Loving and Committed Attitudes
In my new parish assignment, I am blessed to have met wonderful ladies who were named after our Blessed Mother. I would like to share my experience with them.
Nana Maria became an additional mother to me when I came to live in her household for a month before I was able to move into the fl at that was rented for me. She is a widow with three children: a son who is her eldest child and two daughters. The very day that I came to live with them she told me that I was considered already part of the family.
Nana Maria is very active in the parish as well as in the archdiocese. Whenever she's out and about, she treats everyone warmly with her gentle smile and happy greetings. During her service as a commission head, I saw her unwavering commitment to service to the extent that it has become part of her already. She encouraged everyone under her wings to do their best in their ministries, take courage and not to be afraid because God is with them always.
But it wasn't all easy for Nana Maria; I saw her face trials as well— whether they were regarding church, work or family. She faced them with her head held high. I asked her one day while chatting with her over lunch, "Nana, how are you keeping up with all of these trials?" Her answer? Love. She said that at fi rst it didn't make sense to her, but as she got to know and to understand her ministry deeper, she began to learn to love it thus becoming a part of her.
The same is true with her family; it is her love for her family that gives her the strength to keep on standing by them and with them.
Aunty Maria is a community leader of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Community. I was told that her community is a challenging one when it comes to participation. Indeed, I saw it when I went to visit: it seemed as though perhaps only three to four families are actively participating in the church or community activities.
If there are two things that I admire about Aunty Maria they are her love and commitment to her community. She goes around visiting them almost every week whenever she is blessed with good health—constantly asking how they are and requesting them to assist the community in the church activities.
Aunty Maria is also a warm and welcoming person. And, despite rejection and mockery from others in the faith community, she still keeps on. The community is not her only responsibility; she is also taking care of her daughter who is challenged. But that does not stop her from being the way she is.
The Blessed Mother
Both women are named after the Blessed Mother and both have inherited the loving and committed attitude of Our Lady. In their life journeys, they have never left the foot of the Cross; yet, they adored the Cross that is the source of their strength to withstand whatever tribulations in their lives. And like the Blessed Mother, they knew the cost when they decided to follow Him—tears, rejection, ridicule, and most importantly, blessings and joy. As I journey with these women, I see a deeper kind of joy that is beyond words. As I journey with them, I am further inspired and strengthened to keep hanging on.
Marjorie Engcoy is a Columban lay missionary.