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September-October 2009 Cover
‘Arlenne’, with a prolonged hold on the second syllable, was the way people at home called me when I was a child in order for me to do something. And then it was followed by ‘Marika’ (Come here) if it was my mother who called or ‘Dali diri’ (Come here) if somebody else. I would answer immediately saying, ‘O,’ which meant ‘Yes’, and then went to the person who called me.
Being an obedient child, I always followed what I was asked to do, sometimes willingly, and other times not so willingly...
‘I might be in a wrong group’, I thought as I was attending Mass. It was kind of different. After the prayers of the faithful, when the people themselves offered individual petitions and then everyone going up to the sanctuary, the priest at the center of the altar and the faithful surrounding it. My dilemma was enlightened when the priest said, ‘for Benedict our Pope, and Matthew our Bishop’. I sighed in relief...
‘Christi simus non nostri. Perigrinari pro Christo’, I chanted repeatedly as I walked in the dark on my last day towards Agoo. I had been walking for days and sleeping wherever darkness caught me. During the Spiritual Year, the first year of formation, it has become a tradition for Columban seminarians to go on pilgrimage either from Malolos, Bulacan, to Manaoag, Pangasinan, or from Apalit, Pampanga, to Agoo, La Union. Without money, we ask for food and water from the people we meet on our way. At night we also ask around for a place to sleep...
Change is everywhere especially these days of autumn when the leaves of the trees turn yellow, orange, red, pink, brown and are later blown off by the chilly wind.
So my life this year is totally different than during my previous missions in Rome and Chile-Bolivia. I arrived in the USA province on 21 May, the birth anniversary of our foundress, Blessed Mary of the Passion, and in the receiving room or sala of our Manhattan convent her photo touched me with the message ‘We need missionaries’. This gave me the impetus to open myself to whatever He sends me...