In May, the month of Mary, it is fitting that we make time to celebrate our mothers. I know that mine was always busy managing our large family and keeping house. Looking back, I am amazed how she fit all that responsibility into only 24 hours each day! I am sure you will agree that we should be grateful year-round for all that our mothers do.
Motherhood is a universal experience shared by women around the world. Whether young or old, rich or poor, city dweller or rural inhabitant — a mother's life is one of seemingly endless challenges and responsibilities. Thanks to your steadfast support through the years, our Columban missionaries have borne witness to generations of women who have given so much of themselves to nurture others.
Today Sihyeon Bae, a Columban lay missionary, lives and works with aboriginal people in the mountainous region of Taiwan. Most of the village inhabitants are farmers who cultivate pomegranates and oranges, as well as a variety of vegetables that they sell in nearby markets. Sihyeon quickly learned that although both men and women in this close-knit community work together tending crops, it falls to the women alone to manage the family household and educate their children. With so many demands on their time, these women are often unable to attend Sunday church services. Yet, when they do find a moment to pray, they begin by offering thanksgiving and praise to God for their humble blessings. Such a simple act of faith that Sihyeon finds so inspiring.
Like all mothers, these village women love their children dearly. But they must also care for husbands and other family members. As these children grow, their educational needs soon outpace their mothers' own limited capabilities. With few opportunities for more advanced learning, many of these youngsters fall victim to the dangers of alcohol, smoking; and inappropriate relationships at a very young age; girls become pregnant while still in school and do not graduate. Young people, faced with the responsibility of caring for a new baby, see their hopes and dreams quashed or severely curtailed. During Sihyeon's first two years in Taiwan, only two female students made it to the university.
Despite all the heartache and hardship Sihyeon sees daily in her mission work, she finds great joy and satisfaction helping the people in this remote region of Taiwan. As she explains, …
Children and adolescents are God's gifts. They are our happiness and our hope. If we want them to grow and succeed in life, we have a responsibility and an obligation to help. Because I have a special interest in fostering children and adolescents, I hope to continue this mission well into the future. While helping adolescents to concentrate on their studies, I hope also to support them in their dreams for future success and for seeking mutual understanding and family support so that a systematic process of collaboration can be firmly established. I sincerely thank God for the privilege of such a life. God called me as His worker. According to His plan, He prepared me for the task. I believe He will always be with me.
In order for Sihyeon to continue this vital ministry to these mothers and their families, she needs both your spiritual and financial support.
Yes, Sihyeon, God will always be with you. With His Grace and love and with the support of faithful Columban benefactors, you will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of the people you serve.
As we celebrate all the mothers in our lives, we also celebrate those selfless individuals like Sihyeon who help to guide and nurture future generations.
Gratefully yours in Christ,
Fr. Tim Mulroy, Director
Director, U.S. Region
P.S. Below is a special card with a “Prayer for All Mothers” and ask you to join with me in giving thanks for mothers and acknowledging the many sacrifices that they make. Always, we ask God’s blessing on mothers everywhere.