Myanmar

The Story Of A Pig

By Sr Tammy Saberon SSC

Sister Tammy, from Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, helped to prepare the way for the return of the Columban Sisters (www.columbansisters.org) to Myanmar. They had been forced to leave in the early 1960s when the country was still known as Burma.

It was St Columban’s Day, 23 November 2001 in a small village


Pig for St Columban's Day

The Joy Of Christmas

By Sister Tammy Saberon SSC

Most of us spend Christmas at home with our family and friends.  But Sister Tammy has spent this special season these last two years far from home in Myanmar.  Here she tells us how she celebrated Christmas in this Buddhist country.

Myanmar, formerly Burma, is a Buddhist country, but Myitkyina (MIJ-in-awe) Diocese has the largest population of Catholics.  When I came here in 2001 I lived in the small village of Edin.  My first Christmas was quite different from what I was familiar with.  Carol singers went from house to house to raise funds, like at home, but I didn’t see any Christmas decorations in Catholic homes before or after Christmas.  The only ones to put them up were the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMMs), with whom I lived, who did so only three days before the feast.  The catechetical school’s chapel also had some decorations, including a crib.

In Faraway Burma, They Hear His Call

By Columban Naw Sang

It is no accident that the author of this article is named Columban. For many years before the war the Columban missionaries worked among the Kachins. Today foreign missions are not welcome but their message has flowered. And so this Kachin Catholic seminarian in Burma feels God spared his life so that he could serve others.

Don't Keep the Faith Share It!

By Sr. Mayang, MM

Isolation

What would it be like visiting a country and people whose contacts with the outside world and church had been cut off almost completely since the early 1960’s?
I traveled with a young lay woman from Myanmar whoa had stayed with us in the Philippines for some months. My focus was the Kachin people. Tibetan in origin, they were animist until recently. Their homeland is in Northern Myanmar Kachin State.

Kachin Celebrations

Fr. Owen O’ Leary reports on a happy reunion in Myanmar.

As we approached Myitkyina my mind went back 35 years to the night I first arrived there. Seven years later I said a dad farewell to Burma, today called Myanmar as the new regime began to force us out of the country. Now in 1994 a group of us Columbans who had formerly worked there were returning on a visit at the invitation of Bishop Paul Grawng. With Sr. Doreothea Byrne, now in Korea, Fr. Paddy Conneally from Australia, Michael Healy and Cyril Murphy from Japan and Mick Healy from London I was traveling back for the Episcopal ordination of Fr. Philip Za Hwang.

The Best Christmas I Ever Have

By: Fr. Jerry Kelleher

Fr. Jerry, a Columban Missionary worked in Burma till he was forced to leave by the government. Though on in years he continued as a missionary in Zambales, Philippines and was a wonderful presence. Here he tells of a beautiful return visit to Burma, now Myanmar, where he saw now the seed had grown. Fr. Jerry has died since he wrote this article. May he rest in peace and may his tireless and beautiful faith live in all of us. Read on:

Rangoon
“We are now approaching Rangoon International Airport. Please fasten your seatbelts.” My dream was finally dream coming true. As the jet ascended my hopes and expectations became almost unbearable. Finally the whirring jet stopped and I stepped on Burmese soil again after 13 long years.

Closed Door
Since the 1962 coup Burma had closed its doors to all the foreigners. As no more Columbans were allowed to enter the country our mission was forced to close in 1979. When I left after working there for 40 years I never thought I would see Burma again.

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