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Charity is in the heart of Sisters of Mary

Sister Maria Cho talks about the Sisters of Mary School.

In 1964, a young American diocesan priest whose heart beat for the poor founded the Sisters of Mary congregation to alleviate the plight of people who were sick, homeless and poor, provide education for children and give succor to those who were needy and helpless. His name was Aloysius Schwartz — fondly called Fr. Al — whose exemplary work in helping orphans and abandoned children in South Korea earned for him the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding.

It was during this time that he met the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, eventually leading to the establishment in 1985 of the Sisters of Mary in Manila that spread Fr. Al’s charitable works to this country, providing food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education to children from the poorest of families.

 

 

Today, Fr. Al is one step closer to sainthood after Pope Francis declared him “Venerable” — an honorific title given to those whose lives showed exemplary and heroic virtue. The charitable work of the Sisters of Mary has since expanded with the establishment of Boystowns and Girsltowns in Cebu and Silang that serve as schools and boarding homes for poor deserving students who get academic and vocational school training.

It was my good friends Marixi Rufino Prieto and her brother Charlie Rufino (a classmate of mine in La Salle) who invited US Ambassador Sung Kim and me to the Sisters of Mary School in Cavite where we met Sister Marie Cho, a Korean national and the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Mary congregation.

Equipped with school buildings, dormitories, gyms, workshop areas and other facilities and with qualified teachers, the grounds of each Sisters of Mary School serve as channels of God’s mercy and compassion for the poor and needy. - Photos by Ramon Joseph J. Ruiz

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