September-October 2002

Mother Teresa Says No To Death Penalty

By John Dear SJ

In the spring of 1988, while I was teaching in Scranton, Philadelphia, the state officials announced that Pennsylvania would carry out its first execution in decades. People across the state, nearly all Christian, supported the scheduled murder. “What we need is someone like Mother Teresa to intervene for us,” I said to a friend, a monsignor who worked at the diocesan office. “Not many people know this,” he confided, “but I’ve led several annual retreats for her. I’m sure she would help.”

Saintly interventions

I called the office of the Governor, a widely respected Catholic, and asked if he would receive an appeal from Mother Teresa on behalf of the condemned man. One day before I was going to contact Mother Teresa, a stay of execution was granted. Over the next few years, I arranged Mother Teresa’s intervention on behalf of death row inmates on eight occasions. Each time, she eagerly offered her support and the prayers of her community in an effort to stop killing and end the death penalty.

Mission Is Alive And Well

By the Editor, Fr Niall O’Brien

One of the dreams I had when I was a student in St. Columban’s Seminary was a picture of myself on horse back riding over distant hills as I brought the Mass and the sacraments to people who had not had a priest for years. Dreams come true because that was exactly what I did and enjoyed so much in my first few years in the island of Negros in the Philippines. And indeed in some parts of the world, missionary priests are still doing precisely that, though in the island of Negros now young Filipino priests have taken over, roads have been built and the scene has quite changed.

In The Hills Of Peru

By Ariel Presbitero

The Fiesta of Señor de los Milagros is a very popular devotion in Peru. Every year, Peru is celebrating it like Lent so you could see people wearing purple, rich or poor, to commemorate this great devotion to a painting made by a black Peruvian slave. It is a painting of Jesus on the cross with the Blessed Mother, Mary and Mary Magdalene on both sides, God the Father on top of the cross with a dove, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. This painting survived the big earthquake inPeru and people believed that many were healed through this painting. They even said that it is still making miracles up to the present.

Land Of Islands

By Fr. Nilo Resco MSP

I am an MSP missionary in the Solomon Islands, a country of islands that lies in the southwestern part of the Pacific region. To get from one island to another, one has to brave the sea by boat or dinghy. Solomon Islands is inhabited by people called Melanesians. They used to be called “natives” before but the Legislative Assembly changed this to Islanders in 1974, as the word “natives” had colonial and racist overtones.

Letter To My Torturer

During the dictatorship of General Pinochet in Chile thousand of victims were tortured. But once Pinochet was arrested, Tito Tricot, a victim of the regime, got the courage to confront a man who had carried out Pinochet’s orders and he wrote him this letter.

I have often wondered what has happened to you. Maybe you take your grandchildren to the town square on Sunday to listen to the local band. Have you ever wondered how many children never got to know their parents because you killed them? I do not think so, because you were a raging animal when you beat me and forced me to take off my blindfold. “Don’t you ever forget my face,” you said, “because I am the one who is going to kill you.”

Friends of St. Francis

By Fr Francis Carey MSSC

St. Francis is the patron saint of animal lovers, after all he even preached to the birds. So MalateChurch in Manila holds a special blessing for animals on the Feast of St. Francis which gives Fr. Francis Carey the opportunity to talk about the wider issue of caring for the earth.

A Whole New World

Sr. Fidelis Ong PDDM has worked as a missionary in Taiwan for many years. In her first few months inTaiwan, Sr. Fidelis had a difficult time adjusting to the culture and the people, like any missionary. In the university where she studied the Mandarin language, she found the students to be indifferent. “I wanted to make friends with them but they hardly ever smiled,” said Sr. Fidelis.

Land Without Language Is No Land At All

By Ernie C. Turla

Our languages in the Philippines, except of course for Tagalog, have been on the verge of deterioration for the past half a century or so. Not because people don’t want to use them, but because they have been relegated to the background in the country’s vision to have a united people speaking a national language based on one of the major ones. What has happened is that, instead of uniting the peoples, this phrase of the Constitution even created an estrangement among the many ethnolinguistic groups (excluding the new generation who have been, according to some experts, brainwashed and with little hope for a reversal of attitude) who suddenly realized that their indigenous languages were being grossly neglected and on their way to possible extinction.

Back To The Philippines

By Fr Michael Cuddigan MSSC

I was the second of the four children, our eldest became a Poor Clare Colettine contemplative nun. Two boys, who went on to be a doctor and a lawyer, followed me. We were a close-knit family, doing many things together but not involved in any of the town social activities. But I could recall my mother always talking about the hungry children in Africa.

The value of frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Rosary and the Mass were very much part of my growing up. While going through secondary school, two other options were in my mind: ship’s radio officer or engineer. In my final year I decided that I wanted to become a priest, my way of expressing gratitude to God for all His love for me. Having a Columban uncle, Michael Cuddigan who was then serving as a Columban in Australia, was a deciding factor – though he never tried to influence me. My model of priesthood was very much that of the local priests. Television was not long in. I can’t say I had any clear idea what being a missionary was all about but I never had any attraction to serve at home, always abroad.

Could I Bring My Rubber Shoes?

By Sr Eva Calingo CM

“What? Eva is entering the convent? Carmelite?” These were just a few of the surprised reactions of my family and friends when they learned about my decision. I expected it. You see, I am the youngest in the family, which I think explains the independent and carefree streak in me. Above all, I loved wearing jeans and rubbers shoes.

There Is Much To Be Done

By Judge Ma. Nimfa Penaco-Sitaca

Taught for 18 years by Columban Fathers, Sisters and dedicated teachers at the ImmaculateConception College in Ozamiz City, Nimfa always believed in returning to God the blessings she has received from Him. As a member of the Legion of Mary and Couples for Christ, it has been her joy to bring Jesus and Mary to others and to speak of the wonderful things that God does for her.

Our Hideaway

It is our delight to introduce to you this new section in Misyon – Our Hideaway. A venue for the youth to express themselves and to share with our readers their mind, their heart and their soul. We are inviting you – students and young professionals – to drop by Our Hideaway and let us know how you are doing.


By Cathyne Alla Costales

Joy was a rape victim. I met her when I was in college. I was on my senior year of college then and she was a freshman. I first met her at the Negros Women’s Center where I was having my research for an article for our school paper. I was sitting on a couch in the lobby, too preoccupied with reading the materials I had gathered that I hardly noticed Joy sitting beside me. I gave her a smile seeing her in our school uniform, which I was not wearing at that time. Thinking that Joy was a cousin or daughter of one of the staff of Negros Women’s Center, I didn’t mind at all when she tried to take a peek at my materials. Before I knew it, Joy began telling me her story, and I found myself listening. There was a trace of innocence in every word that came out of Joy’s mouth – but it was coupled with distress. Her words were filled with horrors and nightmare of a young woman trapped and abused.

To Search is to find

We do not have the answers to every question – but the very asking of the question is the beginning of the answer. So why don’t you send us your questions and let us together find the answers to our questions.