Daughters of Charity answer call to Cook Islands
Australian Sr Chula Sriwarakul, Irish Sr Sheila Browne and Srs Margaret O'Dywer, Mary Duong and Datie Quinn, all from the US, have arrived in the South Pacific islands to set up a foundation and work in Rarotonga and outlying islands, particularly the island of Mauke.
The Catholic Weekly reports that Bishop Stuart O'Connell SM, Bishop of Rarotonga, approached the sisters in 2001 to work among the Cook Islands people.
After a period of consultation with the bishop, local parish priests and religious congregations and community members, the congregation issued a call for volunteers to establish a foundation there to help the poor, the isolated and people with disabilities.
The Sisters will initially be involved in Pastoral Work and a Day Centre for the Disabled at Rarotonga and Mauke.
Sr Margaret Barrett, English Speaking Assistant to the Congregation's Paris-based General, said in a letter published on its UK website: " I have returned from the Cook Islands! We all arrived safely in Australia and the Sisters
participated in a very well planned programme of induction.. It is evident that the people are delighted to welcome the Sisters."
The Daughters of Charity is an international missionary community founded in Paris by St Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac in 1633 to minister to the most needy people of the world. Members of the order are serving in more than 92 countries.
The Cook Islands are in the centre of the South Pacific, located between Tonga and the islands of French Polynesia - half-way between Hawaii and New Zealand, half-way between Australia and South America. Made up of 15 islands, and extending over a region of some 2 million square kilometres, the Cook Islands have a population of 21,000 people.
Mission to Cook Islands (Catholic Weekly 23/1/05)
Daughters of Charity Australia
Daughters of Charity UK | New Mission in the Cook Islands
The Heart of Polynesia - the Cook Islands
Cook Islands Herald
Daughters of Charity start new mission in Cook Islands (Independent Catholic News 20/1/05)
24 Jan 2005