Sr. Clarissa is coming to Chicago, IL!!

Sister Clarissa is coming in July to the Diocese of Joliet in Chicago, Illinois to participate in a Mission Appeal for the Oikos Mission in the Philippines!!  Here are the dates and places she will be speaking at:
July 13/14 –  St. Francis Xavier, Joliet, IL
Sat. 4:30pm; Sun. 8:30 & 10am
July 20/21 – St. Peter Damien, Bartlett, IL
Sat. 5:00pm; Sun. 8:00, 9:30 & 11am
July 27/28  – Immaculate Conception, Morris, IL
Sat. 5pm;  Sun. 7:00, 9:00,11:00am & 2pm (Spanish)
Also…
There is a Silent Auction Fundraiser in Glen Ellyn!
When: Friday July 12, 6-10pm
Where: St. Petronille Parish Life Center
420 Glenwood Ave., Glen Ellyn, IL
Come join us as we celebrate Sr. Clarissa being with us!

What better way to celebrate than by having her share with us the Oikos Sisters’ ministry in Eastern Samar, Philippines. So many lives have been touched…learn of their most recent programs, updates and tender stories of those they serve. Plus, what a delight when she sings in her beautiful voice sharing the love she has for us all!

We will again be offering a delicious Asian meal to enjoy along with a silent auction and fun to be had by all!
This event is free, bring your family and friends.                                                           It’s important though that  you RSVP please  so we can set up a cozy friendly room to gather and to ensure we have enough scrumptious Filipino food.

If a silent auction item delights you, please know we accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Discover, AmEx) and of course, cash or checks. Be assured that  ALL  of your donations will go directly to serving those in need! Feel free to contact me with any inquiries.

Please RSVP by July 5:
Mary Jane Trinkus 630-858-3758
PoorHouseholdofGod@yahoo.com
Both the Mission Appeals in the parishes and the Silent Auction will raise funds for the Oikos Mission.  Some of the ministries you will be supporting are:
       EDUCATION                                                                       THE CHARITY VILLAGE
                 
           LIVELIHOOD PROGRAMS
                                                       
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION                                                                IMMERSIONS
                                                   
 AND SO MUCH MORE!!!
If you are not in the Chicago area or are unable to attend the appeals and fundraiser, please feel free to make your donation online or send it to Mary Jane Trinkus…all the information can be found here!
                                             THANK YOU for your support, prayers and love!!                                           We are so very blessed because of YOU!!

A HUGE THANK YOU FROM THE CHARITY VILLAGE!!!

 

The Oikos Sisters would like to extend our greatest thanks to each and every one of our benefactors, in finances and in prayers, for the amazing generosity and thoughtfulness you have shown in giving so bountifully to our mission, particularly in the Charity Village.  We have seen tremendous growth in our village since the land was donated to us, and we know that without your charitable, giving hearts, we would not have been able to build homes for so many families to call their own, we would not have been able to begin to build our road inside the village, and we would not have been able to grow plenty of fruits and vegetables there, which are already producing food for our families’ tables and pocketbooks!!

In truth, you are home-sweet-home-builders for these families, helping to give them dignity and safety in a home all their own; you are dream-come-true-makers, helping the Oikos Sisters to fulfill a dream they had years ago for the poor people here; you are hope-injectors for all the people needing dialysis in Borongan and who are hoping beyond hope that the medical clinic in the Charity Village will house the first dialysis center in the city.  In short, you are angels in disguise and we couldn’t do any of this without you.  Thank you for being partners in God’s work here in the Philippines with us.  May God bless you and your families today and every day.                                         Salamat Po!!  Thank You!!

Barrio Immersion in Camantang

A barrio immersion is when the Oikos Sisters totally and completely immerse themselves in a barrio, usually a new barrio they have never been to that, because of its distance to the city or difficulty in getting there, does not receive a lot of help from NGO’s or the Filipino government.  I have heard it said many times during various immersions I have been on, “We thought the world forgot about us.”  And indeed, many people feel that way.  It’s sad to hear, but also it feels so good to bring the love of God and His many blessings to these people, to help them to feel loved, cared for, wanted and special…for indeed they are!!

Camantang is about a two hour drive north from the city of Borongan where we live, and about a two hour boat ride.  When I say we bring God’s blessings with us, I totally mean it!!  We bring clothes for men, women, teenagers and children, we bring food for the entire weekend for the entire village including food for meals, snacks, drinks, plates*, silverwear*, cups* and cooking pans and utensils, we bring a movie projector and movies to watch at night, we bring the blessings that people send us…rosaries, baby blankets, washable and reusable menstrual pads, reading glasses, sunglasses, water filters, food packs of rice, coffee, sugar, canned meat and noodles for each family, deodorant, school supplies for children and for the teachers, birthing kits, and so many more things.  Imagine loading cars full of all of these things, then unloading at the dock, loading up again on the boat and unloading at the destination!!  It’s not easy!!  We had to take a second boat to Camantang because all of the volunteers we brought and all of the food and things we brought were making the boat sink!!!

*By the way… we do not bring plastic/paper plates and utensils, we bring the real deal…hundreds of them to serve everyone in the village.  The Oikos Sisters are committed to the love and care of the people we serve, but like our patron, St. Francis of Assisi, we also love and care for our earth.  It’s very, very heavy to carry, but it makes our hearts and minds feel AWESOME to recognize the importance of taking care of our environment!!

We also brought our traveling dental clinic with us to Camantang, including dental chairs, tools and eauipment, medicine and our very own dentist, Sr. Michelle.  She’s about the lightest thing we bring!!  Unfortunately, because of time restraints in our schedule, we were only able to stay in Camantang for two days, where usually our barrio immersions are three days and two nights.  But we sure did accomplish a whole lot in those jam-packed two days!!  Our dental clinic saw 75 patients in two days!!! It was the first time for us to give the reusable menstrual pads, and I can’t even tell you how excited those girls and women were to receive them.  They were given by Days for Girls, http://www.daysforgirls.org.  We gave about 50 of them, and we hope to receive more to give in other places.  What an amazing invention!!

The tireless leader of The Poor Household of God, Mary Jane Trinkus, joined us for this immersion.  She helped to give out our many blessings, serve food, and teach catechesis to the kids!!  We were so blessed to have her with us…she makes it all more fun!

Unfortunately, we were unable to see all of the dental patients who wanted to be seen in Camantag, so we will be returning there after the elections in May.  When the Oikos Sisters make a promise, they keep it!  We are greatly looking forward to our return to Camantang, and then, onto other barrios in need.  This is one part of the Oikos Mission that is truly a great joy for everyone involved…the people we meet are so overjoyed to have the help and care we give, and the Oikos Sisters and all our hard-working volunteers find so much fun and joy in going on immersion.  It is a win-win all around.  We continually praise and thank God for being so providential to us, for supplying us with all the blessings we are so happy to share with others, and for giving us the energy, talent and generous spirit to do His work!!  Thank you, Lord!!!    

 

See Our Progress in the Charity Village!!!

We are so, so excited about all of the progress in the Charity Village, and so completely thankful to God for His Divine Providence and to all of our faithful donors!!!!   We can hardly contain our joy!!!

Here’s what’s new…

*** GROUNDBREAKING!!!  We held a groundbreaking for the Chapel and for the Community Center in the Charity Village in February!!  Bishop Crispin, the Bishop of Borongan along with the Oikos Sisters’ spiritual director, Msgr. Lope Robredillo, and missioners from all over the world joined the Oikos Sisters in breaking ground on the two structures!   The day was so joyful and meaningful to all who attended.  We buried a time capsule at each location that included the names of all present and a rosary and then each of us helped to shovel in dirt to fill the holes.  Bishop Crispin also blessed the land as we prayed for continued success in the construction of the village.  We gave thanks to all who have donated for the construction of these buildings, and asked our Loving Father to continue to touch the hearts of generous people to continue to support our project!

*** NEW HOMES ARE BEING BUILT!!  Even as you read this, homes are being built in the Charity Village!!  We are making improvements on the homes as we build them, realizing that even if the land we are building the village on is safe from flooding, nowhere is safe from typhoons here!  So, we are building stronger homes made entirely of concrete.  Also, we are making duplexes!
The duplexes actually take up less room than 2 houses and are just as roomy and comfortable as the single homes.  Thanks to the Construction Team from the Joliet Mission in Chicago, IL who were an amazing help to our local workers in building and painting the homes!!***EACH HOUSE THAT IS FINISHED HAS A FAMILY LIVING IN IT!!  The purpose of the Charity Village is to have sturdy, safe, comfortable homes for the poorest of the poor who have no home of their own.  Already 10 homes are totally finished and they are already Home Sweet Home to 10 families!!  One home and two duplexes are almost done, meaning 5 more families will be able to call Charity Village their home soon.  The village is not yet complete, and construction will soon begin on the Community Center and the Chapel, but why have empty houses, right?  An added benefit to having residents already is that they are super helpful to us in helping with the gardening and landscaping, in cooking food for the workers and in many other ways.  We are continuously getting showered by the blessings of the Lord!!

And here’s your sneak peek…

This is what we hope the Charity Village will look like upon its completion!!  In the center is the chapel, the small blue boxes are all the homes and the white rectangle is the basketball court (every village in the Philippines seems to have a basketball court!)  To the right of the court is the dialysis center and across from that will be the medical center.  Next to the medical center will be the community center.  There are spaces for vegetable gardens, a rosary garden and a playground!  To the right of the village will be the Oikos Sister’s convent with a hermitage and 2 small guest houses.

Can you see why we are so excited???  We cannot express the magnitude of our thanks for everyone who has supported us through donations and prayers…  Please continue your support!  Together we can do amazing things!!!

To donate now, click here.  Thank you!!  God bless you always!!!

The Oikos Livlihood Programs are Alive & Kickin’!!

One of the many ministries that the Oikos Sisters facilitate in Eastern Samar is the Livelihood Program.  There are two that have been introduced to communities all throughout our region:  FAITH (Food Always In The Home), and Piglet Recycling and Fattening.  Just a few weeks ago, we had the closing ceremony for FAITH and the launching of the piggy project in a barrio called Surok.

Surok is a barrio, or small village, located near Borongan in Eastern Samar.  To get there, you have to take a long, narrow boat across a river.  At one time there was a bridge connecting the land, but Typhoon Ruby washed the bridge away in 2014.  The boats are usually guided by young boys who transport people to and fro all day long for mere pesos a trip.  It is hard work as up to 10 people can fit in a boat and all the boys have to “drive” the boat is a long stick.  There is no market in Surok, only little mini-shops in people’s homes called Sari-sari stores.  There is an elementary school but no high school.  The people there grow rice and root crops for their livelihood.  But with the changing weather here in Eastern Samar bringing more rain in the dry season, it is a great challenge to produce crops worthy of sale and consumption.

Last year the Oikos Sisters launched the FAITH program in Surok.  They taught the people how to grow fruits and vegetables on risers in biodegradable plastic bags, taught them how to grow their food organically, even how to make compost.  The people were given seeds and were monitored by the Oikos Livelihood team throughout the program.  It is a great way to provide food for their table and some to sell in their community or even in the market in Borongan.  This past April, Oikos held the closing ceremony of the FAITH program in Surok.  The beneficiaries are rewarded quarterly for their hard work and in the last ceremony, each participant is given grocery items and rice, and those who produce the most vegetables are given sacks of rice.  It was a great celebration!!

On May 16, 2018, the Oikos Sisters launched the Piglet Recycling and Fattening program in Surok.  We had a seminar given by Tomas Palada, graduate of animal husbandry and agriculture and Oikos co-worker who runs the Oikos Pig Farm.  Tomas taught the beneficiaries how to raise piglets for breeding or fattening and the participants got to choose which program they wanted to partake in.  The fattening program provides a quick return as it takes just about three months to fatten a pig for butchering, and the piglet recycling offers more of a long-term sustainability as participants can continue to grow and raise piglets as long as they keep breeding them.  Of course, the recycling is more work, but a good investment of time!  Once again, the beneficiaries will be monitored throughout this program and Tomas will visit Surok regularly to see to sick pigs, help in birthing the piglets or any other issues that may develop.  We also delivered some of the piggies to their beneficiaries that same day.  What a joy it was for the people and for us…as for the piggies…well, they were screeching pretty loudly!  I know they will be well cared for in their new homes!!

There are plans to open the FAITH program in two more communities this year, and pending the success of FAITH, the piggy project will soon follow.  These programs not only provide livelihoods for the people, they also fill them with hope…hope that they will be able to provide for their families and send their children to school, hope that they will someday be able to build a home that is safe and secure and will be able to eat three times a day, hope that they will be able to create a business they can pass on to their children and end the cycle of poverty in their community.  There is excitement and joy in the faces of our beneficiaries that comes from the knowledge that they have not been forgotten by the world and that someone cares for them.

If you would like to be a part of bringing hope and joy to the poor people of Eastern Samar through the work of the Oikos Sisters, we would love to partner with you!!  You can make a donation here and know that 100% of your donation will go right to the people you want to help!!  Thank you for your generosity!!  Please keep our mission, our Sisters and the poor we help in your prayers!!  Thank you so much!!  God bless you!!

Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! Big Changes in the Charity Village!!!

The Oikos Sisters are so happy and excited about the new happenings in the Charity Village!!  This has been a dream of the Oikos Sisters for many, many yeaIMG_4899rs now.  In the year 2015, land was donated to the Sisters from a Filipino family living in Florida, 1.5 hectors of land in a non-flood prone area.  Since that time, construction and building has been going on.  It has been a slow process because of the need for funding and the weather…in the rainy season, it is extremely difficult to be building.  But now, things are in a major upswing!!

Not only do we have all 25 of the planned homes fully funded, and 6 of them already built with plans and materials to build 4 more this summer, but now THE ROAD GOING INTO THE CHARITY VILLAGE IS BEING BUILT!!!  This is a major development as it will make things move much more quickly and easily.  Here are some of the pictures we took:

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IMG_4895       IMG_4897

IMG_4894These pictures show the back hoe being used to clear the path of grass and shrubs.  (and the kids along for the ride are too cute!)  The next step will be compression and topping the road with gravel.

Other projects we are hoping to get done before the year is out include the road inside the village, the community/evacuation center, the chapel and of course more homes.  People are already living there and, although the construction is a bit noisy, they are all happy with the progress as well.  For years, the Oikos Sisters have had this dream, they have planned and persevered.  We have no doubt that the Sisters can accomplish all that they set out to do with God’s guidance and protection, in His time.

Thank you to all of the benefactors and donors to the Charity Village!  You are always in our prayers and will always be a part of our mission.  God bless you!!

If you want to be a part of this amazing project of the Oikos Sisters, you can donate here!!  Salamat Po!!!  Thank you!!!

 

Adlaw Han Mga Kablas (Day for the Poor)

Much of the work done in the Oikos Mission is planned programs, but the Oikos Sisters are always open to the will of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes the work we do is not a ministry, but a special event, such as the following:

                             Adlaw Han Mga Kablas

This past May, I was blessed and honored to be able to travel to South Korea with the Oikos Sisters to have an immersion/retreat with a Catholic congregation called Kkottongnae through the generosity and support of the Diocese of Borongan. There we attended the “Love in Action” school that taught the importance of loving and caring for everyone, especially those who could never repay the generosity shown them, namely the poor, disabled and elderly. We participated in a festival in honor of the poor and homeless of Seoul called the Pumba Festival. The Holy Spirit struck straight to the hearts of the Oikos Sisters and, almost immediately upon returning home, they began pl022anning their own festival for the poorest of the poor here in Borongan, a barrio fiesta called Adlaw Han Mga Kablas.

The Oikos Sisters were founded out of a need they saw to help the poor. In 2018 they will celebrate their 20th anniversary! Since their inception, they have been caring for the poor in countless ways. What we participated in with Kkottongnae was a celebration of and for the poor people. A festival where they can laugh and dance and sing and eat their fill…a day of joy for them. That is the spark that ignited within the Oikos Sisters and fueled our Adlaw Han Mga Kablas fiesta.

A few weeks before the event took place, the Oikos Mission was in high gear preparing for our fiesta. The Oikos Sisters called upon their co-workers to assemble gift packages for each adult, child and family who would come, to build “houses” where the food would be 034served and to help on the fiesta day. They also requested help from the Borongan community for donations of food and drinks for the poor. Invitations were made and given to poor families and Oikos scholars together with Caritas and Diocesan scholars helped to decorate our venue, the Don Bosco Youth Center. They also helped to pack up the gifts and were an enormous help the day of the event.

On Saturday, September 30th, our Adlaw Han Mga Kablas, the sun was shining outside and Christ the Son, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, was beaming through the faces of each Sister and volunteer. It was an early day for all of us, and yet we were all blessed with energy and joyful spirits throughout the entire day. We were expecting around 250 fiesta guests, but the count nearly tripled as more than 600 people came!! We were astounded and worked quickly to make more gift and rice packs for our guests as 035they were singing, dancing and having such a fun time thanks to our talented MC’s and house band. But God, our Abba Father, shed His light and His miraculous mercy on us as each child who came received a party bag and each adult received a grocery pack with rice. We had just enough! And the food? It was like being on the mountainside near the Sea of Galilee 2,000 years ago…not only did we have enough food to feed everyone, but there was more leftover, even after all of the volunteers ate after the event!! We were all praising God for His kindness to us!!

We were so blessed with the presence of Father Roneil Canillas, Father Roberto Picardal and Most Reverend Bishop Crispin 042 (2)Varquez who celebrated a beautiful mass for us with the assistance of Deacon Jonathan Pading. We were aided by many of the mothers whose children are sponsored through the Oikos Sisters, the CRLJ Charismatic Community, Sister Bing of the Living the Gospel Sisters and many past and present sponsored scholars. Truly, each person was a gift to us and not only helped to make the day run smoothly, but made it fun too!

One of the high points for me was when everyone gathered in a circle and sang “Hawak Kamay” together, which means holding hands together. Being a foreigner, I was unfamiliar with this song, however, with a friend’s help, I learned its sweet meaning…You are never alone, no matter what happens. Not only can you look to God in Heaven, but you can always depend on me to be there for you, to hold your hand, to help you in this uncertain world. You are never alone. As the words were translated to me and I looked around at all of the people standing and holding hands, singing with everything they had in them, it really moved me. To me, that is what Oikos is all about…being there for anyone who God sends their way, bringing God’s love to the poor and giving others the opportunity to do the same.

It seems that for the Oikos Sisters, and for me, it was the very fruitful trip to Kkottongnae in South Korea that led to what we hope will be the first annual Adlaw Han Mga Kablas!!                                TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!

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Great News For The Charity Village!!

Although there have been a few ups and downs in the Charity Village, I have some great news to share with you!!  Building began in February and right now there are several homes built, painted and blessed!  Families have already begun moving into the village even though construction is still underway.  And ALL 25 HOMES ARE FUNDED!!!    Awesome news!!

There has been some difficulty in securing the land for the road going into the Charity Village.  First permission was given by the surrounding land owners of the village to build the road on their land, but then the families demanded an unjust price.  Also slowing down the construction was a ban on cutting down coconut trees.  Thankfully, these issues are beginning to be resolved!!

Due to a generous donor and a compromise negotiated with many prayers, the road right of way has been finalized and purchased!  And we are praying that after an assessment of the property and the coconut trees therein, the ban on cutting down the trees will be lifted within the coming weeks.  More good news continues as another generous donor has stepped forward to help pay for the heavy equipment needed to take down the trees.  When the ban is lifted, we’ll be ready to roll!!!

No endeavor in this life is without difficulty and road blocks.  The Oikos Sisters have found the way to keep positive thoughts flowing amid the twists and turns:  faith and trust in the Lord!!  Thanks be to God for their persistence and prayer.  Please join them in prayer that this village for the poor without homes of their own will soon be completed!!  Many, many thanks to you!!!

2017 Summer Mission Appeals

We in the Catholic Church are united within the Body of Christ, making us all brothers and sisters regardless of our earthly heritage. All of us come from the same Father, all of us are loved and cared for by the same Mother, and all of us were saved by our one Brother, Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter where we were born, what country we live in, our familial situations, we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus and are called to care for each other on a global scale. Keeping that in mind, the Catholic Church in the United States holds yearly mission appeals wherein missionaries from all over the world are invited to come and share the stories of their mission and ask for prayers and financial help for the work that they do.

Every summer for the past six years, Sister Clarissa has come to the United States, the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois in particular, to IMG_3820share her stories of the Oikos Mission and the work done by the Oikos Sisters to help the poor in their region of Eastern Samar. This summer, Sister Clarissa spoke at three churches: Saint Walters, St. Ann in Oswigo and Immaculate Conception.

She was warmly welcomed at each and every parish and was overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality that she was greeted with. A silent auction fundraiser was also held at St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Sister Clarissa helped the members of the Poor Household of God to raise funds for all the work that the Sisters do, in particular, this year they focused on the Charity Village with the proceeds going to fund electricity and paint for the homes being built there.

New to this 2017 Summer Mission Appeal was a second appeal held in my hometown, Buffalo, New York. Although I am still in the midst of my missionary year with the Oikos Sisters, they asked me if I would accompany Sister Clarissa to the US and speak in the churches for the Buffalo Appeal. This was so new to me! I had heard missionaries speak before at masses, I have even heard Sister Clarissa give a few of her talks, but to listen to one and to give one are very different things!!

But just as He does with Sister Clarissa, the Holy Spirit was with me and helped to inspire me to speak the words that would most touch 034people’s hearts. I too was received so warmly by the priests and parishioners at the Churches I spoke at: Immaculate Conception in Wellsville, Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna and St. John the Baptist in Kenmore. I was so very grateful for the generosity of the people in Buffalo, and so touched by their interest in the Oikos Mission and their prayers and blessings for me.

It is with great joy and love that Sister Clarissa and I say THANK YOU to all of the priests and parishioners, to people in the communities that were so welcoming, to the Diocese of Joliet and of Buffalo, and to the members of the Poor Household of God as we head back to our mission in the Philippines. Truly, truly, the Oikos Mission could not do all of the amazing work that we do without the help of our caring and generous brothers and sisters in the United States and throughout the world. We are very blessed indeed!!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, “I can do things you cannot do. You can do things I cannot do. Together we can do great things!”   Amen!!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!!

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ABC…1,2,3…It’s A New School Year in the Philippines!

In June, a new school year began for most of the students in the Philippines.  Here in Borongan, Eastern Samar, the kids are excited and nervous about the coming year!  That is universal throughout the world for most kids.  What isn’t universal is that the families here cannot afford most of the school supplies needed for their children. The teachers here do not ask for a lot.  Notebooks for every subject, pens or pencils depending on the grade and handwriting pads.  But for families that work each day just to put food on the table, it comes down to feed my child or give her a notebook.  Which would you choose for your child?

046The Oikos Sisters strive to meet the needs of the neediest, that includes school supplies!  During the last  few weeks of May, we went to several barrios handing out school supplies to the kids.  Many families have been coming to our mission 20160529_150035house in the city to ask for supplies as well.  Thanks to the Poor Household of God, this year, we were able to give over 600 children school supplies, some of which included new school bags, shoes and uniforms, depending on the need.

 20160529_105147Not only that, but through the generosity of our sponsors and various donations made throughout the year, the Oikos Sisters aid over 200 children, giving them allowances for travel fees for school and money for school projects.

You can see how excited the kids are to receive the supplies and begin their new school year!!  Thank you to all the donors of The Poor Household of God for putting these smiles on our kids faces!!

To become a donor, please check out our donate page!!

Please pray for our little ones, and the big ones too, that they have a successful school year.  Thank you!!

To God be the Glory!!!