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Asia Pacific Finance Meeting

July 20, 2012 @ 8:00 am - July 21, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

From 16 – 20 July 2012, a total of 26 participants from 10 countries gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to attend the first Asia Pacific Finance Meeting. Since 2009 Congregational Chapter this was also the first regional finance meeting. Present were Province Leaders and Treasurers and Finance Administrators from the 8 units of Australia/Aotearoa-NZ, East Asia, India/Nepal, Indonesia, Northeast Asia, Philippines, Sri Lanka/Pakistan and Singapore/Malaysia. This Asia Pacific Finance Meeting was organised by Asia Pacific Circle of Unit Leaders. Owing to major renovations at Madonna Heights Convent, the venue was at Hotel Grand Continental in the city centre of the Malaysian capital.
Sr. Yolanda Borbon, our Congregational Treasurer, was the main facilitator. She was assisted by Sr. Gemma Dinglasan from our Generalate in Rome. The week’s meeting began with a special message from Sr. Brigid Lawlor in which she reminded us of St Mary Euphrasia’s words that “the gifts and benefactions we receive are not for us but for the persons who need our care” (Conf. p.41) Our Congregational Leader also reminded us that “Our 2009 Chapter Direction Statement calls us to be concerned about issues of accountability, sustainability, networking, planning and continuity. Your work these days is directly related to this call … this extremely important aspect of our mission.”
Encouraged and inspired by Sr. Brigid’s message, the week’s meeting progressed in this direction. Sr. Yolanda began with the following:

To affirm that administration of resources is an important aspect of our life and mission as religious
Administration of resources calls us to fidelity and authentic witnessing to our vocation and identity as Christians and as women religious
Administration of resources requires a certain level of professionalism and compliance with international standards in financial management
Our way of doing administration of resources must be informed by new and changing realities, situations and trends
Norms that guide us …
– Governed by Code of Canon Law – particularly Book V

– Shaped by our Constitutions and other internal documents

– Influenced by leadership bodies

– Spirituality of the Congregation, individual person

– The GOSPELS as starting point

The 4 building blocks of Financial Management are:

Financial Planning and Budgeting
Accounting Process
Financial Monitoring
Internal Controls
Roles and Functions of Finance Personnel and the Province Leadership Team were among other important aspects that were considered.
On the first day, each unit gave a very interesting presentation on the history, communities and ministries in the countries of their units. All were very grateful for this sharing which enabled us to experience the unity in our Congregation and to understand, be aware and to appreciate the creativity of each unit to strive towards sustainability, continuity and accountability despite the challenges and unique differences that exist between countries even in the same units.
Opportunities were given for conversations every day as each participant has much to share, to give, to ask and to learn. When units were invited to share their top 3 priorities, it was interesting to note that all units gave the same priorities:

Property Management
Financial Management which includes:
– Fund generation for formation, medical and elderly care, ministries

– Budgeting (personal, community, province)

– Finance Manual

– Finance Team / Finance Committee

The units that have Finance Manuals generously shared with those who are targeting to compile their own manuals.

Although most units have their own accounting software, the participants showed keen interest when Sr. Yolanda introduced Banana Accounting which is a simple accounting software.
Although the meeting concluded after 5 full days, the immense amount of learning that we received did not end with the meeting but will certainly continue to affect our financial administration. To ensure this, each unit was asked to draft an action plan that includes priority areas, objectives, tasks, timeline and responsibility.

There was an air of general agreement that this first Asia Pacific Finance Meeting is indeed a most valuable learning experience. We wish to express our most grateful thanks and sincere appreciation to Sisters Yolanda and Gemma for their availability – they are very caring and skilful facilitators!

“It was indeed a session of sharing and gaining. There was a lot of honesty and openness to share the reality of each province. It was remarkable to see the zeal, to learn more…

The venue and accommodation was excellent.” Sr. Gracy Thomas

“Very enriching, in particular to learn about strategic planning for sustainability. There are many realistic aspects to consider.” Sr. Theresa Tjan

“Grateful that I am able to participate…appreciate all the sharing from Rome and the units. They are valuable information to help us administer effectively and efficiently the temporal goods of the province for the mission. I feel what Mother Foundress treasured – unity in the congregation.” Sr. Amelia David

“Very informative. Good to learn from other provinces what are the problems, solutions and how they are handled. Also a good time to know other units, shared the same concerns. Most of all for my province to learn about the Financial Manual. Being a new province, we have many things to learn!” Sr. Marta Park

“I am appreciative of being at this meeting. As a lay participant, I am much encouraged by the acceptance of the Sisters. I am touched by their honesty in sharing with us their concerns, struggles and challenges. Now I have a wider perspective from the sharing of the different countries – how we do things differently but with one objective: to be wise stewards for the sustainability of the Good Shepherd Mission.” Ms. Agnes Ngai

“This meeting is very well organised and enriching for all with new learning experience.” Sr. Rohini Mendis

“Very good experience. Learnt the unique situation in each province and creative ways to continue God’s mission.” Sr. Michelle Lopez

“This meeting has been a wonderful opportunity to openly discuss the difficulties we face and the opportunities available within each province. Development and understanding of the provinces by the individual participants was a very important introduction to the meeting. We have a shared foundress and we also share the values and charism of Good Shepherd. However we have all developed different ministries and systems in the various provinces. This meeting has reinforced the feeling that we are all part of a world wide organisation. It has been a pleasure to be involved.” Mr. Michael Kane


July 20, 2012 @ 8:00 am
July 21, 2012 @ 5:00 pm