On May 27, 2017, the Kasanag Daughters Foundation, Inc. (KDFI), one of the social projects of the Priests of the Sacred Heart – Philippine Region in Cagayan de Oro City, celebrated its 18th Founding Anniversary. The celebration started with the Holy Eucharist presided by Fr. Donald Longno, SCJ, and was followed by the arts exhibit prepared by the girls, very short cultural presentation and common supper. The institution, providing shelter and rehabilitation opportunities to the victims of sexual abuse, was established in 1999 by Fr. Eduardo Aguero, SCJ. As of now, the institution takes care of 24 girls, aged 7 to 16 years. The project coordinator is Fr. Joseph Butlig, SCJ. Since the beginning, the total number of admittances reached 190.
Passing by Cagayan de Oro City, Fr. Eduardo Aguero, SCJ, the founder of Kasanag Daughters Foundation, had a chance to visit the institution again. On February 5, 2017, Fr. Ed celebrated a Holy Mass for the clients and staff, which was also attended by many former members and their families who came to meet their spiritual father and friend. Besides recalling the “old times” it was a great opportunity of sharing their experiences and taking some pictures together.
Two years ago in a disastrous rainfall the mountains, the river running through Cagayan de Oro burst its boundaries and inundated a large portion of this city on the island of Mindanao, the Philippines. Many people were swept away in the raging waters. The flood also reached as high as the second floor of the Kasanag Daughters Foundation, one of the social projects of the Philippine Region. Fortunately, no one was killed. However, the water damage was extensive. After the event there was a fear that such a flood might return and threaten lives. Shortly after the flood the Foundation decided to look for another property on higher ground.
With the help of some good friends in the Philippines but around the world a new property was found and also the funds to buy the property and build on it a new house. A special help was provided by the Episcopal conference of Italy but also by SCJ Provinces and Regions. It is for this reason that so soon after the flood there is now a brand new house for the Kasanag Daughters Foundation.
On Sunday, August 4, the new house was blessed. Sixteen of the young women were present together with members of the Board of Directors, the social worker, the directress of the house, the housemothers and a good number of Dehonians, the spiritual force behind this work. The mass was presided by Fr. John van den Hengel, the vicar general of the Dehonians, who was in the Philippines to direct a retreat for the fellow SCJs. In the Eucharist he reflected on the miracle of generosity that had happened. He asked the young women: “You have been given a miracle. It is up to you now to show to others what you do with the miracle.”
After Mass the house and the grounds were abundantly blessed. Fr. Francis Pupkowski expressed the thanks of the community for all who had made this event possible. The work is the ministry of Fr. Marcial Corpuz Aquire. He had helped to organize the feast after the blessing. The young women entertained with song and dance.
The work of the Foundation receives support from a number of countries in which the Congregation is active. It is one of the crown jewels of the Philippine Region. It stands as a symbol of their commitment to follow in the footsteps of social commitment and spirituality of Fr. Founder.