November-December 2004

Too Good To Be False

by Fr. Horacio de la Costa, SJ

Christmas is when we celebrate the unexpected -- it is the festival of surprise.

This is the night when shepherds wake to the song of angels; when the earth has a star for a satellite; when wise men go on a fool's errand, bringing gifts to a Prince they have not seen in a country they do not know.

Night of all nights

This is the night when one small donkey bears on his back the weight of the world's desire, and an ox plays host to the Lord of the heaven. This is the night we are told to seek our king not in a palace but a stable; and although we have stood here, year after year, as our fathers before us, the wonder has not faded nor will it ever fade; the wonder of that moment when we push open the little door, and enter, and entering find in the arms of a Mother who is a Virgin, a Baby who is God.

The Year Of Rice

The United Nations has designated 2004 as 'The International Year of the Rice' A spokesperson for the United Nations, Jacques Diouf, explained that ‘it is the staple food for more than half the world’s population … it is the key to the world’s food security.’ He further pointed out that as distinct from other major staple crops like wheat, which is mostly produced on mega-farms in the United States of America, Australia and Russia, more than 80 percent of the world’s rice is grown by small farmers.

Columban Sisters’ Silver Jubilarians

In the early 1970s the Columban Sisters began a formation program in the Philippines. Filipino Sisters before that trained overseas. We thank Sister Mary O’Dea SSC for contributing the stories of the vocations of three who came through the new program and who have celebrated their Silver Jubilee. You can learn more about the Columban Sisters at

Sister Tammy Saberon

Sr Tammy (2nd L-R with fellow Columban Sisters and companions in Myanmar

Peter Leonard: Man Of God

By Gonzalo R. Kaamino III

A pioneer missionary of the original Columban spirit, Father Peter Leonard came to the Philippines in the late 1950s, together with a group of the young, idealistic priests, all followers of the mission-vision of Frs John Blowick and Edward Galvin, founders of the Missionay Society of the St Columban. Earlier, the batch of Frs Hennessey, Corrigan, Chapman and the indefatigable, courageous and charismatic Patrick Cronin, paved the way for a much more enlivened missionary zeal. Later the group of Fr Sean Coyle further enriched the growth of the local church.

Mission Of Life Well Lived

By Sister Rosalie Mujar OSB

Sister Marissa Piramide OSB and Sister Rosalie Mujar OSB, both Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, write from different parts of Tanzania and from different perspectives about their experience of trying to adjust to a very different culture.

The former Head-mistress of Sisters’ Secondary Bellarmine Bernas OSB, went back to the Philippines in 1998 and I have been in the post from January 1999 up to the present. This is my last year so I’m trying to put everything in order before I leave in December. After nine consecutive years on the missions, three in Kalumburu, Western Australia and six here in Africa, I feel the need to go back again to the Philippines to refill myself spirituality, physically and professionally if I am to help on the school again.