Support the Rosa Mystica Medical Mission of ACIM-Asia in the Philippines
A moving letter from Fr. Karl Stehlin, Superior of the District of Asia
Singapore, December 31, 2014
Dear faithful, dear friends of the Rosa Mystica Mission,
As you know, it is my task to carry on the admirable spiritual work of Fr. Couture, who has been reassigned to Canada.
In this immense ocean of apostolate, my heart is wrung by the sight of the repeated disasters that have befallen the Philippines, one of the last truly Catholic countries in the world. It is battered by typhoon after typhoon. Our little communities are suffering as severely as the rest of the population. Above and beyond our attachment to Catholic Tradition, we have observed a true link of charity and mercy joining Europe and these countries of the Far East. The tsunamis ten years ago, typhoon Sendong in Cayagan de Oro (2010), the flooding in Manila (2012), and especially, in 2013, the destruction of the city of Tacloban on the island of Leyte by typhoon Haiyan on November 2nd, 2013, which killed 10,000 people.
Tacloban was the site of the Rosa Mystica medical mission in early 2014. Typhoon Hagupit (29 deaths) was expected to hit this same city. However, the island of Leyte is joined to its neighbour Samar by the viaduct San Juanico, approximately 2 ½ km long, and Samar has taken the brunt of it. The number of fatalities is limited thanks to warnings issued in good time. But I am horrified to learn that major flooding last night has destroyed the shelters and tents of the refugees, who were already in terrible distress, living practically without food since the harvests were destroyed and the coconut trees torn out three weeks ago by Hagupit. This new disaster is brought by typhoon Jangmi, locally known as Seniang. The death toll has already reached 59 in Catbalogan, the capital of Samar.
What a sad Christmas!
And the winds have also reached the island of Bohol, the Philippine Fatima, whose sanctuary was destroyed by Haiyan last year. We organize an annual pilgrimage each year to this place. Travelling from one disaster area to the next, I see in every place the admirable work done by Acim Asia and the Legion of Mary (of traditional observance) to help the population in distress.
The yearly Rosa Mystica mission establishes itself in a permanent manner offering medical assistance and help to those in distress. Treatments, the care of the seriously ill, the monitoring of chronic invalids, the rebuilding of homes, feeding the starving, surgeries… a drop of water in an ocean of misery. This year, since Haiyan struck, Tacloban has benefited from several European volunteers, including a young Irish doctor, Maire Flanagan. The dispensary has been set up in the chapel rebuilt last year during the Rosa Mystica mission by Fr. Daniels. A large number of patients have been taken on there, all the while maintaining the general permanent presence of ACIM in General Santos (island of Mindanao).
Three weeks ago a mission was sent from Tacloban to the province of San Mateo, located at the end of the viaduct. The major problem at the moment is the mud, which has spread everywhere and is isolating the villages. The mission was able to set up in a school (where five children were killed and three are missing).
On the other hand the Filipino army has not been able to offer protection to our volunteers in the area of the capital, Catbalogan. The Communist guerilla forces are taking advantage of the situation to make trouble and travel is dangerous. The expedition will take place on January 5th. The next Rosa Mystica mission will take place in Tacloban beginning in February. Together with Dr. Dickès and the devoted secretary of Acim-Asia, we will decide if an expedition will travel to Samar.
I would like to conclude by telling you how abundant the spiritual harvest is in this ocean of suffering. The mission is not an NGO, strictly speaking. It exists to bring the message of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Suffering brings us closer to God. How many Filipinos have been comforted by the message of the Gospel that is brought to them! Indeed, the number of our faithful has quadrupled on these islands in the last two years. It is through the Communion of Saints that this work of mercy is and will be sanctified in eternity. I bless you in the name of Jesus and of Mary His Mother.
Father Karl Stehlin SSPX Superior of the District of Asia
(Source : SSPX ASIA – DICI no. 308, dated January16, 2015)