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.
August 2, 2016, Rome – Not everybody has the opportunity to speak to Pope Francis, much less to receive a hug and a humble request for prayers from him. But Adrian Dominican Sister Joanne “Jodie” Screes, OP, had just such a personal encounter with Pope Francis this summer when she visited Rome with a long-time friend.
“I felt like I was in another state – I was so mesmerized by his presence,” Sister Jodie said in an interview in Adrian, Michigan.
Sister Jodie was invited in December 2015 – shortly after the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy – to visit Rome with a long-time friend, Victor Riley, whose late wife had attended school with Sister Jodie. Victor had been invited to Rome as a special guest after making a generous donation to the Vatican Pontifical Office of Evangelization for the Year of Mercy. The exact nature of the visit to Rome was kept a secret from Jodie until closer to the June 10-17, 2016, visit.
Sister Jodie and Victor were part of a crowd of about 30,000 who attended Pope Francis’ blessing on Wednesday, June 15. They were seated in the fourth row of a section designated for most people in attendance – behind a special section for cardinals, bishops, and other clergy. The focus for that day was on people who are poor and sick.
Sister Jodie recalled the moment after the formal blessing, when Pope Francis greeted a large group of soldiers, then came to her row. She showed Pope Francis a note that she had written in English, and was translated into Spanish by Sister Rose Ann Schlitt, OP: “Dear Pope Francis, I am a Dominican Sister from Adrian, Michigan. Our Sisters pray for you daily. In their name, I want to thank you for your pastoral heart. May I have a hug to take back…”
When Pope Francis saw the note, he picked it up, read it, and said in English, “Of course.”
During the hug, “he whispered in my ear, ‘Pray for me. My job is not easy.’ And then he moved back and waited for my answer,” Sister Jodie said.
Sister Jodie said she was mesmerized by his presence and by the hug. She compared the experience to having a vision. “You’re so stunned by the presence,” she said. “And then, the incredible weight on his shoulders. I didn’t feel alone. So many asked for prayers from so many Sisters before I went, and knowing that my plea was in their name and my gratitude was in their name, it was just a fullness.”
Other highlights of Sister Jodie’s visit included:
Feature photo: Sister Jodie Screes, OP, right, with Sister Hikma