By Anthony Barich
Two Perth-raised Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate based in Italy will tour WA this month to raise funds for crucial work assisting poverty-stricken children in Nigeria and Brazil.
The international women’s order run Saint Pio of Pietrelcina’s House of Charity in Nigeria and another house for children of the poor in Brazil.
The Nigerian house is also home to sufferers of Hansen’s Disease, commonly known as leprosy, and is the Sisters’ current major project.
The Nigerian house is only partly completed.
Sr Maria Brigida, who spent 12 years in Albany and Esperance and grew up in Perth, and Mother Maria Simona, the Mother Superior of the house in Nigeria, will visit Glendalough, Rockingham, Esperance, Albany, Yangebup, City Beach and Greenmount from May 16 to 31.
Speaking at Masses at each of the parishes, the Sisters will show a 20-minute DVD on their mission and speak of the project and their experiences.
They will also address Lions, Rotary, sports clubs and other key individuals to garner support for the projects. Sister Brigida said any offerings are welcome, no matter how small, as “a gesture of charity in favour of these children in Africa who, without your help and without the maternal presence of the Sisters, would remain abandoned in the solitude of poverty, ignorance and illness”.
“Knowing that God cannot be outdone in generosity”, they leave their humble request for funds in the hands of WA’s Catholics.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, a new branch of the Franciscan family, are based in Italy and other countries, including Western Australia; they now work in five continents.
The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are also in WA, and were made an Institute of Pontifical Rite in 1998.
The Sisters received Pontifical approval the same year, and have been working in Perth for the past 10 years.
Sr Brigida said that the “ideal religious apostolate” of the Franciscans of the Immaculate is to work for the maximum glory of God through the Immaculate (heart of Mary) and to make a major commitment to missionary work. The Institute lives poverty radically as St Francis of Assisi lived; for this reason they possess nothing personally or in community life, with no fixed income, relying totally on the Providence of God to sustain them in all their necessities.
The apostolate’s operations are born and carried forward with the help of benefactors.
The Sisters’ schedule:
July 16 – St Anthony’s Church Greenmount, 7.30pm.
May 17 – Holy Family Church Albany 6pm.
May 18 – St Joseph’s Church Albany 7.30am; Holy Family Church Albany 9.30am.
May 20 – St Bernadette’s Church Glendalough 10.30am.
May 21 – St Bernadette’s Glendalough 5.45pm.
May 24 – Our Lady Star of the Sea Esperance 6.30pm.
May 25 – Our Lady Star of the Sea Esperance 9am.
May 26 – Divine Mercy College Yangebup 9am-12pm.
May 27 – Kolbe College Rockingham 9am-12pm.
May 31 – Holy Spirit Church City Beach All Mass Times.