Sursat Thani, Thailand, 11 October 2018 -- Almost half of the 92 SIHM Sisters (Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Thailand-Cambodia), founded by late Salesian Bishop Gaetano Passoti (+1950), 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 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.
Thida Maepra School (6000 students) is probably the largest school of the Salesian Family in our Region, among the 300+ teachers only 19 are Catholics and also the percentage of students is not very far from the Thailand average of 0.1% among the total population. Just in these days (October 12-14) more than 700 teachers from all nine SIHM schools in Thailand are 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 also excel in the animating of Holy Childhood, the diocesewide children's group, forming young Catholics for service and sharing of the Gospel. The recent annual camp of Surat Thani diocesan Holy Childhood (250 young people with some 30 animators - most of them coming 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, Battambang Vicariate in Siem Rap. Among the six consecrated groups of the Salesian Family of Thailand (SDB, FMA, DQM, SQM, SIHM and VDB) they are also blessed with the highest number of four novices. One of their four novices tells us: "At the beginning of my vocation journey I was attracted by the missionary approach of Catholic priest and SIHM sisters who reached our village in the mountains and would like 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!"
We pray, that all Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will continue to witness like Mary the missionary spirit of their founder also tomorrow in this challenging southern part of Thailand.
- AustraLasia 4842 (II) Remembering the 68th death anniversary of Mons. Pasotti (SIHM Sisters - Hua Hin)