Ratchaburi, Thailand, 15 December 2022 -- On 3-4 December 2022, the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart Of Mary celebrated a 'thanksgiving day' on the occasion of its 85 years of foundation at Baan Pornphatchara Hathai Niramol, Ratchaburi Province.
Way back on 7 December 1937, H.E. Gaetano Pasotti, Salesian missionary, announced the establishment of a group of native religious women named "Society of Sisters of Succor" in Bangnokkhuek in order to help the missionaries. The first group of women were those who worked at the salesian seminary there in the same area. Sr. Antonietta Morellato, FMA, a missionary of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, was the novice mistress, and a priest from the seminary helped in the formation. Later, the society moved across the river to a convent on the side of the Church of the Nativity. After the members of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians moved out to establish their center in Banpong, the new society received their formation and they lived and worked at the Church in Bangnokkhuek until 1955. Then, H.E. Bishop Peter Caretto arranged a place as their center in Ratchaburi. The society changed their name to "The Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary". They worked in schools, and they opened schools in many provinces of the south. They uphold the charism 'to love, to serve, and to forgive' in their apostolic work, following the teachings of the founder.
With deep feelings of gratitude for the continuous blessings of God, in the morning of 3 December 2022, the Sisters held their monthly spiritual recollection. Then from 14.00 - 16.00 hrs, there was the gathering under the theme "The Family of the Sisters Servants Walking Together"...the alumnae, the lay collaborators, the Sisters and the aspirants reviewed together the history, and they expressed the spirit of the Society in various creative ways.
At 17.30 hrs., Bishop John Bosco Panya Kritcharoen presided at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, participated by priests, religious, and faithful, numbering about 250 people, at the chapel of Baan Pornpahrchara Hathai Niramol, Ratchaburi, in a family atmosphere. In his homily, the Bishop reminded the participants to remember the founder, H.E. Gaetano Pasotti and the first formators - the salesians and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, and the first superiors of the Society. On a personal note, the Bishop revealed that he was closed to the Society since a small child, as an acolyte in this convent. Today, the Salesian Family, the Diocesan Family are here to express our joy to the Family of the Sisters Servants who have grown so admirably, from Bangnokkhuek to Ratchaburi, expanding to the South, going up to the North, and as missionaries to Cambodia for already 25 years. At the end of the ceremony, there was a fraternal agape.
On Sunday, 4 December 2022, the second day of the event on the theme "The Family of the Sisters Servants Walking Together", two speakers were invited: Fr. Phaisal Joseph who shared on the Assembly of Bishops and the family of the local church, and Fr. Nopphadol Joseph who shared on the salesian charism. A dialogue followed through 3 representatives of the alumnae. All the activities organized corresponded to the objectives laid down, namely:
1. To build good relationship among the Sisters, lay collaborators, alumnae, parents and aspirants, at all levels of the Society
2. To raise awareness of belonging and participation in the local church according to the spirit of the Assembly of Bishops 2021 - 2023
3. To raise awareness of belonging and participation in the life, mission and spirit of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the charism and mission of the Salesian Family
4. To set up guidelines for common practice in order to walk together in the year 2023.
Sr. Maleewan Poramatvirote, the Provincial Superior, expressed her gratitude to all the participants and the organizers of this event. She saw the strength of the Family of the Sisters Servants which was nurtured by the missionaries and formators of the past until this has grown and has lived to be like yeast in the present society. We shall walk together, like the song "The Family of the Sisters Servants". This brought the event to a close.