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1Good Shepherds in Sri Lanka Celebrate the Reunification of the Congregations of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge and Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd – on 27th June 2014.

“Peace, charity, unity and above all, the salvation of souls, these are our goals… Our unity is like a gently flowing river which waters our land with blessings”(SME)

It was a bright sunny afternoon when sisters and Lay Partners from all over the country flowed into the grounds of the Provincial House in Nayakakanda, to praise and thank God for the historic and happy event taking place in the Generalate in Rome on this very day.

Amidst happy chatter and laughter of more than 250 sisters RGS/CGS, novices and Lay Partners assembled in a large hall; there the Historical Event of Reunification was declared by Sr. Lucy Murugesu, the oldest sister present there. . Together with this happy occasion the launching of the new website of the Good Shepherd Sisters of Sri Lanka/Pakistan Province took place. Sr. Francine Muthugala the Province Leader opened the new website and projected to the assembly the various Features of Good Shepherd life and mission that were accessible.

After this, the group proceeded out into the garden in front of the chapel where a bevy of young girls from St. Joseph’s Child Development Centre and St. Euphrasia’s Home welcomed them with a beautiful and meaningful dance symbolising the merger in the form of two rivers flowing from two different directions and joining to make one. The Eucharistic Celebration followed at 5 p.m., presided over by Rev. Fr. Jeyaraj Rasiah S.J., the Province Leader of Jesuit Fathers and the President of the Conference of Major Religious Leaders. The School choir of St.Lawrence’s Convent at Wellawatte, enriched the Liturgy with their melodious and prayerful singing. The sanctuary was adorned with gorgeous floral decorations and an icon of the ‘logo’ of Sts. John Eudes and Mary Euphrasia was placed in front of the altar, highlighting the spirituality we’ve inherited from them.

The Mass having ended, the guests were led into the School hall where the girls of Good Shepherd Maha Vidyalaya, Nayakakanda, entertained them with a lively programme of song and dance. This was followed by a fellowship dinner for everyone.

What a happy and memorable day for our Province and Congregation!
What Joy St.John Eudes and St.Mary Euphrasia would have had, seeing this reconciliation and unification - a dream of theirs come true !
God be praised for His goodness and mercy!
May our togetherness in Mission help win many more persons to God’s Kingdom.



 

The Students of Good Shepherd Schools got together in unity to celebrate the Feast of St. Mary Euphrasia

It is indeed and always the love and conservation of our Good Shepherd that lead the players, coaches, teachers in charge and parents of all participated schools to organize this event. Unity and Good will among the Good Shepherd family is the utmost intention upon this effort.

We appreciate the participation and cooperation of all participating schools





 

As a 3 month human rights intern with the Justice and Peace Office in Geneva, from the Province of Sri Lanka/Pakistan, it was a privilege for me to attend the 54th CEDAW session at the UN and take part in a mentoring programme which was conducted by IWRAW (International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific) an international women's human rights organization.

CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) mandates substantive equality and gender related laws, policies and programmes that are based on human rights. It requires state parties to condemn discrimination against women and ensure its elimination. The states who have ratified the convention are obliged to submit reports to the UN every five years and have constructive discussions with the CEDAW committee members on the implementation of the convention in their respective states.

At the 54th CEDAW session scheduled from 11th February – 1st March 2013 the CEDAW committee reviewed 8 state parties - Pakistan, Austria, Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, Angola, Macedonia, and the Solomon Islands.

As an intern, for my learning I concentrated on the Alternative report of Hungary which was prepared by our sisters in Hungary. The weekend work shop with IWRAW helped me to understand the CEDAW convention as well as the process of the session, the NGO oral presentation, how to effectively lobby committee members and the follow up work that could be done once NGO representatives return home. We were 10 participants representing 5 NGOs from Hungary and Pakistan.

The first three days were spent in writing the oral statements and learning how to present it at the informal meeting between CEDAW and the NGOs. The three days programme focused on the following: how to effectively lobby the CEDAW committee members, an introduction to each committee member including their areas of interest, country rapporteurs, inviting the CEDAW secretary for meaningful dialogue, and conducting mock sessions etc. It helped all NGO representatives to be at ease in forwarding their concerns to the committee members.

Then from Monday to Friday we were at country sessions, presenting our oral statements for lobbying CEDAW committee members at lunch briefings, meeting them and feeding them information from the grassroots level, attending the sessions of reporting by the country delegation, listening to constructive dialogue between the delegations and the CEDAW committee members and daily debriefing with the resource personnel. It was an enriching experience for me. This training helped me to understand how effectively NGOs can work with the CEDAW convention before, during and after the session. Personally I felt that it would have been much better if I was able to come up with the alternative report of my own country. Whenever GS participates in writing alternative reports on our own country we must not miss this opportunity; because as an NGO working towards the empowerment of women, this will be the best opportunity to raise our voice for the voiceless who are violated and disempowered.

I am grateful to the Congregation for giving me an experiential learning opportunity. I am confident that this will enable me to be more effective in my ministry.

 

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