On May 9, 2017, newly ordained Columban Fr. Seok Jin-wook Antonio celebrated Mass for the first time at the Columban formation house in Seoul, South Korea. At that Mass he used the chalice which belonged to Bishop Tom Quinlan, one of the Columban pioneers in Korea. The chalice was a gift presented some 50 years ago by Pope Paul VI to Bishop Quinlan on the occasion of his golden jubilee.
Pope Francis has chosen the motto "Miserando atque eligendo," meaning lowly but chosen; literally in Latin "by having mercy, by choosing Him." I was reminded at a Lenten recollection facilitated by another Columban priest that only those who experienced real mercy will also be able to show so much mercy to others.
In February 2015, I was appointed vice-rector to the Columban formation program in Korea. Just like any journey, my journey into formation ministry has been a step into the unknown. Along the way everything seemed new and, as a result, I felt anxious and excited at the same time. One of the major challenges which I expected was trying to get used to living in community with our seminarians, our rector, and our staff.
Our story of the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban traditionally begins with the words, "It was because two people shared a vision and answered a similar call that the Missionary Sisters of St. Columban came to be." Those two people were Fr. John Blowick and Frances Moloney. The latter was one of the many women who found their hearts stirred by the appeal Fr. John Blowick was making in December 1917, around the time of the founding of the Maynooth Mission to China (Columban Fathers).
Anniversaries frequently have symbols associated with them like silver for 25 and gold for 50. Mindful that this year Columban missionaries celebrate 100 years of witnessing God's love through our relationships with people, especially those who are vulnerable and with the wounded Earth, I was curious what might represent an anniversary of 100 years.
As Columban missionaries celebrating our centennial, we look back with gratitude to God and to you, our benefactors, who have so generously supported us and our work for the past one hundred years. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our cofounders, Bishop Edward Galvin and Fr. John Blowick for their
The Missionary Society of St. Columban was founded in 1918 for evangelization in China. The first Columban Fathers went to China in 1920 and began work in Hanyang. The Columban Sisters began work in China in 1926.
By 1954 all Columbans had left China. Links between the Columbans and their former friends and people were difficult to maintain for many years. However, some were sustained.