HISTORY OF THE HOLY INNOCENT CENTRE
Early in the year 2007, rumors about Jamaican government legalizing abortion was rampant. It was certain that there was an attempt to pass this law without public notice. However, God the author of life heard the bitter cries of the unborn infants, crying out for mercy. It was soon enough that the rumor spread widely and finally reached the ear of Fr. Richard Ho Lung, the Founder and Superior General of the Missionaries of the Poor.
Fr. Richard Ho Lung, a man of God and a father to Jamaican people firmly believe that “abortion” is inhumane and immoral, literally against the law of God. He therefore made an appeal to the government not to pass this hideous law but rather to promote, to protect and to preserve life. Confusion came upon the Jamaican people, there was division between “pro-life and the pro-choice”, numerous parliament sessions was made and everyone was inquiring for a solution to the problem.
The government then challenged Fr. Richard Ho Lung as to what solution he can offer to impede them from passing the law. Through much prayer and contemplation, Fr. Richard Ho Lung and the Missionaries of the Poor build a home called “Holy Innocent Centre”, a home that will shelter pregnant women who are physically and spiritually in need of assistance. However, this solution is not made as an alternative to women who are contemplating abortion but would rather serve as way to save both the life of the mother and the unborn.
THE ORIGIN OF THE MOP SISTERS
The institution of the Holy Innocent Centre has a great role to play in the conception of the MOP Sisters. Fr. Richard Ho Lung, the Founder and Superior General of the Missionaries of the Poor together with his Councilors saw the need to form a new community that will fit to the new ministry. A community that will live much like the Brothers, and with the same charism they will work together in building up of the Kingdom of God, by serving the least of our brothers and sisters.
As International in character, the MOP Sisters came from different parts of the world, lived together as a community undergoing formation from candidacy right up to the perpetual profession of vows. They pronounce the four public vows of the Missionaries of the Poor and living out its spirituality of Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross primarily committed to the corporal works of mercy. They are contemplative in action, they have an active prayer life where they spend time in communion with the Lord and deepening their understanding of His life through classes and reflections, and they also have an active apostolate where they spend their God given energy to minister to His people.
THE EARLY MEMBERS
March 27, 2011 was a day of thanksgiving and celebration for the Missionaries of the Poor, because four women stepped forward and was initiated as candidates to the Missionaries of the Poor Sisterhood community. Sr. Joanne Belmonte of Canadian origin, Sr. Melanie Jover of Filipino origin, Sr. Emily of American origin and Sr. Ashley Spaulding of Jamaican origin. Full of zeal and enthusiasm this four women labored hand in hand with the Brothers and later on blessed to run their own ministry. With much prayers and hard toil the sisters are now increasing in numbers having been blessed with vocations from Africa. Consequently, the MOP Sisters now have over 30 members, with one Finally Professed, two Junior Professed, 10 Novices and others on their early formation.
Currently, the Missionaries of the Poor Sisters run an active apostolate where they shelter and care for pregnant women in crisis and the abandoned children with physical and mental disabilities.
1. Holy Innocent Centre/ Home for Pregnant Women in Crisis
One of the main reason why Holy Innocent Centre was built is to neutralize the issue of abortion. The MOP Sisters shelter and care for pregnant women in crisis, they give special care and attention to women contemplating abortion. Women are encouraged to foster the life of the child in their womb, they are provided with their physical and spiritual need until the time of their delivery. Then they are given a choice to care for the child or to leave the child in the care of the Sisters. At a usual basis, women stayed at the centre until the time they managed to handle by themselves.
2. Nazareth Home/ Home for disabled children
Recently the MOP Sisters opened a new home for disabled children where they give them tender, love and care, nurturing the value of human life even in the most vulnerable state of life.
3. Further Ministries and Outreach Program
The MOP Sisters also conducted ministries or outreach program within their neighborhood.
- Soup Kitchen that functions every Tuesday of the week. People from the neighborhood come for worship and later on receive a meal.
- Free Ultrasound for pregnant women every Wednesday of the week.
- And, Catechism classes for children and adults every Saturday of the week.
The MOP Sisters are looking forward to open a home for the elderly, where they will take care of aged women who are abandoned an obviously in need of care and assistance. They are also looking forward to open a mission around the world, and finally to receive more vocation internationally.
The MOP Sisters do have a busy life praising God and serving Him through the least of our brothers and sisters. Come and join them in their way of life, who knows God is calling you too.