Thailand – Servants of Immaculate Heart of Mary, 80 years in Southern Thailand

18 October 2018

(ANS - Surat Thani) – Almost half of the 92 SIHM Sisters (Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Thailand-Cambodia), founded by late Salesian Bishop Gaetano Passoti, are contributing to the building of Catholic communities and witnessing in the most southern part of Thailand, in Surat Thani diocese (Bishop Joseph Prathan, SDB).

SIHM is one of the Salesian Family groups founded in the East Asia-Oceania (EAO) Region, a religious congregation of diocesan right, with a strong missionary spirit, founded 80 years ago. Although there are 13 canonical communities in Thailand, the effective presence of the Sisters are many more, since a good number of them are living as frontier missionaries, groups of two Sisters in each place.

Their Thida Maepra School (6000 students) is probably the largest school of the Salesian Family in the East Asia-Oceania Region. Among the 300+ teachers, only 19 are Catholics and the percentage of students is not very far from the Thailand average of 0.1% among the total population. This past October 12-14, more than 700 teachers from all nine SIHM schools in Thailand gathered in this school for their annual seminar. This year's focus is on listening and accompaniment with a caring heart.

Servant Sisters are living with a missionary heart, and excel in the animating of Holy Childhood, the diocese-wide children's group, forming young Catholics for service and sharing of the Gospel. The recent annual camp of Surat Thani diocesan Holy Childhood, with 250 young people and some 30 animators, most from the Catholic schools and few parishes, is the best witness of their missionary zeal.

SIHM Sister are blessed with their first Khmer vocation, fruit of the first missionary presence in Cambodia, namely Battambang Vicariate in Siem Rap.

Among the six consecrated groups of Thailand's Salesian Family (SDB, FMA, DQM, SQM, SIHM and VDB), they are also blessed with the highest number of novices: four. One of their four novices tells us: “At the beginning of my vocation journey I was attracted by the missionary approach of Catholic priests and SIHM sisters who reached our village in the mountains and wished to become a priest (!). But I realized that's not possible. Why would I like to become a religious sister now? There is only one answer: I'm attracted by Jesus Christ!”

Source: AustraLasia


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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