“IN GRATITUDE, WE GO FORTH!!”
Having one whole year preparation, we, the Local Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) celebrated our 75th Founding Anniversary at the Sacred heart Cathedral Parish Center, Kota Kinabalu on 13 August 2011.
Almost 3,000 people from the 3 Arch/dioceses in Sabah attended the celebration. Also present were Minister of Plantation Industries and commodities, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Coadjutor Archbishop John Wong, Bishop of the Diocese of Keningau, Rt. Rev. Datuk Cornelius Piong, Bishop of the Diocese of Sandakan, Rt. Rev. Julius Dusin Gitom, Rev Terry Burke MHM from St. Peter’s College, Kuching, who represented the Superior General of Mill Hill missionaries (MHM), England, Rev Fr Anthony Chantry, Rev Fr Carl Schafer OFM from Australia, who is the National Spiritual Assistant (Secular Franciscan Order- Oceania), Monsignor Primus Jouil, Bro. Datuk Charles O’Leary and Bro Peter Ng.
The presence of our late Co-Founder’s Sisters, Sr. Joan O’Gorman the immediate past Superior General of the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph (FMSJ), Sr. Germaine FMSJ (from England), Sr. Theodora FMSJ (Netherland), and Sr. Dorothy Ortega SFIC (Philippines) made the celebration even more meaningful and joyful.
The 10.00 am Thanksgiving Holy Mass celebrated by Archbishop Datuk John Lee and con-celebrated by three other Bishops and thirty-four priests ended with a standing ovation of the 121 members of the congregation headed by the Mother General, Sister Mary Grace Deosing.
The FSIC choir filled the Cathedral with their wonderful voices for some Latin Hymns.
Boarders from the Children’s Home Toboh, Tambunan shared their joy during the celebration. They also presented group and action songs during the reception at the Parish Center after the Eucharistic Celebration.
We are also grateful of the presence of our beloved Founder Mgr. August Wachter’s six family members from Austria and our friend Anita from Germany.
In his homily Archbishop reminded us, the FSIC Congregation to continue carrying out the will of God and serve the Lord completely and sincerely. He also urged us to renew our commitment with God, to go back to our inheritance and to let Jesus be the centre of our lives so that we will go forth to serve the people with new zeal and enthusiasm.
In her address, Mother General said the happy occasion was a golden opportunity for the congregation to express their gratitude to God for His abundant blessings. “Undoubtedly, it is due to His unconditional and faithful love that we have become what we are today”. She also expressed her appreciation to all those present for their love, support and help in any forms. She thanked especially Archbishop John Lee for his constant guidance, advice, words of wisdom and admonition in nurturing and strengthening the local congregation.
Mother General Sister Mary Grace Deosing
About 30 FSIC sisters presented their creative music using traditional musical instruments as an expression of thanksgiving to God for the gift of our Local Congregation.
Cake cutting ceremony to mark the 75th FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY
TRIBUTE TO FOUNDER
In the same celebration Lee launched a 130-page book on the Life of Right Rev Monsignor August Wachter, a Mill Hill Missionary of St. Joseph, who founded the FSIC congregation in 1936. This TRIBUTE TO OUR FOUNDER priced at RM50 each was compiled by a former Mother General, Sister Mary Cecilia Liew.
INVITATION TO BEGIN AGAIN
Saint Francis spoke these words at a time when most people already considered him a saint. In his mind, there was no plateau in life where he could feel he had “made it” and could coast into heaven from then on. He did not compare his love with that of other men but with that of Christ, hence he always saw an infinite expanse into which he could still go, becoming more and more like his Lord.
So it is with us, God has blessed us with His life and given us the gift of faith and faithfulness. Appropriately, we rejoice and thank God for all that has been given, for the many fruitful services and relationship. We realize that we are always beginners in the ways of God as Francis our father always did. Hence, this 75th founding anniversary reminds us to begin again, to make a new start and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us with ever-greater freedom.
Sr. Appollonia Gumpu, fsic