From the end of August to the end of September 2018, Fr. Joseph Agostino, CM (international coordinator of the Vincentian Family Office) and Pamela Mantuhac (member of the Vincentian Family Office Advisory Committee for this region) visited 15 countries in which the Vincentian Family is serving the poor. Below is a brief overview of an experience that defies words and was more spectacular than pictures.
Part Three: Asia Pacific Island Nations
22 Branches of the Vincentian Family serve in the Philippines – more than in any other Asian nation. Their coordinating council was formed in 1987 and this visit provided them with an opportunity to re-examine its structure in order to better respond to today’s challenges. There are many higher education institutions sponsored by the VF here. A unique aspect of this visit was meeting with their administrators to share about what constitutes Vincentian education. The Vincentian Family has over 50,000 members in the Philippines. One Branch of the Family, the Missionary Sisters of the Poor of Christ, is headquartered here.
There are 20 Branches of the Vincentian Family working in this islands nation. Of these, 4 Branches of the Family are based here: the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, Mother of Good Succor, the Brothers of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Utrecht, and the 2 ALMA congregations – the Sisters of the Association of Lay Missionary Action and the Alma Putera. No coordinating council exists at the moment and the leadership of the Family was encouraged to find a creative way to establish one, especially given the geographic challenges that exist.
There are 6 Branches of the VF in Taiwan. In addition to the CM’s, DC’s, AIC, and SSVP, two groups are headquartered there – the Little Sisters of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Buenen Foundation. Our visit was cause for the creation of their first coordinating group, with much hope expressed for the continued growth of the Family there. In addition, there are other Vincentian Family Branches in mainland China. We hope to have more information on them in the not too distant future.
Our last stop in Asia was for the annual meeting of the Vincentian Family in Tokyo. The CM’s, DC’s, AIC, and SSVP serve there. In addition, a JMV group composed of Vietnamese migrants has just been formed. Our meeting with the national leaders afforded us an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a national council, with a named coordinator.
Fr. Joe Agostino, CM