Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In Thangsgiving for the Hundred Years

"Thanksgiving and promise is the theme for the 100th anniversary celebration of the Maryknoll Sisters. Looking back on a history of suffering endured by the Korean people, we can be thankful that so many Maryknoll Sisters have walked with those in pain, and have experienced the love of God. We look forward to embracing the future with hope."

These are the words introducing an interview in the Peace Weekly with Sister Janice McLaughlin, superior of the Maryknoll Sisters, who is here to celebrate their 100 years as a congregation and 88 years in Korea. Sister Janice worked in Africa for 40 years and has written, Ostriches, Dung Beetles, and Other Spiritual Masters, now translated into Korean.The book is a compilation of the wisdom she has gained from the animal and plant life she found in Africa, and from her meditations on life.

Sister thanks all those who have been  part of the work of the sisters during the past 88 years in Korea.  From Pyongyang in North Korea to many areas of the country here in the South, there have been many who have participated in the work. To all she expresses her thanks, and hopes that many will discover the love of God in this journey of the sisters.

The Korean Church, which has grown in maturity so that they no longer need the  help of foreign missionary sisters, is now sending the sisters to Africa and South America. A group of lay people with the charism  of the Sisters, the Maryknoll Affiliates, will continue their work in Korea. Sister Janice gives thanks for the love shown the sisters over the many years they have been in Korea.

The Maryknoll Sisters were instrumental in starting  the first Korean congregation of sisters: Our Lady of  Perpetual Help Sisters, now grown into a community larger than the Maryknoll Sisters, for which the Maryknollers are very proud. She also visited the older sisters of the community who worked in the North, and thanked them.

Sister Janice met with the Maryknoll Sisters recently  planning for  their next chapter in 2014, at which time they will be meeting to plan for the future. This will include, she says, working with environment issues, further efforts for peace, helping immigrants adapt to the new culture, and relieving the suffering of women in the sex trade.

The sisters have left behind many who have been touched by their work. Maryknoll Affiliates  have been influenced by the sisters and will continue the work with the alienated in society. The Korean Maryknoll sisters who are now working in other parts of the world are bringing the love of Christ to people not as fortunate in having the maturity in the faith that Korea has achieved. This attraction to the Maryknoll charism and the Maryknoll Sisters will continue in the years ahead.