By Sister Mary Patricia Driscoll
On Saturday afternoon, November 12, 2016, Sisters Paulette Shaunfield and Mary Patricia Driscoll had the wonderful privilege of joining with Mercy Sisters and staff from A Resource In Serving Equality (ARISE); in Alamo, Texas to celebrate the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston. ARISE provides alternative educational programs to help immigrant families integrate into life in the USA. Th e congregation has co-sponsored ARISE over many years. Sister Paulette and Sister Carolina Maria Ramos, R.I.P., spent many years ministering there. The staff at ARISE was so excited to visit with Sr. Paulette; they shared many stories and memories of their times together. In turn, Sr. Paulette was very impressed to see the great progress that has been made at ARISE.
It is incredible to see the leadership of so many women at this ministry. Sr. Ann Margaret Savant, R.I.P., who had been serving at Refugio del Rio Grande, Harlingen, Texas, had arranged with Fr. Amador Garza, rector at the shrine, to have a special Eucharist celebrated at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine to honor the Congregation on its Sesquicentennial celebration.
Regrettably, Sr. Ann Margaret did not live to see this dream come true; however, Fr. Amador made special mention of her during the Mass and showed on the screen the beautiful Villa de Matel chapel (at the motherhouse of our congregation), and shared with the people that it was there that he had celebrated the Funeral Mass of his good friend Sister Ann Margaret.
Without a doubt, the Mass was a special thanksgiving to God for His fidelity to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word during the past 150 years. We were privileged to be accompanied by Mercy Sisters, Staff from ARISE, and many pilgrims.
In his homily, Fr. Amador made reference to the readings which focused on fear, and how Jesus has come to liberate all of us from fear. Then he went on to explain about our first three Sisters who set aside their fears to come to Texas at the invitation of Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis.
They had a deep sense of purpose and a desire to serve those most in need and give praise to the Incarnate Word. Then he introduced us and asked us to come forward while he showed photos on the screen of CCVI Sisters serving in different countries.
Finally, he showed a photo on the screen of Sister Paulette with Sisters Stanislaus Mackey, Dermot Cahill and Ruth Kelly when they first set out for Guatemala in 1963. He thanked the congregation for their joyful service in Texas and beyond.
Following the Mass, we enjoyed a delicious meal accompanied with lively music and song at a Mexican restaurant. The staff at ARISE extended their deep appreciation to the congregation for the many years of support and service, and especially to all our Sisters who have worked in direct service there or have served on their board.
It was such a blessing to have them share this joyous occasion with us on our Sesquicentennial celebration. Sr. Paulette and I remembered in prayer each one of you, your families, CCVI Associates, CHRISTUS Associates, co-ministers, friends, benefactors and all those who have gone before us.