I am deeply grateful to my congregation for all the helps and assistance accorded to me in my early formation which opened me to a new understanding and acceptance of the beautiful and worse self – the brokenness of my past and the on-the-process healed present self.
I entered Religious Life when I was nineteen in 2001, had my first profession in 2004 and in 2011 received my perpetual vows. I have been assigned in our education ministry for the past seven years of which I gave my heart for the work which I loved so dearly. After which, I was assigned to our Home for the Elderly Nuns to help in the finance department and for retreat ministry, after two years I was transferred to a seemingly minority group in our congregation the Pastoral ministry, since 2016 up to now I am the Catechetical Coordinator of the Parish in Culion, Palawan.
I finished Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at St. Paul University Surigao. I never dreamt of becoming who I am now. The turn of events came when I was in third year college. It was quick. I went out of my English class and made “tambay” in the corridor, gazing at the ground from the third floor, these thoughts came to me, “Ano ang gagawin ko sa buhay ko? Hindi naman pwede habang buhay barkada lang, or party or gala ng gala ako at friends ko. Darating ang araw magkakaroon kami ng kanyang-kanyang buhay. Ano ang maging akin?” Those thoughts made an impact on me. This became my compass, which eventually defined what I would decide on.
However, that same year, there was a “Vocation Awareness” in our school I did not join but my friend Jay handed me a brochure with a statement, “If a business walks for a mile to earn a centavo, how much more if you walk for a mile to save one soul.” I was so struck with these words but didn’t understand what it meant. Later that year, what keeps ringing on me was the feeling on “I want something that lasts, something that does not end nor are not measured by salary or work time.”
That same year, too, my teammate Michelle in Volleyball was already attending a search-in with the Mensa Domini Sisters. Unknown to her my “inner search” she invited me to join her, and that was the start of being in touch with what I didn’t know then, the “inner search for meaning in life.”
I broke the news to my parents that I want to enter the convent on the eve of my nineteenth birthday in 2001. My parents scolded me and were disappointed, but there was a sort of “certainty” of feeling that “Someone called me for this.”
Everyone was NO to the idea.
Instead of a regular four year course, I finished my bachelor’s degree in three years and one summer I was nineteen years of age. Being a summerian graduate, my father requested if I could take a one semester break before enrolling at San Sebastian. That means, I had four months (June-Sept) rest prior to my Law proper. With those free months I applied in my Alma Mater. I was assigned in the Finance department as voucher clerk and as a part-time substitute teacher. I find this event of my Father’s request to postpone my enrolment as a salient event in my life, had it not been for the postponement of my enrolment I would not become an SPC.
When I was working, my former school paper editor-in-chief Alfredo Dimaano upon learning that I have been attending search-in in other congregation requested the SPC Sisters to have me join in their second Sunday search-in. The accompaniment session of the St. Paul sisters with me began.
I was accepted in both congregations. The Mensa Domini sisters’ entrance was May and for the St. Paul’s August. I wanted to join the Mensa Domini but since the entrance was through, I was requested to wait for another year. And that left me only with St. Paul’s entrance on August. I was proud and self-sufficient then, disobeying my parents, I entered St. Paul in 2001.
Looking back with these events in my life, I can say that I am grateful to all the turnabouts in my life. Those events helped me in my capacity to discern and see God’s hand at work in my life. I can see God is “paki-alamero” in my plans in life only for my good benefits. One example that I can identify is that, I am able to become more surrendering to the Lord especially in my ministry and obedience. There are times when it is difficult for me to accept and understand, yet, whenever I am confronted with my stubbornness, I am always led to realize what God has done before and “look, how great it was!” Another thing that I am grateful is that no what how the turn of events in my life would be – whether the pains that I experience in the community and with superiors, or in my ministry, I know that God has great plans for me.
On August 2018, I will be celebrating my eighteen years in the convent, and eight years as perpetually professed SPC sister. Life is not easy. Life is not fair. There is politics in the convent. Life in the convent is never a bed of roses nor an ideal state, yet, I am certain this is where I want to be. I want to spend my life serving the Lord, loving Him despite my unfaithful heart and stubborn will. When I was a Postulant in 2002, I was asked to make a symbol. I made a cut out two hands holding each other (One bigger than the other). When I was asked to explain, I simply said: “I am telling the Lord to hold my hands tight, as you can see, I have the tendency to let go of this hand. But, if He does, surely I will stay an SPC until my last breath.”
And, I believed, I had my moment already. In 2009, I let go of this hand. I did not apply for my perpetual vows, but He held my hands so tight I can’t let go. And, up to now, He is holding my hands still tight not giving me any chance to let go.
I still have tons of loads of issues I need to face. And every day, I beg the Lord to heal me, to make me whole and make me a better person and more accepting and understanding of all my issues whenever it comes again in another form.
image by Jaime Gonzales