Jane Livesey describes her recent experiences in Manila

Jane Livesey describes her recent experiences in Manila

Jane Livesey, General Superior of the Congregatio Jesu, a congregation of religious sisters founded by Mary Ward, in the early 17th century, shares her recent experiences in Manila.

Her report includes tales of a hair-raising airport transfer, alongside reflection on the positive work being done by religious sisters in a small school, a community programme run by an NGO, and the opportunities provided by ATENEO University.

"It is good to know that we are one of the “drops in the ocean” of those trying to do something to support the people, whose cheerfulness and resilience in the fact of so much poverty and so little opportunity is extraordinary and edifying."

"The programmes being run by the community centre support over 1600 families. They include a weekly health clinic and home visits by the nurse, craft and baking classes for the women so that they can sell what they produce; a tiny co-op, which also runs a micro-financing co-operative bank; computer and other classes. The list is endless and I was hugely impressed by what is being done there."

She also shares fascinating insights into the way people live and the enormous challenges they face:

"The houses are generally one room and some people cook in that room and sell the food on the street, as many have to buy street food, as they cannot afford a cooker or the gas to cook on it."

"Some roads in the town are concrete and some just mud – becoming lethal when the rainy season comes. Flooding, including of the very rudimentary sewage system, is frequent."

Jane concludes that whilst Manila has a strong impact - "hot, humid, dirty, noisy, chaotic..." her lasting impression was of the cheerfulness and resilience of the people, who share a strong sense of faith:

"What a gift to have witnessed that and to know that in some small way the CJ is helping some of those whose lives are impoverished in so many ways. I am sure that our small presence and efforts are gladdening Mary Ward’s heart, once again in a part of the world of which she had probably not even heard."

Read Jane's full report on Manila

Note the following terms used in Jane's report:

IBVM: Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary

CJ: Congregation of Jesus