Section title text:  Recent News.

Visit to Yangon, Myanmar May 27th – June 15th, 2008

At the house of Sr. Mary.On arrival in Yangon, Susan and Judith went straight to the house of Sr. Mary Grenough, a Maryknoll sister who had generously offered hospitality when Judith met her in January. She was the only person we had been able to make contact with in Yangon after the cyclone and she had encouraged us to continue with our original schedule.

Our plans to teach in Campion Language Institute were affected by the involvement of the Institute in the relief efforts for Cyclone Nargis. But as Mary had already introduced us to a team of people who were doing relief work and who wanted our help with documentation and preparing project proposals we were keen to do that instead. This team is headed by Fr. Cyril, the National Justice and Peace Director who is advised by the Catholic Relief Services country representative, and who works with a Buddhist/Christian Friendship group. Fr. Cyril had called for volunteers from all over the country to be trained to assess needs and organize relief aid to the victims in the devastated areas. Their assistance was simple bamboo housing, blankets, mosquito nets and food. Each night some of the field workers came to us and we transcribed their stories.

Effects of Cyclone Nargia.

Susan and Judith prepare their class.A song of thanks.When we visited Sr. Anne Shwe SJA, who is the Director of the formation programme for the Catholic Religious Conference of Myanmar, she requested that we teach what we had prepared for Campion Institute to their junior sisters and postulants who were having a six week programme.

We were happy to do this every afternoon for two weeks.

We also visited Archbishop Charles Bo, whom we thanked for inviting our sisters to the Diocese. The other religious communities we met during our stay were the Religious of Notre Dame of the Missions (RNDM), Columbans, Infant Jesus, Salesians and Little Brothers of St. Francis Xavier.

One of the sisters told us of a house that was available for renting, which led us into looking at a number of housing possibilities for the new community. We met with a Focolare Filipina who was just completing her third year of studying Burmese in the University of Foreign Language, so she gave us good advice for language learning.

We were very struck by the influence and dedication of the Buddhist monks on the people, for they are very active in this present disaster, with most victims seeking refuge in their monasteries. It was also impressive when we visited Shwe Dagon Pagoda and the Reclining Buddha, to see so many people praying and their great devotion to the rituals of their faith. To be with the people of Myanmar in this time of pain and suffering was a great privilege for us.

Susan Donohue fcJ and Judith Routier fcJ

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           by  every means in its power ...     (Marie Madeleine)