Update from Myanmar
Our FCJ community in Myanmar is now three and a half years old. That means the child is growing up, is no longer crawling but is now up and running around the place. Her feet are firm and she has begun to explore other areas within her competence. Two of the ‘children’ are very fluent in speaking and reading Burmese. The slow learner among them is still babbling but is quite happy with her slow progress!
Agnes, Sisca and Marion were each involved in teaching English to a group of women for 14 weeks from the end of February to the end of June. The month of April is a holiday month in Myanmar so we did not have classes then. The group met two evenings a week for a 90 minute class. Generally speaking, the majority have not had much opportunity up to this point to attend English classes. Many other women availed of the opportunity to pursue a 14 week course of basic computer skills. Both groups agreed that apart from learning skills, they grew in confidence and they very much appreciated the opportunity to strengthen bonds with other women. Midway through the course we had a wonderful gathering of the group here at D’Houet House.
The main purpose was to celebrate women. About forty women gathered and we prayed together, cooked and ate together and then celebrated women through dance and song. It was a wonderful evening. At the end of the course, we joined again with MEWA (Myanmar Ecclesia of Women in Asia), under whose auspices the course is run, in celebrating the graduation of the women and the reception of their certificates. Again, we prayed, ate and danced! It is hoped that similar courses will run beginning in September 2012.
In July, we welcomed five young women from Pekhon Diocese to Yangon where they will follow a seven month course in Personal Development and Leadership Skills which will equip them for leading groups when they return home in March 2013. All their needs including accommodation, food, transport, personal needs and course needs are paid by the generosity of many generous sponsors.
We are also committed to the on-going spiritual development of young women. A monthly Sunday retreat is held in our community house. A number (ranging from three to thirteen) of young women appear for these occasions. This is not usual in Myanmar and it is not easy to get on-going commitment to such programmes.
Spiritual accompaniment is also provided for individuals whether for an individually guided retreat or personal occasional accompaniment.
Now that we have two aspirants from Myanmar, we are also committed to accompanying Maria and Dominica in their desire to get to know FCJ spirituality. This entails regular classes in both personal and spiritual development as well as familiarizing them with the FCJ Sisters and Companions in Mission also.
We also continue to support educational and development needs in poor areas in central Myanmar by providing educational resources, toilets, and wells to schools and villages.
Hospitality is an important part of our community ministry. We welcome many people to our community each year. Some come to join us for prayer and a meal, others for short stays of a few days and some for a month.
Our community is greatly enriched by all. Here we would like to express special thanks to Rosemary Breen who has come for a month each year since our arrival in January 2009. Rosemary is a very active companion and support to FCJ Myanmar who engages directly with the people during her time with us. We look forward to welcoming Rosemary again in January 2013.
Meanwhile, each of us continues with her regular ministry.
Sisca teaches English in Campion Institute which is run by the Jesuits.
Agnes teaches Indonesian in the Indonesian International School and works with Myanmar Ecclesia Women’s’ Association (MEWA).
Marion works in PGIE, a teacher training institute. We are enormously supported by enthusiastic co-workers who tirelessly raise funds in a myriad ways for projects such as these and follow through with their interest and concern from afar. We are very grateful for your support in so many ways and we remember you with appreciation and thanks.
(Article submitted by Marion Dooley fcJ, Yangon, Myanmar)