January 10, 2017, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines – The Adrian Dominican Sisters are starting the new year with an eye to the future - specifically, to the future of more than 200 students and their future classmates at Dominican School of Angeles City.
The school, located in the impoverished Barangay (village) of Mining, Angeles City, opened six years ago with three kindergarten students. Today, the need and desire for a Catholic school in the area is evident as the enrollment now stands at 238 students in grades kindergarten through 10.
With its rapidly growing enrollment and the need to add 11th and 12th grades, an additional three-story building is being constructed to house six more classrooms and spaces large enough for school Masses and physical education.
The estimated cost of the project is $1.2 million.
Situated near the Clark Freeport Zone – the area surrounding the former U.S. Clark Airforce Base – the school was opened by the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies, based in San Fernando, Pampanga, shortly before they merged with the Adrian Dominican Sisters in November 2011. The area has been dubbed as the “entertainment capital” of the Philippines, and its children are at risk of becoming involved in the sex trade or worse, human trafficking.
“The school aims not only to provide the children with an excellent, affordable, faith-filled education, but also to instill in them the social justice values of the Catholic Church,” explained Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter. With their education at Dominican School of Angeles City, the students can become “bearers of a faith tradition that, as Pope Francis reminds us, upholds the dignity of every person, recognizes our integral connectedness to the whole Earth community, and seeks the common good for all God’s people.”
Sister Arsenia Marie Puno, OP, guidance counselor at the school, spoke with wonder at the ability of the children’s parents to pay the minimal tuition that the school charges. The children come from low-income families, with parents who hold down humble jobs: carpenters, welders, marketplace vendors, and public transportation drivers. In addition, there is a lack of resources such as clean water.
“They are happy families in the midst of a difficult situation,” Sister Arsenia said. “It is amazing how, with their deep faith in God, they are able to send their children to school with so many challenges in life.”
These challenges make the Dominican School of Angeles City even more vital for the future of the children and their community. Along with academic training, high school students receive vocational training in areas such as eco-farming, care-giving to the elderly and to children, and computer technology.
Part of the school’s land has also been dedicated as an ecologically sustainable farm. Local farmers are hired to work the land, and school parents can buy the produce at a reduced price. In addition, a windmill provides energy to pump water from a well to irrigate the farm and to power a filtration system so water can be bottled and sold to community members.
“We have great hopes for the Dominican School of Angeles City and the impact it can have in helping the people of Mining to build a resilient and sustainable community for generations to come,” Sister Zenaida said.
In spite of their strong faith in God, their dedication, and their resiliency, the families of the Dominican School of Angeles City still need help from their neighbors in the United States. “We are with high hope that you are able to lend us your helping hands,” said Sister Arsenia. “Please help us build a school where more students will be able to attain their dream of a Catholic education in the K-12 program. Please help us with your financial gifts from God for this sacred endeavor.”
To make a donation, click here or contact the Adrian Dominican Sisters Office of Development at 517-266-3480 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 1, 2016, Adrian, Michigan — Five Adrian Dominican Sisters are attending the Jubilee International Congress on the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights: Past, Present, and Future. The Congress begins Thursday, September 1 and concludes Sunday, September 4 in Salamanca, Spain, at the Convent of San Esteban Protomártir.
Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress, was invited to facilitate one of the workshops and to draft a policy paper that will form the basis for action by Dominican chapters, provinces, and congregations worldwide. Sister Pat's paper expands on human rights to include the rights of all of creation, drawing on her experience as founding director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, and on Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical, Laudato Sí.
The General Council asked two of our Sisters who work with children from displaced communities to participate: Basilia De la Cruz, OP, principal of Espíritu Santo Fe y Alegría School in Baní, Dominican Republic; and Jolyn "Jules" Dungo, OP, who ministers with the indigenous Aeta people at Villa Maria, Porac, Pampanga, in the Philippines.
Also invited to the Congress are Luisa Campos, OP, champion of human rights and founding director of Centro Antonio Montesino in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Durstyne Farnan, OP, past Justice and Peace Promoter for North America, currently ministering in peace and justice with the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The international Congress is intended for Dominicans who work in human rights and social justice ministry, academics and scholars specializing in human rights, leaders and faculty members of Dominican universities, those who work with indigenous peoples, and experts in international law.
The historic convent is the site of the School of Salamanca, where Dominican Friar Francisco de Vitoria, informed by the experience of Dominicans such as Antonio de Montesinos and Bartolomé de las Casas, articulated the beginnings of international human rights law by challenging the harsh treatment of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Congress is intended to be part of the "Salamanca Process" initiated by the Dominican men at their last General Chapter to more closely link study and intellectual life with ministry. It will begin on Thursday evening with a keynote address by Bruno Cadoré, OP, Master of the Order.
Feature photo: Clockwise, from top left, Sisters Luisa Campos, OP, Durstyne Farnan, OP, Jolyn "Jules" Dungo, OP, and Basilia De la Cruz, OP, are all attending the Jubilee International Congress on the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights: Past, Present, and Future with Sister Pat Siemen, OP, Prioress.