Jesuit Women Attacked While Volunteering in the Philippines

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By Tim Harfmann

Two women volunteering with Jesuits in the Philippines were stabbed.

Twenty-four-year-old Genifer Buckly is dead. Her 30-year-old colleague, Anne Kathleen Gatdula, is hospitalized with serious wounds.  

Violence ensued when the women surprised their attacker, who had been ransacking their lodgings in the southern Philippines province of Bukidnon.

“I feel incredibly sad, especially for the family of the young woman that was killed. It was extremely unfortunate, said Father Mario Powell, president of Brooklyn Jesuit Prep in Crown Heights. 

To him, Genifer is a martyr. 

“I think, absolutely, in my mind qualifies it, as this young woman was living out her faith and she was killed for it,” Fr. Powell said. 

He added that volunteers are usually lay men and women who recently graduated from Jesuit schools and want to help others in need. There is a Jesuit volunteer presence right in the Brooklyn Diocese, where two service members are helping immigrant families receive health benefits and housing.

“They’re young, they’re impressionable, they’re excited; and they have a spirituality that they understand that they’re volunteering and going to be living in community because of their faith in God,” Fr. Powell said of the volunteers, who are always thinking of the needy and marginalized before themselves. 

“Jesuit volunteers, throughout the world, sacrifice a lot. they live very simply,” he said.

“They live in community with one another, which is not easy. They work in communities that are difficult, and they give, and enough times don’t count the cost.”