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'Consecrated virgins' on priestly quest

Nun foundation helps seminarians to serve abroad

'Consecrated virgins' on priestly quest
Sister Quilina Rolega (right), organizer and founder of the Saint Veronica Foundation
Manuel Cayon, Davao City

August 11, 2011

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A group of Catholic nuns in Mindanao who call themselves "consecrated virgins" are on a mission to support seminarians and to encourage them to preach the Gospel in foreign lands. "We go around Mindanao asking solicitations for financial support [and] to persuade seminarians to go on foreign missions when they become priests," Sister Quilina Rolega, 63, said yesterday. She left the Daughters of Our Mother of Peace in 2009 to form the Saint Veronica Foundation or the "consecrated virgins." "Consecrated virgins are a group of nuns who are active in communities and other Church missions," Sister Rolega explained. She said her group decided to establish a fund for seminarians in Mindanao because more young men in the southern Philippines are entering seminaries than in other parts of the country. Sister Rolega said her decision to set up the foundation was prompted by requests from the Bishop of St. Louis in Missouri, in the United States, where she used to work. She said there is a shortage of priests in the US and four parishes in St. Louis had to merge and several parish churches were sold to sects. "In the Philippines, we don’t have this problem. We have the parish priest and an assistant priest, and we are easily able to assign a priest to each parish," she observed. "The Philippines can help fill the need for priests in the US," Sister Rolega said. "We may be able to convince our seminarians to take up foreign missions when they become priests," she added. With the help of Sister Jean Fune of the Ursuline congregation, Sister Rolega persuaded Bishop Patricio Alo of Mati to ask seminarians in his diocese to volunteers for foreign assignments. The "consecrated virgins" are hopeful that they will have the funds to support their project. On Aug 20, the group will hold a concert to raise money to pay for the tuition of the initial batch of seminarians the group is supporting. Sister Rolega said her efforts are starting to pay off. She said her group is already in the process of forming a new community of nuns with the approval of the Vatican. "[Bishop Alo] said we would be called the Mediatrix sisters. We need one more sister and a building to form the community," she said, adding that they already have a plot of land donated by one of their supporters. "Our mission and apostolate is to embark on door-to-door evangelization to explain to people why we must go to Church, why we must be baptized, and basic information about being Catholics," she said.
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