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Sisters Explore Catholic Social Teaching

BACK: L-R Rita Tarin FSM,Judith Alus SOLT, Maria Tiki FSM, Angeline Singiat RSM, Judith Marek RS, Joy John FSM, Veronica Kaupa AD, Jenny Kua’s FSM, Catherine Jambet RSM, Veronica Lokalyo RSM MIDDLE: L-R Bibiana Wilwil SpSs, Anna Pawia FMI, Juliana Montai RS, Benedicta Lelval Mary Lilian Lilian SND, Monika-Pia Kneubuhler FRONT: L-R Janet Andrew RSM, Zita Kambangle RS, Lynnette Soke FSM, Mathilda Paro RSM, Pauline Senengi RS, Anastasia Rengreng OLSH, Thecla Kapago FSM

Two weeks ago, 23 sisters in Papua New Guinea from around ten different congregations explored together the richness of Catholic Social Teaching in a course facilitated by Australian Sister, Anne McGuire RSM.

The course, ‘Living Justly- Catholic Social Teaching’ is part of the Diploma of Pastoral Ministry administered and sponsored by ISMAPNG in partnership with Divine Word University, Madang.

Sister Anne teaches two courses in the program and generally teaches twice a year in Papua New Guinea. She said this course traced the Scriptural underpinnings of justice and God’s concern for the poor and marginalised, and forms the basis of the Catholic Church’s Social Teaching from Rerum Novarum (1891) to Laudato Si (2015).

“I wanted to highlight the many themes within the Papal Encyclicals since 1891, such as the ‘dignity of the person’, ‘common good’, ‘dignity of work’, principles of participation, solidarity and subsidiarity, ‘integral human development’ and ‘care for our common home.’

“Utilising a philosophy inspired by Joseph Cardijn of ‘See, Judge, (Reflect) and Act’, I invited the Sisters to apply these themes to present day living both locally and globally”.
The Sisters spent 7 days undertaking the course, which was held in Wewak in January and Mt Hagen in July.

Sr Anne said, for her, one of the great joys of teaching this course is the many wonderful ‘wow moments’ which happen when sisters gain a new insight or see a new way of looking at a current element of their ministry. In Catholic Social Teaching the liberating God speaks to us all and this can enable a number of transformative moments throughout the course.

“As with a lot of courses, the teaching is not only confined to the classroom, with a growing sense of interconnectedness being fostered between the students. In speaking with one sister who said she did not have any resources to run youth programs within her parish, I was able to link her with another sister in the group who has a lot of experience in running basic Christian Communities in the Philippines.

“These moments are just as important as our classwork, which is why the course is called ‘Living Justly’, Sr Anne said.

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