ST VINCENT’S ACADEMY | KAUSWAGAN, LANAO DEL NORTE
The Religious of the Assumption came to the Diocese of Iligan in May 1980 upon the invitation of Bishop Fernando Capalla, DD, then Bishop of the Diocese of Iligan. Their mission was to be a Contemplative Presence among Christians and Muslims in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. A series of devastating events made the Sisters discern regarding their continued presence in Kauswagan. In 2004, a decision was made to continue their presence and a new mandate evolved: to focus on Inter-religious Dialogue between our Muslim sisters and brothers. However, many challenges were encoutered. The peace and order situation in Kauswagan remained unstable due to war, encounters between the MILF and the military. There were also natural calamities such as tsunamis, typhoons and floods that left many people displaced , among them our very own students and teachers. There was also the raging fire that razed the entire school. Again, the Sisters had to undergo serious and intense discernment. In 2003 and in 2004, it was decided to sustain presence in Kauswagan with a renewed vision and mission: to Create a Peace Sanctuary. This Peace Sanctuary was launched by the Sisters hand -in-hand with Muslims and Christians. This vision of a Peace Sanctuary was adapted by St. Vincent’s Academy (SVA) and later on, became the vision of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of the Municipality of Kauswagan.
THE ASSUMPTION COMMUNITY IN KAUSWAGAN
St. Vincent’s Academy is a Diocesan School established in 1962 to provide secondary education to the children of farmers, copra workers and fisherfolk . It was was primarily established to help bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians through education. The Assumption Sisters have been actively involved in SVA since 1980, sharing the charism of St. Marie Eugenie to teachers and staff and students through Transformative Education. The Sisters greatly influenced the growth of the school as it evolved to where it is now and what it has become: a Peace Sanctuary, the only school in the Diocese of Iligan explicitly embracing this Mission and Vision and commitment to Justice, Peace, Care for Creation and Solidarity (JPCCS).
A God-centered school Community of Muslims and Christians in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte embracing and expanding a Peace Sanctuary with the whole of creation.
We commit ourselves to the total human formation through Transformative Education
Even before the pandemic, the school initiated activities for Faculty, Staff and students to live and put into action its revised Vision, Mission, Objectives and Core Values in collaboration with St. Vincent Ferrer Parish and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Kauswagan: tree planting, mangrove planting, clean and green campaign, zero waste and waste management, awareness campaign through arts, clubs and related activities. On the academic side, JPCCS is integrated in the curriculum of the different subject areas. While the Christian students had monthly Mass, an Imam (Muslim priest) was invited to teach Islam to the Muslim students. There was an exchange of culture and religious practices between Muslim and Christians students. During the siege in Marawi, SVA welcomed Muslim families and students to study in SVA as scholars. There was a sincere and welcoming effort to make the Peace Sanctuary a reality. All these efforts to make this vision of a Peace Sanctuary in SVA would never be fulfilled and become a reality without the kindness and generous support of SVA’s Friends and Benefactors. The Assumption Alumni Association (AAA) has always been a significant support to SVA especially during the time when the school was in dire need: in the infrastructure and the improvement/repair of the school facilities which enhanced the students’ learning and physical well-being. When the Senior High School was started, the AAA was instrumental to the construction of the building used by Grades 11 and 12. The Faculty room, the construction of the stage and the side bleachers, the posts and the flooring of the gym, health facilities of the Junior High School, outdoor meeting lounge for the students, are among the infrastructure that the AAA so generously donated. SVA also received school and office supplies for the students and teachers. During this pandemic when classes are modular or conducted online referred to as “blended learning,” SVA also received copying machines, laptops, printers and printing supplies for the modules made by the teachers. During the Marawi crisis, the AAA sponsored 12 Muslim students for scholarship aside from the relief goods distributed to the victims of the siege. SVA received many more blessings from the AAA, an experience of God’s goodness and graciousness that the teachers, staff and students of SVA will always be grateful. All these made SVA offer better learning experience for the students and better teaching and educational opportunities for teachers as well. With gratitude, we acknowledge the contribution of the AAA to achieve the Vision and Mission of St. Vincent’s Academy to provide Transformative Education to the young, to be a PEACE SANCTUARY where dialogue, oneness, peace and respect for others’ differences and culture, respect for the sanctity of God’s creation is of utmost value and importance.
The AAA is truly a blessing to the Assumption Sisters and St. Vincent’s Academy, our true partner in “making Jesus loved and known” according to the mind and heart of St. Marie Eugenie.