Worldssps

Global Mission

Philippines South: Commitment and Solidarity with the Poor

Today we are returning to the Philippines to learn about the mission of the SSpS Sisters of the Trinity Province in Southern Philippines.

Amidst the challenges of natural disasters and the needs of the poor, especially the women and children and indigenous peoples, the SSpS missionaries are a presence striving to witness to solidarity with and commitment to the most vulnerable.

Sisters in the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan 2013
Sisters preparing materials for temporary shelter ready for distribution
Sisters visiting victims of Typhoon Odette 2021 in their temporary shelter
Sisters helping in distributing food to Typhoon Odette victims (2021)

The Philippines South Province (Trinity Province) covers two of the three major islands of the Philippines – Visayas and Mindanao.

The Visayas, or the Visayan Islands, situated in the central part of the Philippines, is where the provincial house is. In these islands, four of our communities are based.

In Cebu – Kasambagan, Cebu City – (Provincial House)

The entire province during provincial assemblies/chapters
Sisters in the Provincial House
Provincial Chapter 2023 - Theme: “Immersed in the Dance of the Trinity, Rekindling our Passion for Mission”

In Cebu – Don Pedro Cui, Cebu City: Pre-Novitiate Formation House

Aspirants 2020
Postulants 2023

In Cebu – Poog, Toledo City: Ecological Sustainability Farm

Assisted Students in Poog during their Lenten Recollection 2022

In Bohol: Holy Spirit School of Tagbilaran – Kinder to Grade 12

Indigenous People Ministry

In Mindanao, the southern part of the Philippine Archipelago, our two SSpS communities ministering to Indigenous Peoples are located.

In Malitbog, Bukidnon, the SSpS administer an Indigenous People (IP) school in Sitio Bayawa, and a dormitory for IP high school girls in the town proper.

Malitbog, Bukidnon
Mahanub, Surigao del Norte: Indigenous Peoples’ Apostolate

Looking Back at the Past

The Trinity Province treasures the significant presence of women during crucial times in our history.

We look back to the beginnings of our Christian Faith in the 16th century when the Spaniards landed on the island of Cebu. In April 14, 1521, the Chieftain of Cebu, Datu Humabon, and his wife were baptized.  Queen Juana was gifted with a small statue of Child Jesus – the image of the Santo Niño. Joyful at being baptized, Queen Juana danced in gratitude with the image of the Sto. Niño. Through the years, countless women have danced in gratitude this prayer-dance called: ‘Sinulog’ to honor the image of the Santo Nino.

 

First SSpS in the Visayas

Four centuries after, upon the invitation of Fr.  Gelacio Ramirez, three SSpS Sisters came to Bohol to work in his parish. Sr. Laeticia, Sr. Blasia, and Sr. Josaphata arrived in Tagbilaran on 16th October 1926.

 On the 1st of November of the same year, with the help of Fr. Ramirez, they opened a kindergarten with 19 enrollees. These pioneering women missionaries became ‘caretakers’ of the educational needs of the children.

SSpS Sisters dancing the SINULOG
HSST (Tagbilaran City-Old Site)

PHS has a special place for women and children in the various ministries that the sisters are engaged in, keeping in step with the SSpS General Chapters directions and priorities thus:

  • 1990 SSpS G.C. (General Chapter) – identified women, children, and youth as the ‘Poor’
  • 1996 SSpS G. C. – “to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in a RELEVANT WAY AS PROPHETIC WOMEN.”
Art lessons with Street children
  • 2002 – SSpS 12th General Chapter …called and sent to the most excluded ones in society… AS WOMEN FOR WOMEN
  • 2008 – 13th SSpS General Chapter -“What does our encounter with you, Risen Lord, mean for us today as Intercultural, Learning, and Authentic Witnesses as Women Disciples?”
  • 2014 – 14thC. TOWARD COMMUNION—WIDENING THE CIRCLE.

“Our task is to minister to everyone, especially those in the margins of society. Without neglecting the men, we focus on women and children in our outreach areas because they are the most affected. … Our major thrust are women, children, the IPs and Ecology.”

Education

We have only one school in the Trinity Province – the Holy Spirit School of Tagbilaran (HSST).

Holy Spirit School of Tagbilaran- New Campus in Dao District
Celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Holy Spirit School of Tagbilaran (HSST) main chapel

Our sisters in the Indigenous Peoples’ Apostolate are either directly engaged in formal or informal education of the IPs (Indigenous Peoples) in Mahanub – Surigao del Norte  and in Malitbog – Bukidnon.

School Building in Bayawa, Malitbog
Graduation in Bayawa during Pandemic time

Pastoral Ministry Among the Street People

The SSpS Sisters are engaged in ministry among the Urban Poor especially the Street children and Street dwellers: the apostolate in Balay Samaritano (a drop-in center for street children and elderly street dwellers) and the once-a-week sharing of food street dwellers we call the ANAWIM before and during and after the pandemic. 

Food Sharing for the “Anawim” before Pandemic
Home Visitation in the Housing Village the SVDs built for homeless people, dumpsite dwellers and street dwellers

Advocacy for Women and Children

In 1997, the SSpS Women Interacting for New Growth and Services (WINGS) for JPIC was launched as the development arm of the PHS province to focus on the promotion of women and children’s rights

Today, SSpS WINGS for JPIC redesigned our advocacy for women and children with focus on care for the caregivers. The caregivers we have identified are those who care for abused children and youth.

Session with Carers/Staff in a Home-Shelter for abused children and youth
SSpS – WINGS for JPIC - with children in an evacuation camp in the aftermath of the Earthquake 2013
Gender Sensitivity Sessions given to young students who later became peer advocates for the promotion of Children’s Rights
Peer Advocates wearing T-Shirts bearing Anti-Human Trafficking Slogans

Our voluntary counseling service in Kahupayan (a walk-in counseling center based in Sto. Rosario Parish, Cebu City) strengthens our collaboration in ministering to women and children in need.

Anti-trafficking information drive conducted in Cebu by the volunteers of Kahupayan Counselling Center using SineMobile in partnership with SSpS WINGS for JPIC.

Advocacy for Ecology and Wellness:

To live in harmony with creation is an advocacy we try to promote with our organic farming in Poog. We echo this advocacy in the HSST buildings which are environment-friendly. Attuned to the healing ways of nature, we also facilitate the empowerment of people to take care of their own health in a natural way.

Sisters planting vegetables in the convent grounds
Tending to young corn plants with farmer-neighbors in Poog

Among the Indigenous Peoples

We accompany the IP communities as they pursue their own development that is rooted in their Life and Culture.

A small hut constructed in the hills of Tiltillan—Mahanub, Surigao del Norte, meant to give visitors a glimpse of the Mamanwa culture through handicrafts/products .
In the mountains of Bayawa, Bukidnon, a House for Weaving (Balay Hablanan) was constructed to revive their cultural art of weaving. Several mothers come to weave and their products we help market.

Retreat–Giving/Spiritual Accompaniment

Our sisters have been invited to give retreats, and workshops on Spirituality and Consecrated Life to both male and female religious communities. One of the other sister journeys with formands of other congregations or members of the diocesan clergy.

Formation/Vocation-Mission Animation:

We welcome young ladies and professionals seeking more relevance/meaning in their life into our communities, inviting them to join us in our community prayers, in our missionary endeavors and in special celebrations such as our founding generation feast days. Newsletters as well as social media posts on our apostolates animate us and connect us with one another and with our mission companions. Our Student Sisters are themselves involved in our missionary endeavors.

Postulants 2023
Strategic Planning/Formation Team 2020
Session on Ecology with the Novices from different women congregations
Tertians participating in the International Tertianship Program in PHS

A Home that welcomes and prays

In the Provincial House, the healthy balance of prayer, solitude, and ministry welcomes the lay and encourages them to be our mission partners. Our elderly sisters become our prayer powerhouse, bringing the concerns of the province and the congregation to prayer.

The elderly sisters caring for each other
Sisters in the provincial house listening to an orientation of a sister on national elections

The SSpS Associates (SSpSA)

The SSpSAs are our mission companions, helping us share our Trinitarian Spirituality in different places whenever they can and wherever they are, in mission places where we are or where we have been.

SSpSAs in Loay, Bohol praying together

SCRFI – Sr. Clarette-Rosario Foundation Inc

This Foundation was created as a resource agency that helps in actualizing the Trinity Province’s Vision of upholding the dignity of each person, male and female, thus linking creation to a total communion of life. Included in the Board of Trustees are our SSpSAs as lay partners.

Networking, linkage and collaboration with lay partners, government organizations (GOs), Non-government Organizations (NGOs), lay and inter-faith communities, agencies, parishes, dioceses have enriched the Sisters’ missionary endeavors towards more relevant responses to the needs of the most vulnerable.

The 15th General Chapter continues to call us to ‘widen our tents’ so that everyone is welcome to sing with us melodies of compassion for the vulnerable, the neglected, the voiceless and the wounded Earth. Would that we listen together to songs of hope, joy and freedom as children of a Loving God.

Sr. Estela Parmisano, SSpS  &  Sr. Maria Elizabeth T. Ello SSpS

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