“A true missionary who lived an authentic life in the Joy of the Gospel”
By Bro. Hilario Seo, SDB
Seoul, Korea - A title was dedicated to the Superior General of the Caritas Sisters, Sr. Apollinaris who, while during her visit in the missions place suddenly collapsed and passed away. Yesterday, June 4, the three provinces of the Caritas Sisters of Korea - Seoul, Suwon and Kwangju celebrated the Holy Mass to pay tribute for the death of Sr. Apollinaris. The eucharistic celebration in Bangbedong, Seoul provincial house was presided by the Bishop of Jeju, Mons. Peter Kang with 10 Salesian concelebrants. Bishop Peter introduced his personal acquaintance with Sr. Shimura and showed his respect to her strong life as a consecrated person, embedded deep behind her soft and sociable smile. In his homily he said, “If you read the letters of Sr. Apollonaris to the sisters of CSJ, she often emphasised the recommendation of Pope Francisco, of following one’s consecrated life faithfully. Particularly as the superior of the Congregation she had a willingness to visit the sisters who live in the periphery with the poor in oder to see and hear from them the joy of the Gospel they live and tried to spread it to others. Sr. Apollinaris was doing this work when she visited Brazil and suddenly passed.” He further mentioned that the sudden call to heaven itself is nothing else but a great gift from the Holy Father as the compensation for her missionary life, “true missionary who lived an authentic life in the Joy of the Gospel.”
About 200 people including the Caritas Sisters, the Salesian family members and lay peoples attended the Requiem Mass, while soothing themselves for her passing and giving thanks for her life. In particular, since 2004, being the Superior General of the Caritas Sisters, she did a great job in solving some problems within the Congregation as she relied on to the Divine Providence. She confronted the delicate cultural and ethnological issues between the Korean and Japanese sisters, depending on the will of God with all her heart. The Congregation’s name was changed from Miyazaki Caritas Sisters to Caritas Sisters of Jesus, transferring the Headquarter from Tokyo to Rome while leading the peace and unity in the Congregation without hesitation. Through her sacrifice, the CSJ recovered its unity and additionally also expanded its mission territories to South American countries and Africa in South Sudan.
“We give thanks to the effort and result obtained she had done in consolidating the identity of the belonging to the Salesian family. Now it’s time to lay down the heavy and lonely burdens of the Calvary while enjoying the glory in the garden of Don Bosco together with the founders, Don Cimatti and Don Cavolli, and we are sure that she intercede for each sisters of CSJ.” said Fr. Stephano Yang, the Provincial of KOR, in his commemorative talk for Sr. Apollinaris. Sr. Natalia Hong, Provincial of Seoul Province of CSJ, on the other hand gave thanks to the Salesian family, saying to overcome the sad and shocking loss of a kind and benevolent mother and expressing her gratitude by resolving in the realisation of the CSJ’s charism in accordance with Sr. Apollinaris’ will.
Sr. Apollinaris spent her whole life in the vocation, in bearing the mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to the poor. We sincerely appreciate that she believed truly the joy of the Gospel and had fulfilled her life. This we regard as an authentic missionary handed out to the last persons. We give our grace to the Father for giving her to us as a present. In the imitation of her example life, we commit ourselves to love more the Sacred Heart of Jesus, live in the joy of the Gospel and take in action the Pope’s message and the Salesian family spirit.