The sister-jubilarians of the PDDM Philippine-Taiwan-Hong Kong Province concluded their retreat last March 13, 2020 with the Renewal of Vows within a Eucharistic celebration in the chapel of Don Bosco Retreat Center in Batulao, Batangas. These jubilarians were the first three Filipina sisters—Sr. M. Fides Reboldal, Sr. M. Charitas Reforeal and Sr. M. Speranza Alejandro who celebrate their 60th Anniversary of Religious Profession; the Golden (50th) Jubilarian Sr. M. Dela Paz Masaquel; the Ruby (40th) Jubilarians—Sr. M. Christian Jordan, Sr. M. Cecille Duque, Sr. M. Stephanie Tan, Sr. M. Lawrence Consulta and Sr. M. Pontian Makabuhay; and the Silver (25th) Jubilarians—Sr. M. Fatima Adriano and Sr. M. Carmeli Timbol.The Mass was presided by Rev. Fr. Gil Alinsangan, SSP, with Rev. Fr. René Lagaya, SDB as the homilist.

Prior to the retreat, the sisters had a two-day renewal seminar with topics on New Wine in New Wineskins (The Consecrated Life and its Ongoing Challenges since Vatican II to 2017) and Joy in Pain and Old Age. Then, a six-day retreat featuring themes relevant to consecrated life—prayer, discipleship, faith, love, the Vows, Sin and Conversion, and the season of Lent followed. Rev. Fr. René Lagaya, SDB accompanied them both as their seminar facilitator and retreat guide.

Their experience of “renewal and refinement” as they called it was even intensified by their expression of solidarity with the rest of humanity immersed in the COVID-19 phenomenon, which already reached the Philippines and rapidly spread during the week of their retreat.

Indeed, God works in mysterious ways. The worsening situation of the world prompted the sister-jubilarians together with Sr. M. Anthony Basa, Provincial Superior, to cancel the impending March 25 Jubilee Celebration. Instead, they opted for a simple yet meaningful celebration at the end of their retreat.

Two other Jubilarians who were not retreatants—Sr. M. Speranza Alejandro and Sr. M. Fatima Adriano came and completed the group present within the province. Only Sr. M. Lydia Aranda (40th Jubilarian) and Sr. M. Beatrice Israel (25th Jubilarian) who are presently missionaries in Rome were not able to join.

Members of the Provincial Council, few sisters representing some communities, and the Salesian priests Rev. Fr. Edwin Soliva and Rev. Fr. Temesgen Tekka also joined the celebration.

The day concluded with a meal, fellowship and opening of simple gifts sent beforehand by sisters from different communities.

Indeed, God made all things well. And, the sister-jubilarians pledged to continuously offer prayers and sacrifices for those affected by COVID-19 and the rest of the world, trusting that God will surely make things well.