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“Shelter of hope” is a Ministry that we launched five years ago in the Philippines: it is a service of welcoming focused on helping young people who are living on the streets of Dumaguete City. In addition to offering meals, we also organize recreational activities and study/homework support. Our Sisters there would like to tell you a little bit about their experiences in these past months…

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With the beginning of the 2014-2015 scholastic year, the Shelter of Hope upgraded its service 3 days to 5 days weekly, and we also began offering a hot breakfast. Moreover, we registered 20 additional children in the school - the majority of whom came to the Shelter during lunchtime to enjoy a healthy, warm meal together with the school children.
On September 8th, 2014, four of young people between the ages of 16 and 20 finished their formation and catechism, and were able to receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Communion and Confirmation from the hands of our Bishop Julito B. Cortes. For those of us at Shelter of Hope Center, it was truly a moment of deep emotion and unforgettable joy.  Given all that these young people suffered --- abuse, drugs, alcohol and time spent in reformatories – this is truly a miracle! Small pearls plucked out of the mud of an unscrupulous society indeed, but how can we not bless and thank God and the Virgin Mary who, precisely on her birthday, presented them to her son, Jesus? And how could we fail to thank the many people who helped and supported us in thousands of ways so that all of this could become reality?
One person who held a very important role was a young German man, Samuel Johannes, who came to the Philippines in October 2013 on a work project sponsored by his government and the Philippines’s government.  An altruistic person, he wanted to invite some needy young men to live with him in the spacious villa that had been provided for him. So, he came to the SFPs and asked us if we could give him some names. We entrusted him with four boys, to whom he acted as brother, father, educator and benefactor.  He supported them in school and today at least three of the young men already have found work -- and now have a future that had previously been unthinkable.  We hope that these young men continue on this wonderful adventure that has made such an impression on their lives.
December 15th, 2014 was the fifth anniversary of the founding of Shelter of Hope. In the local culture, every anniversary is solemnly celebrated with benefactors and friends. We, too, wanted to recognize the importance of this first fifth anniversary with a small gift for everyone. So we prepared a T-shirt with our logo and the image of Mother Frances, and gave to our volunteers along with a mug of the same design that we had offered to our friends and benefactors, keepsakes of these first five years of Mother Frances’s Charism presence in the Asian world. The liturgical celebration, presided over by our Bishop and some priests who are our friends, along with our guests, friends and benefactors made our celebration truly beautiful and meaningful. We are filled with gratitude for all of the blessings received and for the growth of this service to the poorest of the poor in our city - a hymn of thanks and praise to the Most Holy Trinity and to Blessed Frances Schervier!
In January we were graced with the gift of a student-volunteer from Finland who came on a six-week university internship.  Although in the beginning we were a little hesitant, by the end of her stay we were truly pleased on many levels:
•    with her presence
•    with the positive results that were reached with our young people
•    And above all with the friendship that blossomed between us and her family.   
She is not Roman Catholic, but of another religion, and yet she openly stated and repeated in many ways that with us she found God, and a true understanding of prayer and of unconditional and universal love.
When she returned to Finland, Marjo Anneli wrote to thank us and to tell us that her life has been changed.  She returned into her Church and, with her family, she has offered her availability to help.  This was an unexpected and encouraging result.
We thank God for the many rewards of this Ministry and, with our prayers, we ask for continued support for the precious service of our sisters in the Philippines.

Hope Community

Published: May, 21, 2015