Solemn Profession of Filipina Carmelite in Belgium

By Sr. Mary Carmela OCD

Sr. Marie Paul Thérèse after her Solemn Profession

This story has one of its beginnings in the pages of MISYON, as was known before. Columban magazines have been a significant part of the vocation story of many, not all of them Columbans, such as Sr. Marie Paul Thérèse of Jesus the Good Shepherd. We thank God for that.

On Sunday October 1, 2017, the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the sun was shining brightly in Vilvoorde, Belgium. The Carmelite monastery church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation, was beautifully decorated with white flowers and filled with more than the usual Sunday attendance. The atmosphere was festive as Sr. Marie Paul Thérèse of Jesus the Good Shepherd, our youngest Sister, pronounced her perpetual vows in the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the Solemn Mass that began at 3pm.

Touches Of God

My first home visit to the Philippines

By Sister Mary Carmela OCD

Sister Mary Carmela last appeared in these pages in the September-October 2005 issue. The English version of the website of the Carmelite Monastery in Vilvoorde, Belgium, where she lives is

Vacation is also a mission’, was the gist of what dear Rev. Mother Ann Christi whispered to me before she gave me Holy Communion at dawn on Sunday, 21 May, reminding me of Mary Magdalene. After her encounter with the Risen Jesus early on Easter Sunday she ran to proclaim to others the Good News that indeed ‘He is alive!’ I should radiate Jesus to everyone He desired to send me.

World Youth Day

By Samuel Goyvaerts

Samuel Goyvaerts is a Belgian university student. He wrote in the September-October issue about playing the part of Magellan in a Filipino celebration in his town.

I won’t forget quickly the experience of going to Cologne last August with 1,300 other young people from Flanders, the Dutch(Flemish)-speaking part of Belgium, for World Youth Day. One, for example, welcomed 100 young people from the Canadian diocese that had hosted its young participants in WYD 2002 in Toronto.

‘Magellan’ Was A Belgian

By Samuel Goyvaerts 

Samuel Goyvaerts, a Belgian, is a university student. His father, Jan, also has an article in this issue. 

‘Hello! My name is Ferdinand Magellan. I’m the one who tried to sail around the world, the first westerner to set foot in thePhilippines.’ Or at least I played him in the Filipino festival in Vilvoorde, Belgium, in September last year. My real name is Samuel Goyvaerts. I’m 18 and live with my parents and five brothers and sisters near the Carmelite monastery in Vilvoorde.

My siblings and I had to play and dance the Sinulog. Sister Carmela OCD told us the history and taught us the dance. Correction: taught my brothers and sisters. I, as a ‘western intruder’ didn’t have to dance. The eldest of the family, I had to play the role of the conqueror of the Philippines. I had to enter the scene with binoculars, a sword and a possessive look in my eyes. For me that didn’t involve much adaptation. I just had to play an all-knowing westerner bringing ‘civilisation’ to a supposedly uncivilised country. At least that’s what was always taught to us. But watching the play and learning from the Sisters about the Philippines, I realised that we should learn from the Filipino people, too.

Faces Of The Other

By Father Raymund J Festin SVD

Fr Festin, from Odiongan, Romblon, learns some important lessons on being a missionary. We thankThe , published monthly by the Divine Word Missionaries in Ireland, for this article.

Angola is a hauntingly beautiful country lying along a stretch of Africa’s Atlantic shoreline. It is blessed with the choicest gifts of nature: fertile land, an ocean with a plentiful supply of fish, the air is sweet, tropical fruits abound and diamonds and oil flow like milk and honey. In the remote rural areas, time passes at a serene and soft rhythm, unperturbed by the din of war.

Sadly, Angola, formerly so idyllic, became for more than thirty years the scene of ruin and despair. After a long running struggle with the Portuguese, independence was finally won in 1975. Then, Angola’s liberation forces turned their arms against each other. The fledgling nation was ripped apart by a civil war that wrought untold suffering on her people. The many fertile fields, where the people sowed and gathered their harvest, became battlegrounds of terror and wastelands filled with landmines.

Trapped In Belgium

By Louis Marièn

Father Apolo de Guzman of the Diocese of Cabanatuan, chaplain to the Filipinos in the Archdiocese of Mechlin-Brussels, Belgium, sent this article. He is the brother of Father Efren de Guzman SVD and Sister Emma de Guzman ICM, both frequent contributors to Misyon.

She’s reduced to tears. She hasn’t seen her children for three years. Carina is a Filipino who worked as a housekeeper for the ambassador of an Asian country who locked her up in his house like a slave for six months. Washing, cleaning, cooking, ironing, from six in the morning to eleven at night. She was paid only €200 (a euro is worth about P70) per month while others were receiving around €500.

‘There are 5,000 Filipino migrant workers in Brussels. Seventy percent of them are women. And mistreatment is routine,’ says Father Apolo de Guzman, chaplain of the Filipino community. ‘The women in particular, and they are the majority, are sometimes the victims of exploitation. It’s not difficult for an employer to keep someone under their thumb. He can take away their identity card and work permit, and detain them. Housemaids have no way out. If they run away without papers, then they are here illegally.’

From The Philippines To Belgium

By Sr Mary Carmela OCD, Sr Bernadette Marie OCD and Sr Rose Ann OCD

Sister Mary Carmela went to Vilvoorde Carmel in Belgium from the Carmel in Cebu with Sister Bernadette Marie from Zamboanga Carmel and Sister Rose Ann from Manila Carmel. You can learn more about Vilvoorde Carmel at .

We three Filipino Carmelites are happy to be here in Vilvoorde! We are grateful that the Lord has enabled us to respond to His call and brought us here despite our unworthiness and limitations. We only believe that it’s the Lord who will do things for us and in us. So, with Our Blessed Mother Mary, we just have to cooperate and give our faith each day of our spiritual journey.