Good Samaritan Sisters celebrate 25 years in Kiribati

The Sisters of the Good Samaritan marked 25 years of presence and ministry in Kiribati recently, with a Mass and traditional community celebration, a Botaki, at South Tarawa.

The Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by Bishop Paul Mea MSC, the same bishop who originally invited the Good Samaritan Sisters to take up ministry in Kiribati to help with the educational and pastoral needs of the people of his diocese.

From small beginnings, with the arrival of just one sister, Veronica McCluskie, in 1991, there are today two communities of Good Samaritan Sisters, engaged in a variety of educational, pastoral and community development ministries in Kiribati.

These include running the Good Samaritan Early Childhood Learning Centre, teaching English at the local primary school, offering pastoral care to patients at the psychiatric hospital and those in prison, and supporting people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Religious vocations from Kiribati have also been rich over the 25 years. There are currently six professed i-Kiribati sisters, three novices studying in Australia, and a number of inquirers who are exploring their interest in Good Samaritan life.

Among the contingent of Good Samaritan sisters who travelled to Kiribati was Sister Sonia Wagner, whose association with Kiribati goes back even before 1991.

Sonia was asked by the Congregational Leader, Sister Helen Lombard, to travel to Kiribati in 1989 to assess the feasibility of the Good Samaritans responding to Bishop Mea’s repeated requests to establish a presence there.

“It was an amazing experience,” she recalled, “landing on this coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific and meeting all these wonderful people.”

Sonia said the 25th anniversary celebrations in Kiribati were a joyful, but emotional time.
“It was a time that gave me a real sense of the way that God has guided us and called us and also that there was a great sense of partnership in this,” she said.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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