(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is in Myanmar on a three day Apostolic journey. Myanmar which was formerly known as Burma has suffered over half a century of oppressive military rule until the election in 2015. Pope Francis’ visit there to a multi-religious country where the some 450,000 Catholics make up approximately 1% of the total population, is to personally bring a message of peace. The country is divided into sixteen dioceses including three archdioceses.
Our correspondent Philippa Hitchen, who is in Myanmar to report on the Pope’s visit there, spoke to Sr. Genevieve Khin Mu of the Good Shepherd Congregation. Sister Genevieve, who has been part of the Congregation for almost thirty years spoke to Philippa of the gradual transformation she has observed in the village. Speaking of the Church and the Convent building she said they were once small and old but now they have new and bigger buildings.
The people, she said, have realized the importance of education and most of them have now graduated from at least secondary school: "They are no more hand-to-mouth people as they used to be before but by strengthening themselves through educational they have learnt to save".
She also spoke of the cordial relationship that exists between the Catholics, Baptists and the Buddhists in the Magyikwin Village.
Listen to the full interview:
The Good Shepherd Sisters have been in Myanmar, with a short break between 1967 to 1973, from as far back as 1865. They established a community in Magyikwin village, Bago Division in 1976 to take care of village development programmes and pastoral work. Their current ministries are in Education, Vocational, Skills and Leadership training for women and girls at risk of being trafficked, Healthcare, Programmes for single mothers, Prison ministry and pastoral work.
The Good Shepherd Sisters network with NGOs, GOs, FBOs (Faith Based Organizations) especially Buddhist monks and Church and Religious Social Services Organizations in order to reach out more effectively to people in need.