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Sr. Esperanza 100 years young!

What a joy to celebrate the 100th birthday of our beloved Sister Esperanza Machuy last Saturday 21 October! Over 75 people from Sr. Esperanza's family, friends, and religious family, came from Hongkong, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne to celebrate this one-of-a-kind event in our Province.

Not only is this event unique because of the sheer length of a whole life of dedication, commitment and fidelity, but also because of the extraordinary life that Sr. Esperanza has led. Enduring decades of harsh conditions in persecutions and concentration camps, her radiant joy and serenity and daily commitment is an authentic testimony to the Hope that Faith can bring us, and an inspiration for all.

The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Fr. Frank Bertagnolli sdb and concelebrated by Fr. Oreste Cantamessa sdb, In his homily, Fr. Frank gave great tribute to Sr. Esperanza for her witness and fidelity, and her deep awareness of God's presence in her life. He pointed out how Sr. Esperanza has been living true to her name ('esperanza' means 'hope'), never losing hope even during the most difficult times in her life because of her strong belief that God was always with her.

Another great tribute to Sr. Esperanza was given by Sr. Edna Mary McDonald fma, Provincial of the SPR Province. In her speech Sr. Edna shared the 'secret' of Sr. Esperanza's joy and serenity. It is the three links that has never been broken in Sr. Esperanza's life: her family, religious family, and God. Although there were moments of separation, Sr. Esperanza has never felt disconnected. Sr. Edna emphasised the importance of family, sharing delightful stories of Sr. Esperanza's childhood, pointing out how Sr. Esperanza and her siblings were imbued with faith, hope and love by their parent's teaching and examples, which were, as a matter of fact, very salesian!

Sr. Edna also read out the wishes from the local member of the Parliament of Victoria and the greetings from Mother Yvonne, Mother General of the Salesian Sisters. Coincidently, Mother Yvonne's letter was sent from Mexico, the birth country of Sr. Esperanza! In her letter, Mother Yvonne thanked Sr. Esperanza for a life of fidelity and joy amidst the many difficulties she endured both in Mexico and China.

In response, Sr. Esperanza thanked everyone and shared in a very humorous way how she was attracted to the life of the Salesian Sisters and shared that this attraction which gave her great joy is still what she continues to experience to this day!


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