Sr. DEVOY, Mary Juliana RGS
狄素珊修女

 

* 1937 年在美國 (U.S.A.) 出生
* 1954
年在美國加州 (California) 入會
* 1957
年在美國宣發初願
* 1963
年抵港
* 2020
 12  14 日在澳門逝世


Farewell to Macau’s pillar of justice and human rights

When Good Shepherd Sister Juliana Devoy first set foot in Macau in 1988, she was dismayed to witness the scourge of domestic violence and human trafficking that plagued women and girls.

Determined to support helpless women, the American nun founded the Good Shepherd Centre in 1990 to offer shelter to women in crisis in the city known for its casinos and gambling.

The centre sought to become a home rather than an institution, offering food, accommodation and emotional support to women in distress, including victims of violence, pregnant teenagers, single mothers and underage trafficking victims as well as their children.

It became a home of compassion for short-term care in a safe and loving environment, offering individual counselling, small group activities, educational and recreational activities, referral and advocacy services.

The Sister Devoy also waged a long, successful crusade against endemic domestic abuse against women and victims of human trafficking in the city.

The prolific nun, who died on 14 December 2020, at 83-years-old, has been hailed as a great missionary and “pillar of justice and human rights.”

On December 22, the Good Shepherd Sisters arranged for a simple Requiem Mass and funeral for Sister Devoy at St. Lazaro Church concelebrated by Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang of the Diocese of Macau, along with a number of priests of the diocese.

Bishop Lee called Sister Devoy “a testimony of charity.”

The bishop said, “As St. Paul said, her love with Christ cannot be hindered in any environment. She followed Christ wholeheartedly, completed her journey in the world, and achieved a great victory,” adding that that Sister Devoy fulfilled God’s call in her four important roles as a nun, missionary, social worker and prophet.

The next day, celebrating a Mass of Christian Burial at St Miguel’s Chapel at St Michael the Archangel Cemetery, Father Peter Chong Chi-kin, vicar general of Macau, called Sister Devoy “the daughter of Macau.”

Father Chong said, “As a missionary, she showed strength and dedication, not afraid of hardship and struggle. She gained the support of many people and offered dignity to many disadvantaged people. We thank God that Macau and the Church had such a strong witness of faith.”

Sister Devoy was born to a Catholic family in Norfolk, Nebraska, in the United States of America (US), in 1937, and grew up with six siblings.

In an interview, she once said how she felt compelled to follow Jesus at an early age, although she “didn’t like nuns very much” and found them “cranky.”

She graduated from school in 1954 at the age of 17 and joined the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Los Angeles after receiving a brochure with an invitation. She studied social services at California State University for a year. She then moved to the congregation’s motherhouse in Angers, France, for further religious formation, where she pronounced her final vows.

She often quoted her favorite verse from the Bible, “Blossom where you are!” (Corinthians 20)

She always aspired to be a missionary in China. The opportunity finally arrived when she landed in Hong Kong in 1963 at the age of 26. This marked the beginning of 50 years of extraordinary missionary life divided between Hong Kong and Macau.

Her duties took her to various places including mainland China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam before she finally settled in Macau in 1988.

In an interview with Macau Post Daily, she recalled that the idea for the shelter came to her mind as “many domestic violence victims choose not to prosecute their husbands because they consider it an internal family problem, which they do not want to be made public,” adding that “the victims also worry that nobody would take care of their children and support the family.”

From 2009, she worked with the government’s Human Trafficking Deterrent Measures Concern Committee, tackling the issue of trafficking and collaborating on identification and support services.

For years Sister Devoy pressed the Macanese authorities to introduce legislation to halt abuse against women by making domestic violence a “public crime” instead of a “semi-public crime,” meaning the authorities would fully responsible for prosecuting an offender, rather than the victim.

Her years-long efforts resulting in the drafting of a bill in 2011, but there was reluctance to broaden the definition of domestic violence.

Sister Devoy also joined the advocacy group, Anti-Domestic Violence Coalition, to raise the voice of women. Her efforts won support from leading figures including Melody Chia-Wen Lu, an associate professor at the University of Macau, journalist-turned legislator Agnes Lam and Cecilia Ho, a lecturer from Macau Polytechnic Institute.

In December 2012, Sister Devoy was awarded the Medal of Merit for Philanthropy by the government of Macau for her decades-long social work.

In 2014, she travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to address the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to explain how the authorities in Macau were violating international conventions by not passing a domestic violence law.

Her hard push worked. In June 2016, Macau passed the Law on Preventing and Combating Domestic Violence.

Sister Devoy also worked closely with Caritas Macau, whose secretary-general, Paul Pun, described her as a missionary with a big heart.

“Though she was not outspoken most of the time, she was a determined person and strived to help those in need, especially women of single families and victims of family violence,” he said.

“She was a forward thinker and her spirit to serve is a model for the Church and society to learn about the importance of love and charity for the vulnerable people in our society,” Pun said.

“She will always be remembered for her advocacy role in the front line to change the landscape of social work in Macau,” he said.

Rock Ronald Rozario

 24 January 2021

 


善牧會狄素珊修女安息
服務港澳婦孺逾半世紀

善 牧 會 狄 素 珊 修 女 於 剛 過 去 的 二 0 二 0 年 十 二 月 十 四 日 在 澳 門 主 懷 安 息 , 享 年 83 歲 , 服 務 香 港 和 澳 門 半 個 世 紀 , 積 極 為 弱 勢 婦 孺 爭 取 權 益 。

狄 素 珊 修 女 一 九 三 七 年 生 於 美 國 , 高 中 畢 業 後 , 於 一 九 五 四 年 在 美 國 加 州 加 入 善 牧 會 , 並 曾 在 大 學 修 讀 社 會 工 作 及 社 會 學 課 程 。 她 於 一 九 五 七 年 在 美 國 宣 發 初 願 , 一 九 六 0 年 在 法 國 總 院 矢 發 永 願 。

狄 修 女 一 直 渴 望 到 中 國 服 務 , 終 於 在 一 九 六 三 年 奉 派 往 香 港 服 務 女 青 年 。 在 港 期 間 曾 擔 任 修 會 省 長 , 負 責 韓 國 、 緬 甸 、 泰 國 等 地 區 的 服 務 , 其 後 於 一 九 八 八 年 獲 調 派 到 澳 門 服 務 。

服 務 澳 門 期 間 , 狄 修 女 最 初 擔 任 修 院 院 長 , 而 為 幫 助 處 於 危 機 中 的 婦 女 及 其 子 女 , 她 把 修 會 的 女 生 宿 舍 服 務 改 為 婦 女 庇 護 服 務 , 並 於 一 九 九 0 年 正 式 成 立 澳 門 首 間 專 門 幫 助 未 婚 媽 媽 和 家 暴 受 害 婦 女 的 庇 護 院 舍 「善 牧 中 心」。

狄 修 女 致 力 在 澳 門 提 倡 保 障 婦 女 及 兒 童 權 益 , 關 注 家 庭 暴 力 、 人 口 販 賣 、 兒 童 領 養 等 議 題 , 曾 多 次 獲 當 地 政 府 嘉 許 。 她 於 一 九 九 八 年 在 當 地 開 設 善 牧 會 婦 女 互 助 中 心 去 幫 助 單 親 家 庭 , 並 曾 擔 任 美 滿 家 庭 協 進 會 秘 書 長 。

為 爭 取 澳 門 為 《家 暴 法》 立 法 並 列 為 公 罪 , 狄 修 女 於 二 0 一 四 年 更 獨 自 遠 赴 瑞 士 日 內 瓦 向 聯 合 國 遊 說 , 而 澳 門 政 府 終 於 二 0 一 六 年 訂 立 相 關 法 例 。

修 道 六 十 六 年 期 間 , 狄 修 女 秉 承 善 牧 會 會 祖 聖 于 法 西 亞 (Mary Euphrasia) 的 格 言 : 「唯 愛 完 成 一 切 。」 她 關 懷 社 會 上 容 易 被 忽 略 、 被 遺 棄 和 不 懂 為 自 己 發 聲 的 婦 女 及 兒 童 , 幫 助 她 們 尋 回 個 人 價 值 和 尊 嚴 。

狄 修 女 亦 於 十 多 年 前 取 得 神 學 碩 士 學 位 , 近 年 更 學 習 葡 文 , 直 至 剛 過 去 的 十 二 月 中 風 入 院 前 , 她 仍 定 期 往 監 獄 探 望 服 刑 者 。

狄 素 珊 修 女 的 安 所 彌 撒 已 於 十 二 月 廿 三 日 在 澳 門 舉 行 , 遺 體 亦 已 安 葬 於 舊 西 洋 墳 場 。

2021 年 1 月 10 日