 5th -Dare to create new pathways.

Thinking of my new assignment to Indonesia, I ask myself these questions. Am I ready to go to distant places? Am I fit to go to Indonesia?  I was reflecting on the first point. If I am attached to my familiar grounds and no longer able to step out of my comfort zone going to Indonesia will not happen.

I thank the Lord. I am so blessed with so many gifts and I am very aware of my gifts. Gifts from God that I needed to share with others or else they will remain worthless.   God has gifted me with plenty only to be given to others. These gifts are not given to me personally but to be shared in the Congregation and the Church. Going to Indonesia is to lay down my gifts for the people there and part of this is to create more pathways to sustain my missionary spirit in bringing the good news to the people in Indonesia.

As I leave tomorrow, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I thank the Congregation and the Province of Indico-Pacific for the trust, particularly to Sr Lyn, the Provincial Superior, for my sisters in Metro Manila community, for my sisters in this compound, for my co-postulants’ batch ‘82, “kumpleto kami lahat ngayon - Cecil, Nitz and Emma with our postulant in-charge, Sr Fe Linterna and Novice mistress Sr Florencia Constantino. I am so proud of you dear sisters.  I will carry with me your love, your kindness, and the memories that we have shared. Your support has been a source of strength for me. I will hold each of you close to my heart as I start my missionary journey in Indonesia.

Thank you so much and please help me pray so that I may always look up to the stars for guidance since I am simply an instrument in God’s hands. Maraming salamat.

Mary A. Juelar, May 9, 2024 at Manresa Retreat House