September 9, 2016, Rome – Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), attended the September 4, 2016, canonization of Mother Teresa, as an official representative of the President Barack Obama.
“I’m very humbled to be asked by the President to represent him and the U.S. on this occasion,” Sister Donna said. “Mother Teresa did so much to call attention to the plight of the poorest of the poor, and now it is our responsibility to continue that ministry as we work to change the systems that have resulted in this suffering of the most vulnerable.”
Others in the U.S. presidential delegation were Carolyn Woo, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS); Kenneth Hackett, U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican; Hon. Suzanne George, Special Assistant to the President for National Security; and Lisa Monaco, Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security. The group traveled from Andrews Air Force Base on a military jet and were met by police escort at Ciampino Airport in Rome.
The Mass was celebrated by Pope Francis at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, where Sister Donna said the Presidential Delegation was seated in the diplomat section, on the level with the altar and across from cardinals and bishops.
“The liturgy was moving and quite beautiful, including Taize and Gregorian chant, all with the antiphonal singing between the choir and the people,” she said. The group was seated in the hot sun on a 95-degree day for the 90-minute canonization liturgy, she added.
Sister Donna was impressed by the energy of Pope Francis, who took time after the Canonization Liturgy to greet some of the bishops and then rode through the crowd of 120,000 people. “After that, he threw a pizza party for the homeless of Rome,” she noted.
Born in 1910 in what is now Skopje, Macedonia, Mother Teresa joined the Sisters of Loreto and, while teaching and later serving as principal in Calcutta, India, she felt the call to serve the sick, destitute, and dying of Calcutta. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in the Archdiocese of Calcutta and, until her death on September 5, 1997, directed her order and continued her service to those most in need.
Through the canonization process, the Catholic Church declares that Mother Teresa has lived a life of heroic virtue and is worthy of imitation and veneration by members of the universal Church.
Feature photo: Carolyn Woo (left), President of Catholic Relief Services, and Sister Donna Markham, OP, wait to board a military jet for Rome to attend the Canonization of Mother Teresa.
August 2, 2016, Mining, Pampanga, the Philippines – For years, the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ eco-farm in the village of Mining, Pampanga, has produced vegetables to improve the nutrition of the neighboring children. Now, the farm produces yet another crop – wind power to offer an alternative source of energy to the farm.
“The windmill is another way of implementing our [2016 General Chapter] Enactment on Care for the Earth, reducing our use of fossil fuel and using alternative energy like the wind,” said Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation’s Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in the Philippines. “The windmill pumps water from a deep well, using wind energy to irrigate the farm.”
Sister Zenaida said the windmill is situated in the section of the two-hectare property used to cultivate vegetables, which help feed children and others in the village community. Families are able to buy the produce at a reduced price to improve their nutrition.
Installation of the windmill on the farm was inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Sí: On Care for our Common Home, and in response to Enactment Two of the Dominican Sisters’ 2016 General Chapter: “Recognizing the violence against Earth community that places our common home in dire jeopardy and intensifies the suffering of people on the margins, future generations and all creation, we will sacrifice to mitigate significantly our impact on climate change and ecological degradation.”
The windmill and the Eco-Farm serve the community of the Dominican School of Angeles City, which serves 250 children, kindergarten to 10th grade, who could not otherwise attend school. The school is located “in the rural area of Angeles City, where the poor children are more vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking due to their economic situation and poverty,” Sister Zenaida said. She added that the school also lives out Enactment Three of General Chapter 2016, reaching out to people who are relegated to the margins.
The Remedies Mission Chapter was formerly a separate congregation of Dominican Sisters, based in the Archdiocese of San Fernando in the Philippines. The Remedies Congregation merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in November 2011 on the Feast of Our Lady of Remedies.