July 13, 2018, San Fernando, Philippines – Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter, based in San Fernando, the Philippines, gathered June 30 to celebrate the Transfer of Leadership of Chapter Prioress to Sister Rosita Yaya, OP. Sister Rosita was elected in April 2018 to that position, succeeding Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, the first Chapter Prioress of the Remedies Chapter.
The Our Lady of Remedies Chapter had at one time been a separate congregation of Dominican Sisters. At the request of Bishop Emilio Cinense, the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1961 took on the formation of the first members of the Congregation based in the Philippines. The community became an independent congregation in 1972. In 2011, at the request of the Filipino Sisters, Our Lady of Remedies merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters and became a Mission Chapter within the Adrian Dominican Congregation. Sister Zenaida was elected as the first Chapter Prioress in 2012.
Sister Rosita saw her election as a “graced moment,” particularly because it had taken place on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. “Jesus is assuring me, ‘Do not be afraid. I am here with you. I am alive,’” she said. “With this assurance, we continue to live out our preaching mission, guided by the 2016 General Chapter Enactments, centered in the context of our Philippine situation.”
Sister Rosita hopes that the Sisters in her Chapter will remain “centered in the risen Christ” as they continue their pastoral ministry, “empowering our poor brothers and sisters, in becoming self-reliant communities, especially those we serve: the Aetas, the indigenous peoples; the street children; the families of victims of extra-judicial killings; those in family and life ministry; the people on the move; and migrant workers in Norway.”
As Chapter Prioress, she hopes to “explore possibilities of deepening our relationship with our North American Sisters,” and to work closely with the Prioress, General Council, and Leadership Council in implementing the General Chapter Enactments.
Sister Rosita was involved in leadership for the Remedies Congregation several times. She served on the Council from 1994 to 2000 and from 2004 to 2007. No stranger to Adrian, Michigan, she traveled there with her Congregation’s Council to discuss the possibility of the merger between the two Dominican Congregations. She also served as the Remedies Congregation’s Vocation Director and a Formator of Novices and Postulants.
At the time of her election in April, she was School Head of the Dominican School of Apalit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education with a major in guidance and counseling, both from the University of the Assumption in San Fernando, and a doctorate in education management from the University of St. Tomas in Manila.
From left, Sisters Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor; Sister Rosita Yaya, OP, newly elected Chapter Prioress; Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, outgoing Chapter Prioress; and Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor after the April 1, 2018, election of Sister Rosita.
March 8, 2018, Quezon City, Cubao, the Philippines – Sister Antonette Lumbang, OP, was among a group of Adrian Dominican Sisters in the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter to participate in the Second Annual Walk for Life February 24 to commemorate the peaceful people’s uprising.
The purpose of the walk was to “champion the value of life, which is threatened with prevailing issues in the country,” Sister Antonette explained. These issues include extrajudicial killings, part of the war on drugs launched by President Rodrigo Duterte shortly after his election in 2016. This campaign has resulted in an estimated 12,000 deaths of suspected drug dealers, drug users, and others, according to the 2018 World Report of Human Rights Watch. Other life issues include the proposed re-institution of the death penalty and the destruction of the environment, Sister Antonette said.
The Sisters left Pampanga, where many are stationed, at 2:45 a.m. on February 24 to participate in the 4:00 a.m. walk and a program of testimonies by several pro-life advocates from Catholic lay organizations. Sister Antonette was especially struck by the witness against the death penalty of a Filipina actress (Ms. Cherry Pie Picache) whose mother had been brutally murdered. The actress instead advocated for restorative justice and forgiveness. “Through prayer we can achieve this difficult Christian response,” Sister Antonette said. “The process demands radical love from us, love which we can give even to those who harmed or hurt us, following Jesus’ own radical love for us despite our sins.”
The event culminated in the celebration of the Eucharist with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as presider. During his homily, Cardinal Tagle warned the faithful to be vigilant, “not to be influenced by the prevailing culture of seeing everything, including human life, as a ‘commodity or thing’ which can be disposed of when no longer needed,” Sister Antonette said. “Cardinal Tagle’s call was for us to bring back the mentality of valuing every life as a gift from God, which therefore should be treasured.”
In the afternoon of the same day, Sisters participated in another Mass, community march and lighting of candles, organized by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) in the chapel of Stella Maris College in Quezon City. This entire event is a commemoration of the February 25,1986, EDSA Revolution and the role of the AMRSP in advocating for peace and justice since its founding in the 1970s during the martial law. “The AMRSP was not cowed during the Marcos dictatorship,” wrote Father Cielito R. Almazan, OFM, and Sister Regina Kuizon, RGS, co-chairpersons of AMRSP, in a letter to members. “It will not be cowed now. Despite the challenges we face in our country today, it will remain in the front lines in fighting injustice. … It will continue to lead and be in solidarity with the people, for the people.”
Feature photo: Participants in the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) Mass get a better view on a large screen.