Columban Sisters in Burma / Myanmar
Columban Sisters in Burma:
June 6, 1947 until June 1966 …and then re-entry Myanmar in 2003
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After an absence of almost 40 years, there is once again a limited Columban Sisters’ presence in Myanmar. In 1966, the Sisters who had been working there for over 20 years were asked by the Government to leave the country. In the intervening years since then, the bond of friendship forged between the Kachin people of Northern Myanmar and the Columban Sisters has never been broken. Gradually, with the easing of some restrictions on visas to enter the country, the Columban Sisters are again involved in various services to the people of Myanmar.
An initial program of Basic Bible Seminars was initiated in the local parish communities and for priests and religious; added to that, the teaching of English to those preparing for priesthood and religious life. The Sisters are now fully inserted in life in the cities of Myitkynia and Mandalay.
In the former, they have been able to develop efficient Rural Health Programs and a Hospice for the Care of HIV and AIDS sufferers and their families. There is a strong focus on the Formation of Youth and the creating of facilities for them to meet and study. Another important ministry is the Conducting Formation and Spiritual Direction Courses for Priests and Sisters. These in turn form an extension of this same work back in their parishes and religious houses.
In the city of Mandalay, the focus is on:
- Inter-Faith Dialogue sharing in contemplative practice/meditation with Buddhist friends – a bridge and meeting point. “For both Buddhists and Christians, a new consciousness is being born with a greater appreciation of the Mystery from which all faiths flow; also a greater desire to work together for social transformation. This ministry is further developed through leading seminars on the importance of Inter-Faith Dialogue
- Educational Programs for Youth – e.g. Teaching of English
Education for Young Children whose parents are AIDS sufferers.
Through such ministries comes the awareness that a great difference can be made in the lives of many.
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