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17th August 2017
Vol 2 Issue 16

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Br Matt being escorted by the First XV Captain wearing the special jersey with the Brothers cross


July 29th saw the return of Br Matt McKeon to his beloved St Edmund's College.

Br Matt now resides in Brisbane and was the last Christian Brother to serve at SEC - ending his selfless work for our College community here in 2016.

Br Matt was the guest of honour at the heritage Rugby game:  "St Edmund's College V Marist College".

He was welcomed back to the College for this match. The special jumper, being worn only for that day, commemorates not only the work of all Christian Brothers in Canberra and world wide - but particularly our beloved Br Matt.

   READ MORE    
  By Br Ian Robertson    

Kabankalan Kronicles 2


The end of the month is fast approaching, so I thought it might be time to give a little update of what has been happening here in Kabankalan. I have taken it slowly to get used to what happens here and just what I can contribute to the community.

I have even started to do some driving which was interesting at the start – driving on the wrong side of the road, gear stick on the wrong side but fortunately the clutch, accelerator and brake are the same. The hundreds of motorised tricycles require careful attention as you never know just what they are going to do. I investigated about a Filipino drivers licence but was told I could drive on my Australian licence for 6 months.

   READ MORE    

Mission Frère –Haiti

From July 05 - 12, 2017, Mr. Sean D’Alfonso (Province Advocacy Coordinator) and Brother Kevin Griffith (Province Leader) accompanied four students from Iona Prep to Le Borgne, Haiti as part of the Province’s Mission Frère – Haiti program.

The trip was jointly sponsored by the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America Province, Iona Prep, and Archbishop McCarthy High School (Ft. Lauderdale, FL).

In Le Borgne, the total group of fourteen participants spent the week painting eight
classrooms at the St. Rose of Lima School. In addition, a trip to the Citadel provided the group with a rich overview of the historic and cultural heritage of Haiti.

  Some of the participants in the student workshop on human rights held in Maasin posing with their certificates  
   ERI conducted a series of workshops in Maasin, Batang, Binalbagan and Kabankalan in the Philippines in July. Brian Bond led the workshops on his way back to Geneva following a period of home leave in Australia.

Two workshops were held in Maasin, one for the Edmund Rice Ministry staff and one for students from local colleges. Unfortunately a recent earthquake and a series of aftershocks affecting electrical generation in southern Leyte meant that there was no electricity or internet available which impacted on attendance and some of the presentations (thankfully power was available at the venue through the use of a generator).


   READ MORE    

Road to Kric.JPG

Road to Craic

Nature has been kind to us in the early days of the month with regular downpours both in the Mountains and Dili - unusual for this time of the year. Then strong winds followed and dried out the terrain. But artificial assistance for living was not kind to us with electricity outages becoming regular – worst 48hrs in villages.

Road construction is going ahead at a pace with new drains and concrete road surfacing employing many locals. Its scholarship time again with numerous students requesting semester fees. The Timorese Army project in Railaco Craic - water is available via 3 pumps – now consolidation of the work is still needed.

Our welcome visitors kept coming :

The TTN team -Nena and Bec (1st-5th) spent a successful time with the card ladies and the vanilla team getting a perspective of the work with the future in mind.

The Damascus College students spent 2 nights at the Carmelite Sisters opposite us after their visit to Anairo – they purchased cards –thanks.


The Centre for Ecology and Spirituality at Glenburn, is again offering Brothers the opportunity of participating in the 12-week sabbatical course Sacred Earth next year. One more option next year will be to come to Glenburn for an extended number of weeks to do a more self-guided period of study or reflection. This option was taken by two religious sisters who stayed for an extended number of weeks during 2017.

For brochure and further information:

  • vist the website:   www.edmundrice.org.au/glenburn or
  • email Glenburn:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

by Trevor Parton
Centre for Ecology and Spirituality,183 Burns Rd. GLENBURN 3717


Know Your WebsiteToday I draw your attention to the "Our Respose" subsection "Community Services" this deals with how we respond to the needs of local communities. The three Edmund Rice Ministries dealt with in this section are:

  • Edmund Rice Centre: Mirrabooka,
  • Edmund Rice Community and Refugee Services: St Albans and
  • Mt Atkinson Community Project

If you are involved in any of these projects you may wish to check our data for errors, omissions and out-of-date information. Let me know if you have new material which would add to the accuracy and completeness of our presentation. You are always welcome to submit articles to this newsletter.


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Heritage Round


On July 29th the St Edmund's 1st XV played in the traditional long sleeve "white jumper'' worn only in 1st XV fixtures. One will notice a 2017 only addition to this traditional jumper - this being the blue Celtic Cross on the front of the jumper. The Celtic Cross is a symbol of service. It reflects the Irish heritage of St Edmund's College that is based on the story of Jesus, Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers whose prophetic service the College aims to emulate.

The central symbol of Christianity, i.e. the cross, is also central to the expression of the identity as Christian Brothers. The shape of the cross takes its origin from Celtic spirituality, which is also at the root of Christian Brothers' Congregation spirituality.


 We get visitors on a regular basis. We had 2 staff and 10 students from St Peter’s Auckland here. They met students and spent time in one of the small communities for a number of days to experience how students and families live. They did meet a group of students who had dropped out of school but were beginning again. They performed a haka for them.

The staff of Edmund Rice Center numbers 14 and works in a number of areas/sectors –
Administration, Formation and Environment, Education, Livelihood, Health and Social Care. There is a lot of travel involved and the sectors visit the various communities around the surrounding areas. I think the present number of communities is over 30. A community is a group of “houses” that are clustered together.
There has to be a minimum of 10 in the cluster to form a community. It is not automatic as they need to go through a formation process which goes over a number of months. Each of the sectors will visit on a regular basis to check on health, education of the children and livelihood projects.
The livelihood projects usually begin with the establishment of a small shop, a “sari sari”.
An interest free loan is given for the building and stocking the shop. These communities are a long way out of the city so it means they don’t have to travel to get the basics.
There is no transport system and very few have cars. Each week/fortnight an audit is conducted by the staff – everything is counted. A certain amount of the income is taken to pay back the loan and some to be invested for the community. A new livelihood project for some of the communities has been the raising of pigs – very popular dish here in The Philippines. They raise them until they’re about 3 months old. They’re sold as lechon – suckling pig.

The trips to the communities are interesting journeys on some roads that are poor to say the best. We have been having lots of rain so that adds some more excitement for the trips. There is one community way up in the mountains that I haven’t visited yet. You are only able to travel so far then it is at least an hour’s walk up the mountain.
It is more when it’s wet because of the slow progress through the mud. This trip is usually on a Saturday so I will be lining up in the near future,
The housing in the communities is very basic.

Some of the roofs are tin, but not all. Some are platted palm leaves. The floors are sometimes just bamboo slats - so you can see the ducks, chickens, cats, dogs and others can be seen below your feet. At least anything that falls to the floor, especially food never goes to waste.

The area is a very large sugar cane producing area and also a lot of rice is grown. This is the time when the sugar is not being harvested and it is known by some as the poor season. All the cane is harvested manually. The workers earn between P120 – P150 a day. That is about $3 - $5 a day at least a 12 hour day. It is certainly a way to keep people poor. A lot of the children drop out of school during the sugar season to help in the fields.

We were invited to the first profession of 3 sisters – Carmelites of Our Lady. It took place in Dumaguette on the east coast and about a 4 hour drive. We went up over the spine of the island and down the other side. We went from Negros Occidental to Negros Oriental, the two divisions of this island. It was a good day and another chance to see new parts of the island. They know how to celebrate and how to put on a great meal.

We had a weekend visit from the Holy Spirit Sister from Bohol an island off Cebu. We had gone there when I was in Cebu earlier in the year. They wanted to see what was being done here so they went out to visit a number of the communities we work with. We also took them for a look around the area including a visit to Mag Aso Falls, about 20 minutes drive away. There was plenty of water coming over the falls because of the recent rain.

Another visitor we have had with us is Brian Bond – an Australian Christian Brother working in Geneva at the United Nations. He conducted 2 workshops in Batung and Binalbagan. The first was for our staff and a number of others. This is the Columbans Centre. There is only one Columban there – Brian Gore of Negros 9 fame. It was good to catch up him again.
The Udyakan Festival is on here at the moment. This leads up to Charter day on Wednesday – the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of Kabankalan as a city. It will be interesting to see what Wednesday brings as I’m sure it will be celebrated well and long. I could need the ear plugs that night. There’s hardly a dull moment around here.

   Workshops were also held in Batang, with over 40 participants from Edmund Rice Ministry staff, teachers, social workers, representatives of human rights organisations and local government in attendance. The workshop was repeated in Binalbagan for a further 47 participants including members of the Presentation Sisters network, teachers, students and social workers, together with representatives from human rights organisations, local community leaders and members of the police force.

Some time was also spent with Edmund Rice Ministry staff in Kabankalan as each ministry sector (education, formation, livelihood, health and environment) developed an action plan incorporating advocacy action steps.

The training was made possible through a grant from Misean Cara which was facilitated by Edmund Rice Development.

  Br. FRANK IN TIMOR LESTE (continued)

 Our welcome visitors kept coming – we had varying contact time with them:

The TTN team -Nena and Bec (1st-5th) spent a successful time with the card ladies and the vanilla team getting a perspective of the work with the future in mind.

The Damascus College students spent 2 nights at the Carmelite Sisters opposite us after their visit to Anairo – they purchased cards –thanks.

Sarah Moulton and the ACU nurses completed a teaching and learning project at the Biaro Pite Clinic. (BPC). Sarah and Evette cooked a meal for us – beaut night.

We briefly assisted the SJC and KIC Geelong student immersion to Vequeque while they were in Dili. Thanks to St. Joe’s for the 4 computers.

The extraordinary 9 from the NSW Uni (ETF) launched their ambitious plan to build a Pre-school in the village of Motahare while resting at Dan’s Motel. Adrian Daw has volunteered to be the pay-master for the project – a great help to ETF.

Youth + team leader Kate Roache and family members visited the Jesuit Secondary school at Kasait and our TEKA at Railaco Leten after several days on Autoro Island.

Br. Bernie visited the brothers for 6 days – in the hills and Dili - thanks Bernie.

Sr. Monica Whelan and ACU nursing team Sydney worked in Baucau, and when in Dili invited us to a meal – always a +ve.

Bob Neich - Inverell Rotary Team worked at BPC building a dual toilet (17th-28th) while 4 Rotary women, led by Kerrie taught the TEKA teachers (18th-20th) at Dan’s - computer skills, printing and laminating. Thanks IR for the 7 computers.

The US Navy Sea Bees lived at Dan’s for 4 days to do a water project at Deleso.

Thanks to our visitors who transported bro bands and cards back to Australia.

Thanks also to Andre a safe and entertaining driver for some of our visitors.

The campaign parades for the parliamentary elections (22nd) were conducted peacefully – a clear sign of the maturing nature of nationhood for this country.

The Vanilla Team led 11 farmers on (24th-28th) excursion to Hatulia – deep into Ermera some 6 hrs driving away. They worked intensively with the experienced local farmers there enhancing their skills of growing, harvesting and processing vanilla. (US$26/Kilo at present).

Br. Peter, Norberto, Victor (Xefe) and Pasquala (builder) commenced the construction of the extension to the community centre (25th) in Railaco Leten. The whole community involved – consultants, workers, cooks and of course plenty of observers. This project will be augmented by the HELP group in Sept.

We celebrated St. Ignatius day (31st) with the Jesuits in Railaco Villa – great food and conviviality.

by Br Frank Hennessy