St. Mary Euphrasia Integrated Development Foundation Incorporated (SMEIDFI) is the development arm of the Religious of the Good Shepherd of the Philippine Province. We work towards the protection and development of women and children; justice, peace, and integrity of creation.
For us and our mission partners, shepherding takes different forms. Everyday in many parts of the country, we run shelters – homes – for women and girls who have been victims of abuse. Some of us do preventive and advocacy work day and at night. We train women and their families in manufacturing and farming, giving them opportunities for alternative livelihood.We work with government agencies and networks to combat human trafficking and abuse.
We teach the next generations to be men and women for others through our schools, formal and non-formal. In circumstances of disasters, we mobilize our sisters, staff, and volunteers to bring aid to where it is needed, often arriving first and leaving last. We establish our presence in red light districts, in the slums, in the mountains with the indigenous peoples, in places where the presence of the Good Shepherd is most needed. From free legal service desks of a big city to the hemp producing communities in a remote municipality, RGS and mission partners risk their lives to bear witness to the Gospel of love and compassion because one person is of more value than a world.
Currently, SMEIDFI has 20 agencies, including 13 community and residential centers, indigenous people’s ministry, urban poor pastoral work, migrants centers, and formation centers, spreading the message of love and compassion of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
RGS in the Philippines – Background and History
Thus did St. Mary Euphrasia, foundress of the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) define the ultimate end of our mission. It is a mission directed to the most neglected and marginalized, in whom the image of God is most obscure.
St. Mary Euphrasia also established at the heart of the congregation the Contemplatives of the Good Shepherd (CGS). The Contemplative Sisters are called to witness to the primacy of God, to transform the world through prayer, silence, solitude, sisterly love, gospel asceticism and zeal, while giving a privileged place to the study and meditation on the Word of God.
The fidelity of the Sisters, both active and contemplative, is ensured by a fourth vow: to labor with Zeal for the salvation of persons.
In 1835, the Generalate was established in France.
The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (also known as Religious of the Good Shepherd or Good Shepherd Sisters) is an international congregation of religious women in the Roman Catholic Church, numbering almost 4,000, present in 70 countries in five continents. The foundation in the Philippines started in 1912 in Batangas City.
The first RGS missionaries came to the Philippines in 1912. They were Irish Sisters who came from their mission in Burma (Myanmar). They crossed the seas for the young students who needed a Shepherd’s care through education in a Catholic School. They opened St. Bridget’s Academy (now St. Bridget’s College) in Batangas.
As the years went on, the meaning of “salvation of souls” was expanded to embrace the girls and women who were to be protected from moral danger or who needed help to reform their lives. The Sisters started the first Good Shepherd ‘home’ in 1921 in Sta. Ana, Manila. The legacy of SME came to life in such as setting for each girl was accepted as someone precious.
The spirit and mission of our first missionaries would outrun the lifetime of that generation of RGS and pass on to later groups. “Souls” again needed rephrasing. They now included women in various difficulties: unwed mothers, prostituted women, battered women, slum dwellers, landless farmers, indigenous groups, overseas contract workers and their families, streetchildren, the most neglected and oppressed.
In this new millennium, the RGS seeks to proclaim the Good News that the Good Shepherd cares yesterday, today and forever. Living out our specific orientation to girls and women, we strive to serve them in the context of the family and the society in which they live. As Good Shepherdesses, we wish to be “Life Bearers” for the poor of our world—following the Good Shepherd who leads us all to FULLNESS OF LIFE.
As religious we are called to a mission of reconciliation, “we express our charism of merciful love through a contemplative life or an apostolic life.” (RGS Integrated Constitutions, Article 1).
Our service traditionally and currently is particularly with women and children who have been wounded by life’s circumstances and live on the edge of society. We accompany those who are in need and also network with other groups to change unjust structures in society. In religious language, our service is generally referred to as “ministry” or “apostolate”.
“We announce the message of reconciliation through a ministry of charity and evangelization directed towards persons wounded by sins and its consequences. Our specific orientation is to girls and women whose condition in life cries out for the healing and salvation which Jesus alone can bring. We are deeply committed to their human and spiritual healing and to their integral development. Since the well-being of the person is intimately linked to that of family, we strive to serve them in the context of the family and the society in which they live. We also respond to other apostolic needs which are in accord with our mission. (RGS Integrated Constitution # 6)
Today, there are around one hundred eighty Filipina RGS sisters, apostolic and contemplatives, serving in the country and in overseas missions.
GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT RGS IN THIS LINK: http://www.goodshepherdsisters.org.ph/history
Do you have the heart of a shepherd?
Employees of SMEIDFI, its member agencies, and other offices are considered partners in the mission. The 28th General Chapter of 2003 strongly recognize that the laity who live the Good Shepherd charism are a gift for the Congregation, the Church, and the World.
All RGS Missions employees share the redemptive mission of the RGS sisters and abide by the common thrust to grow in Christian life through spiritual formations.
Learn about working for RGS Missions and browse the current vacancies in SMEIDFI and other member agencies in the links below.
Mission Structures and Officers
Province Leadership Team
(July 2014-June 2020)
Sr. Mary Regina Kuizon, RGS
Sr. Mary Carmelita Arenas, RGS
Sr. Ma. Ananita Borbon, RGS
Sr. Mary Ludila Panaligan, RGS
Sr. Mary Susan Montano, RGS
Ministry Team members:
Sr. Ma. Ananita Borbon, RGS
Sr. M. Antonieta Go, RGS
Sr. M. Angelita Clemen, RGS
Sr. Ma. Ailyn Binco, RGS
Sr. M. Carmelita Arenas, RGS
Mission, Vision, Values and Goals
Transformed in Jesus Christ, we, Good Shepherd Sisters, live our mission of compassion and reconciliation through a Contemplative or an Apostolic Life. With zeal, we labour to renew the world towards fullness of life where there is Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
To proclaim the Gospel of compassion and reconciliation, we continue to integrate the prophetic challenges of our mission with the essentials of community and cosmic living. Authentic witnessing among ourselves, a Women, Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation-oriented ministry, Good Shepherd partners, and those we serve will inspire others to share our ministries of compassion. In global solidarity, we mutually enable ourselves and the poor and marginalized, particularly girls and women, to live in dignity and integrity.
- Prioritize, consolidate, streamline and re-direct RGS ministries for effectiveness and sustainability.
- Streamline services of our various Good Shepherd Centers for meaningful delivery of services.
- Evaluate regularly our different ministries and implement the recommendations from those evaluations, —i. e – founding of inserted communities.
- Continue Women Justice Peace Integrity of Creation (WJPIC) thrust and have concerted efforts and quick responses to issues.