July-August 2000

Ask No Questions

By Sr. Jeanette Matela, SSpS

Happy Mistakes

I wanted to join the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary because my cousin who was with them was sent to Africa. But my spiritual director –an SVD – by mistake dropped my letter expressing my desire to enter the convent in the Holy Spirit convent Quezon City instead of the FMM convent in Tagaytay. When the reply and application forms came from the SSpS sister, I was surprised. I did not want to join them because I already knew them. I had been working as secretary to Mother Fidentina, SSpS, Principal of the Girls High School, University of San Carlos, Cebu City. Anyway I filled up the form and mailed it back to them. And the rest is history. I have no regrets.

Those Who Make Reform Impossible...

By Sean Farrell, Columban lay missionary

Chiquita Redosendo, a 27-year –old mother of two, comes from the small village of San Vicente, Bukidnon. I met her when she, alongside her companions, took the drastic step of going on a hunger strike to protest what has been happening to them. This was in October 1997 but their story begins long before this.

Return To The Killing Fields

By Gee-Gee O. Torres

We sent our Assistant Editor, Gee-Gee Torres, to Cambodia to visit the six Filipino congregations in that Southeast Asian country and to see how they were doing. Here she shares with us in the first of several articles part of her own missionary experience. (Ed.)


By Salve Nasol Pakson

The clouds were forebodingly gray that day. But it didn’t bother me. I was just a kid – about five years old-and, all I knew, this was going to be another fun day with my Papa. He was a driver for ALATCO Pantranco Bus Company, daily plying the Ligao – Albay route surrounding scenic Mayon Volcano, winding along the seashore. Papa often brought me along because I suffered asthma and the breeze from the sea did wonders for my lungs.

Letter To A Young Activist

By Thomas Merton

Extract from a letter to Jim Forest from the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, dated February 21, 1966; the full text is published in The Hidden Ground of Love, edited by William Shannon; New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1985.

Jim Forest is now Editor of In Communion, the journal of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship.

Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.

Oasis In The Desert

By Sr. Mary Ignatius Aquino osb

Sister Mary Ignatius Aquino was appointed to the difficult task of Novice Directress in Ndanda Priory, Tanzania. Here she shares her reflection.

Tanzania is a poor country on the west coast of Africa but it is rich in faith. So what better place for the ancient order of St. Benedict to come and set up monasteries as havens of prayer, peace and love. Sr. Mary Ignatius Aquino, a Filipino Benedictine, has been appointed to the Ndanda priority in Tanzania as Novice Mistress. Her job is to introduce young Nigerian women to the spiritual life and equip them with the convictions that will help them to persevere in their journey to holiness.

The Noble Aetas

An interview with Donal O’ Dea, ssc

They live in the Northern Philippines and have retained their own way of life for two thousand years despite many attempts to make them change. The catastrophic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 presented a new challenge to their existence.

The ‘First Time Ever’ Altar Boy

By Fr. Paul Richardson ssc

My father was a bus driver in Boston and always worked the earliest possible shift, so he always got up early. It was his job to drive the first of the daytime busses out of the bus company garage at 6:30 in the morning. (There were two nighttime busses that drove around our town in apposite directions all night.) My father got up at 5:30 in the morning and left the house for work at 6:00 o’clock. Between the opening and closing of doors and other related noises, I was always wide awake when he left the house. And since I didn’t have to be at school until 8:15, I became very religious. The morning Mass on weekdays in our parish was 6:30 a.m. and I started going to Mass every day. The church was only ten minutes away from our house.

We Lepers

By Sr. Georgina Delgado op

Blessed Damien De Veuster, SS.CC.

Born               : January 3, 1840
Died                : April 15, 1889
Feast Day       : May 10

Molokai, known as the leper colony island of Hawaii, is located west of Maui, the island where I am presently stationed.

Since I first came here to Hawaii in 1982, I have been keeping this secret desire in my heart to see Father Damien’s grave and the place were he demonstrated the greatest act of love. My opportunity came when hundreds of people from other islands, the mainland and even Europe gathered in Molokai to celebrate the interment of Blessed Damien’s relics. But first let me tell you about Blessed Damien.

Damien De Veuster, a young Belgian priest, had served nine years as a missioner in the Hawaiian Islands when he felt called to request a perilous assignment. He asked his superiors that he be allowed to serve on the island of Molokai, the notorious leper colony.

A Miracle For Donnie

First of a series by Donnie Lama

It was a case of mistaken identity. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I was jailed by accident. But looking back on that fateful day I am certain that I was serving the right purpose of God.

The Saudi authorities were looking for a murderer. They though I was the murderer. But they found out later that I was not and I will never be the murderer. What they found in me instead after torture and maltreatment was a photo where I was holding up the body of Christ during communion service. The authorities did not find a gun or a knife or anything that would tie me to the killing incident. What they fund in my room was the reason why I was in jail – my hands holding the body of Lord.

My Farewell

By Fr. Cresencio Suarin

I arrived at Lahore International Airport via Karachi on April 30, 1993. As I went to the Baggage Claim Area to collect my belongings, to my surprise, my baggage could not be found. However I was assured that I would get it after a few days.

Room For One More At The Table Of Life

By Sr. Jazmin Peralta ssc

The new family life poster that came recently was very good and meaningful. It is really captured what every little helpless human being inside the womb of all expectant mothers would wish to say: “Mom, I too want a birthday.” I could imagine how that tiny, little creature would hope to see the light of day and celebrate a birthday.

A Miracle For Donnie Part II

First of a series by Donnie Lama

By Donnie Lama


They thought I was a Priest

It was then that the police brought out the photo albums and went through them hurriedly. They saw the picture that they would use against me. it was a picture taken on Dec. 29, 1984, when I first officiated a Eucharistic Service after being anointed as Lay Minister of the underground Catholic Church for the Filipino Group. The picture showed me while I was leading the group in prayer. The community, which I helped organize, regularly met for fellowship very early in the morning when the Arabs were still fast asleep. We started with six persons then the community grew to a little less than a hundred in just two to three months, which necessitated us to meet in smaller groups during the week. I was consulted on important plans and decisions in the spiritual care of Filipino Christians. In times of crisis, I would also mobilize my community in responding to those in need.