My trip to Korea in June 2015

By Sr. Margaret Kollmer

I had the privilege of going back to the country I love again this year.

The occasion was the joint meetings of the International Council of Nurses Congress, the Korean Nurses Association Annual Meeting, and the Korean Association of Nurse Anesthetist Annual Meeting being held at the same time. The ICN attendees, all nurses, were from 139 countries around the world, and numbered over 17,000 members. If you remember, shortly before the meetings were to begin, South Korea had the occurrence of an incident of MERS infection, brought to Korea by a person from the Mid East. This caused, in the two weeks I was there, the quarantine of 7,000 people, and the deaths of 36 people out of the 186 who were stricken with the disease. For those of you who are unaware of this, MERS is a virus infection, caused by contact (not airborne), which does not respond to any known antibiotic treatment, and is quite serious. Luckily the measures taken to control this outbreak were efficient, and the disease was controlled.

The ICN had as its theme, ―Global Health, Global Nursing.‖ Dr. Margaret Chang, the National Director of the World Health Organization, gave the opening address. In it she commended Korea on its response to the crisis, which controlled the outbreak, preventing further spread of the disease throughout the country. She then went on to urge the nurses of all countries to become more involved and active in helping to write the laws regarding health affairs in their own countries. She said many countries are now beginning to organize health systems, and now is the time for the Nurses to take an active role in seeing that the laws are proper to meet the health needs of all peoples, especially the poor and those without a voice. It was most inspiring.

The Korean Nurse Anesthetists had one of the many booths at the ICN, which gave the history of our Association, as well as having two models to try different anesthesia technics- spinal/epidural anesthesia, as well as intubation. It was most impressive.

The other two meetings were held nearby and the Korean Nurses Association stressed the importance of working together.

The Korean Association of Nurse Anesthetists held an International seminar on the Nurse Anesthetist work globally. The opening address was given by Gye Seon Jeong, President of the KANA, currently professor at Chungnam University, Kwangju,Korea. I was asked to give the first lecture on the history of the Korean Association of Nurse Anesthetists, which I began so many years ago. The speakers were all CRNA‗s: Pascal Rod, of France; KimTae Min of Halla University, Korea; Hae Sang Yeun of Inchon, Korea; Jackie Rowles of Indiana now President of the IFNA (International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists): Yun Suk Jeon from Helsinki, Finland; and MiChong Rayborn from the US, all speaking on issues relevant to the NA around the world.

Needless to say, it was an eventful time, each day bringing new friends, meeting old acquaintances, and seeing the changes in Korean Nurse Anesthesia History which are relevant, challenging, and still a work in progress. I was most delighted to have been there, and the biggest gift was that I did not forget any of my Korean Language skills despite an absence of nearly three years from Korea. It was difficult to say goodbye…

Accompanying Migrants


By Abby Avelino

I thought I‘d write today about what hap-pened and whom I met throughout the day. I am grateful for all those people. I started my usual third Sunday schedule very early. We had a Baptism ceremony for two infants; one boy with an Afri-can father and Japanese mother. The African father was in immigration detention and was given a “karihoumen” (temporary re-lease) for a year. Although he is married to a Japanese woman he’s not sure whether their relationship will work out. He is in the process of getting a “spouse” visa but it takes time to get his papers processed.

Drawing and letter of Eliana (her photo below with Abby Avelino)
Drawing and letter of Eliana (her photo below with Abby Avelino)

drawing-2(The motivation for a number of interracial marriages is to obtain legal im-migration status). I pray that he gets his visa soon and he could live together peacefully with his wife and his son, D.

The other one-year old baby girl, R‘s parents are both Filipino. They are so happy that finally she got baptized. They don’t have much time to be together and they work hard in order to make a living for their two children. They seem a happy family.

After the Baptism ceremony, a Japanese woman came. Her mother died the week before. She shared that her mother’s funeral went well and appreciated all prayers and support re-ceived. Both of her parents suffered dementia; she is now caring for her elderly father. I do pray for her and all caregivers.

Few minutes after, another Filipino family came. Their daughter, Eliana is one of the altar servers and she‗s in my ‗first communion‘ preparation class. This family migrated to Japan because of her father’s job. They’re one of the few families that luckily settled here in Japan and with a stable job. We enjoy one another in class.

While I was talking with them, a girl from Marshall Islands came. She wants to be an altar server. She and her mother came as part of a diplomatic family. Her grandfather is the Ambassador to Japan from the Mar-shalls. I have known this family for quite some time. Mr. Kijiner was taught by Maryknoll Sisters in Marshalls when he was a young boy. I thought what a small world…now their grandchildren are in my catechism class.

During 12 noon mass, I met Maria, a Filipina with her two teenage sons. Their father was Japanese and died a few years ago. Maria is very worried about their future here in Japan. Her problem is very common for migrant mothers…dealing with her bi-cultural sons and Japanese in-laws. After mass, two Filipina came for a consultation. One is a single-mother and has difficulty dealing with her teenage daughter…a typical teenager who would like to be independent. M is concerned about her daughter‗s future and their relationship as a family.

These are a few of many stories that I hear every day and these are some difficult situations for every person. I work at St. Ignatius Church (Tokyo) doing pastoral ministry primarily with migrants/ immigrants from Philippines, Africa, Americas, Europe, Myanmar, and many more. I hear many stories….domestic violence prob-lems, visa problems, financial problems, spiritual hunger, homelessness, parenting problems, difficulty of caregiv-ing for the elderly, etc…It is a challenging ministry but I love accompanying the parishioners even just to listen to their stories and pay attention to their needs. We share our joys and hopes as we journey together as sisters and brothers in Christ.

4th Memorial of Japan’s Northeast Disaster

By Kathleen Reiley

Just wanted to let you know that so many people are still suffering in the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 triple disaster in the northeastern portion of Japan. Especially the ongoing radiation problem from the nuclear accident is causing hardship to the people.

Yesterday I met a woman in her 50‘s whose family lived only a few miles from the reactor. They had just finished building a new house when the nuclear accident occurred. They still have to repay their loan but, of course, can never live in their house again. The woman‘s husband was the president of a con-struction company and they lost everything because of the disaster. They evacuated to Yokohama, but because they are in their 50‘s it is very hard to find another job. Both had normal health before the disas-ter but suddenly she developed very high blood pressure and her husband is so depressed he never leaves their apartment. She told me that the older people get some kind of welfare assistance to live on and the younger people can find work but the ones in their middle age are caught in the middle.

All kinds of physical ailments have increased in Fukushima prefecture including thyroid cancer, glaucoma. The clean-up at the reactor is very complicated because of the excessive amount of contami-nated water that keeps accumulating. They store it in tanks but they are running out of storage containers so some of it has been released into the sea.

The contaminated soil is to be stored ‗temporarily‘ in some of the nearby towns. What can be done with the nuclear waste is still unknown. No permanent solution has yet been found.

Photo: Inter-religious prayer service held in Kamakura with Fr. Taka (middle) , parish priest in Yukinoshita Catholic church
Photo: Inter-religious prayer service held in Kamakura with Fr. Taka (middle) , parish priest in Yukinoshita Catholic church

In Tokyo life goes on as though there never was a tsunami or nuclear accident and so much money and energy is being poured into preparations for the 2020 ―Olympics.‖

On the positive side, in Kamakura where I live, the Buddhist, Shinto and Christian leaders have held a joint prayer every year on March 11 -alternating the place: shrine, temple, or church. Literally hundreds of people attend to pray for those who have died and for the well-being of the survivors.

This has helped us to deepen our under-standing of each other and look for ways to co-operate with each other in reaching out to the people in Tohoku (North–Eastern Japan).


Minnesota Born Mara Darleen Rutten to Become Maryknoll Sister

View the Official Press Release Here

Rutten, Mara 2014Maryknoll, NY  —  A growing passion and involvement in social justice issues, coupled with a vibrant faith and desire to help the poor, have led 43-year-old Mara Darleen Rutten to make a choice that is becoming increasingly rare.  On Sunday, August 23, 2015, the Austin, MN born native who later lived in Arizona, will become the newest Maryknoll Sister of St. Dominic at a Mass to be held at 10:30 a.m. at the congregation’s center in Ossining, NY.

A 2000 graduate of Arizona State University, Tempe, with a doctorate in philosophy, Ms. Rutten, who also holds a master’s degree from South Illinois Univeristy, Carbondale (1996), and a bachelor’s degree from University of Minnesota, Morris (1994), recently completed her candidacy as a Maryknoll Sister in Chicago, IL, where she attended Catholic Theological Union and completed other preparatory programs required by the congregation.

Mara first sensed a tug toward a life of service while an active member of Most Holy Trinity Parish, Tucson, AZ.  There she participated in “Just Faith,” a program which builds awareness of social justice issues in its participants and gives Catholics opportunities to meet the needs of struggling people in their local areas and beyond.  These experiences sparked Mara’s enthusiasm for mission work, leading her to contact the Maryknoll Sisters.

Partnering as a lay woman with Maryknoll Sisters, Mara worked with them among the poor and underprivileged in Cambodia. This association led her to seek membership in the congregation.  In her request to be considered, Mara wrote, “I have admired the Maryknoll Sisters since I was a little girl and first heard about them through the atrocities in El Salvador.  From that time forward, that is what I thought of when I thought about love: to go where you were needed but not always wanted, to refuse to abandon those whom you had come to love despite physical danger, and to serve God all the while. Through the Maryknoll family, I believe I have found the best avenue to give and receive love.”

Mara will receive her Chi-Ro ring, the sign of her commitment to God and Maryknoll Sisters which formalizes her entry into religious life, at the Mass on August 23. In the Fall, she will receive her mission cross and her first official mission assignment as a Maryknoll Sister overseas.

Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first US-based congregation of women religious dedicated to foreign mission. Working primarily among the poor and marginalized in 24 countries around the world, they now number 458 members from both the US and overseas.


The Life of Street Children in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

The Life of Street Children in Dar Es Salaam

Street children are seen by the community as hooligans or ruffians and are to be avoided. Some see vulnerable children as orphans the result of their parents misconduct as they died of HIV/AIDS. Consequently they are not given the opportunity to live and act as children. The vulnerable youth are always mistaken for petty thieves and people who cannot be trusted. Children over time begin to identify with the projections of the community losing in the process their self dignity. This in general affects their self esteem even after being reintegrated back into the community.

Recently a street child who was participating in class under a tree stole a tap from one man’s compound in order to sell it to get food. This boy is the product from a relationship between a father and daughter. From birth this boy was an outcast. He was sent far away to relatives who could not accept him. The community seemed to know his history and even in school he was ostracized. He felt he had no other option but to go to the streets to find his future. The old man suspected that the tap was stolen by a street boy. He was aware of a group of such children who gathered nearby under a large tree. Enraged at the loss of his water tap he found the group he had observed under the tree. He accused the teacher for keeping thieves. It took several days and a return visit by the “thief of his water tab” to soften his heart. The teacher made the first approach and explained the history of the boy who had taken his water tap. The boy was allowed to approach and ask forgiveness. The old man was so touched by the boy and his story that he found a place for the boys to sleep securely at night and gave them some small monies in exchange for chores around his compound. And we see here how whole communities need to be educated about the vulnerable children in their midst seeking only to survive. Communities when educated and informed on the plight of vulnerable children can make the children thrive.

How are we helping….

Sister Jean Pruitt, pictured above, founded The DogoDogo Centr nearly 25 years ago. Dogodogo’s vision is of a Tanzania in which all children are empowered to enjoy their basic rights to survival, development, protection and participation in society.

The word “Dogodogo” is translated from Swahili meaning “young ones”.



MOTIVATIONOur new mission in the very southeast corner of the South Sudan had just started a school where there had never been one for over 100 miles. The idea of going to school for little kids who were accustomed to running wild and free, chasing the sheep and goats, was entirely foreign to them. However, when they heard that if they went to this new thing the missioners had started they’d get 3 meals a day, that quickly changed things! Every morning I was delighted to see the little kindergarteners racing down the road, clutching their plastic plates close to their bodies. They couldn’t wait to get to school! That was MOTIVATION!

Sister Mary Ellen Manz

In love with life…and the transformative power of learning

In love with lifeby Julia Shideler

These days, most of my time is spent giving lessons at school or preparing for them! I am teaching 12th grade Biology and Geology at two local high schools and trying to improve their education with extra activities. I was very happy to read Pope Francis’ latest Encyclical, Laudato Si´, and discovered there is much I could pass on to my students as we delve into topics such as ecology, genetics, sustainable development, global climate change, our relationship with God and all creatures of the Earth. They enjoy learning from the Pope and I feel it’s giving them a new way to integrate their faith and relations to Earth.

On July 16, I coordinated a Geology Contest held between 3 local high schools. Our theme was inspired by the Pope’s message and so we made a banner which read, ‚In order to live in a better world, we want sustainable development . There was also Speech Contest, by which I was able to get a sense of my students’ own understanding and hopes. It was such a rewarding event—and the fruit of collaboration between many people! I was also able to meet new teachers and share my Geology lessons with them. I made contact with a local, Portuguese-run school and trust that our relationship will grow. Besides this, I enjoy the Peace and Leadership Seminars, leading Liturgies of the Word and spending time at home. It’s been a joy to have Juana—and I’m grateful for her presence. So, what else can I say? I love life and being on this journey! Peace and blessings to each of you.


An Update from East Timor

By Juana Encalada

This is almost my sixth month in Aileu, East Timor.

I have been attending a language program for 9 weeks and volunteering in my free time.

It has been a very good experience; it is helping me to understand a little bit more about the Timorese culture.

In my first weeks, I experienced culture shock and what a change from Cambodia. In any case, I am grateful for the experience and the insights I gained through that. I feel more adjusted and grounded in the reality in front of me.

I observed a lot of abuse against children and animals during my walks and stay in Dili. I’ve had a few occasions to witness verbal and physical abuse and I felt helpless that I could do nothing to help the children, but I also learned through one of my teachers that I should have done nothing since it is part of the culture and one of the traditional ways to educate children. It is/was hard!

The great news is that a number of organizations with the government are starting to respond to this problem.

I continue to enjoy my visits to rural areas with the mo-bile clinic and spending time with special needs children and young adults. It is so wonderful to see their faces of joy!

I was also asked to teach English to a group of young adults. They seem very motivated and enthusiastic in class. It is fun to be able to teach and refresh my knowledge of how I learned, too, and still do.

While Sr. Rosalva is on renewal I am accompanying a group of Catechists every other Saturday. It is wonderful to listen as they reflect on the readings. I am just a listener and enjoy seeing their interaction and sharing. Many of them ask about our sisters who spent time with them.

Winter has arrived here and the winds, too! I am trying to keep warm after so many years in a warm country!

It is wonderful to hear the wind sound, and at times it carries the voices of young people singing, laughing or talking. ~Juana~

History in the Making

history in the makingBy Susan Gubbins

This newsletter comes at a time of tranquility…both here in the country and in our personal lives. East Timor is at peace—I say that having lived through a period of occupation and its end with killing and burning, and a bit later with civil ‚war‛. I refer to this as history—but is it?

Fifteen years could be looked at as the present. In the year of 1999, we ended the occupation phase and I wonder just how many people in the world know where East Timor is!! So today I reflect on the present. Silently I say a prayer of gratitude for the BBC TV show on every hour ‘BBC BREAKING NEWS’. It has given me an education of the present. Now Libya is not just Gadhafy but a whole nation of people striving to be free and play a part in their country. The ‘Arab Spring’ for me was a real spring season, with freedom cries pushing up and bloom-ing. That was a moment that not only put those nations on the map but also showed unforgettable images of their people.

The struggle goes on, but thanks to the BBC I see peoples’ yearning and suffering. Now the Mideast for me is no longer vague but a sea of humanity. I went to high school during (what has been called) ‘the apathetic ‘50s’. There was Europe and the Americas in our lessons. Then WWII (which we called ‚The War‛) showed us The East—from a war perspective, of course. It was the US vs. USSR until its break-up. But, let’s not go down memory lane…

My point is gratitude to the BBC for catching me up on our world! We had The West and The East. Now we are filing in the middle. Yes BBC is BREAKING NEWS indeed!