Life beyond teaching

Life is the most precious gift that we have receive from God.  Life is not just about appreciating the gifts I personally have but also the gifts that come along my way and become part of my life’s treasures. The children who are in dire need of care and love and most especially wisdom are some of my dearest treasures. When God called me to become a catechesis teacher in the Tahanang Divino Zelo (with the Daughters of Divine Zeal) Silang, Cavite in the Philippines every Sunday, I felt that this was the time of giving service to children.

Children playing
It is quite inspiring and encouraging when in the first hour of the morning I can already see the smiles that rush upon the children’s faces and their eyes that speak of their hunger to learn more. I know that there is a need to instil in them this: “To know God is the first stage of wisdom”.

At first it was very hard for me to teach the children because they come from different families, influences and backgrounds. But as time went by, with all the things I have learned from their lives, sharing simple thoughts and complicated experiences, I began to love it, and to engage in the exchange of different ideas with them, sharing their cries and laughter. This somehow opened our doors to start caring and be comfortable with one another.

I know that the knowledge that I impart with them may not be enough but I believe that with the little I do share with them, I can slowly help them to discover and enhance the giftedness they have as a person created by God. This gives me a life beyond teaching.

Ms Cherry Solero, UPV
3rd Year Education
Rogationist College-Silang, Cavite, Philippines

We remember, we celebrate, we live

Two FDZ PostulantsThe 75th Death Anniversary of Mother Nazarena (25 January), Co-foundress of FDZ Congregation was the occasion for all members of Rogate family gathering to review her legacy. With the presence of Sr Lisa and Sr Rita, representatives of our Mother General – Teolinda Salemi and her council. Moreover, the day’s events were really meaningful because of the 75 poor families invited. In the homily of Fr Herman (RCJ), he repeated many times the word of Mother Nazarena: “If we have Jesus, we have everything”.

Mother Nazarena was a simple woman but “Her heart full of love”. Yes, Mother’s heart was full of love for she always saw Jesus in the poor and the orphans. Although she did not have many writings, her life was a treasure for me to learn about; especially, about how she entrusted to the will and providence of God in every circumstance of her life.

For me as a Postulant I have learned how to trust God more and to be humble enough to acknowledge that I am nothing and that God is all, following the example of Mother Nazarena.

Poverty is not only the lack of material things.  Through the poor people whom I met on that day, I was reminded that I am also a poor person in front of God, and I must hope in His mercy.

Lucia Bui Thi Huyen Linh

Using Facebook to share faith, hope, love…

on-facebookWe hope that our blog subscribers and other readers of our blog are enjoying the vocation stories and reflections.  To add to the sharing on our blog we have been using:

We are pleased to announce that we are expanding that spirit of sharing through our new Daughters of Divine Zeal Australia Facebook page.

Please feel welcome to like our page and continue to share faith, hope, love and more as we each journey on with God in our own vocations as religious and laypeople.

A matter of choice

What is the difference between the women of yesterday and of this generation?  One source that I have read provides a clear-cut narrative of the differences between women of yesterday and of today says:  women of the past were uneducated, suppressed and submissive, while women of today are educated and are not suppressed easily.  With more rights now and to take note… women have different definitions for what is and is not beautiful.  Truly we cannot repudiate that the mass media affects the values of each young individual and their aspirations in life.  The mass media use diversified technologies to reach a large audience by widespread communication through print, broadcasting, outdoor media, digital, public speaking, event organisation and the internet wherein various communication and the latest information are alluded to and disclosed.  Through the mass media, some women are drawn to fad and fancy when it comes to their physical appearance.  Some are concerned to appear beautiful and absolutely impeccable or perfect beyond criticism.  Many women look forward to a controlled age and become so fretful with their physical looks.

Young woman
Beauty pageants are the peak of the fashion and beauty industry nowadays.  Some young Filipinas vie for a chance in these notable gala of beauties.  What is the reason behind this? Perhaps it is for pleasure, ambition to become a beauty queen, a stepping stone in the fashion world or just for fun.  It is a choice from an individual that we ought to respect.

Does a vocation to religious life still flourish despite the challenges that the world casts out?  This is not a new encounter. What makes it new is the set up and the way we respond to this encounter which the world calls “change”. The harvest is still great and workers are still few. Holy individuals who radically follow Christ are scars because of the world’s statement of this being a foolish choice in life, that it is fruitless to share one’s sacrifice for a greater service especially for those who want to be totally owned by Christ, living the Gospel for the service of the Church and for the salvation of souls. The soul who has felt the invitation of God must not be afraid nor hesitate as this is the deceiving line of attack of the evil one in response to this mysterious and one-of-a-kind Divine solicitation.

Left: Blessed Elizabeth of Trinity OCD  Right: Madre Nazarena Majone FDZ

Left: Blessed Elizabeth of Trinity OCD Right: Madre Nazarena Majone FDZ

Many of the young women of yesterday like Blessed Elizabeth of Trinity (member of the Order of Discalced Carmelites), St Faustina Kowalska (member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy congregation) and Mother Nazarena Majone (co-foundress of the Daughters of Divine Zeal congregation), offered at a young age to allow themselves to be immersed in the abyss of God’s love, to be God’s subject of His friendship, of His mercy and of His love. To be the bride of Christ and eternally united with Him. They who understand the real beauty that lies within find it more than majestic. They are the bouquets of lilies for Christ alone. It is the unchanged calling of today to all the young women who at this time search for the greater meaning of life. Who at this time are being carried off by the publicity that life is perfect when you are equally without blemish externally.

Left: St Maria Faustina Kowalska OLM   Right: Beauty Queen

Left: St Maria Faustina Kowalska OLM Right: Beauty Queen

St Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians said that God has called us to live not in impurity but in holiness and if a choice has been made to devote one’s life to God then one is concerned for nothing but the Lord’s affairs, to be holy in body and spirit which is more than the world can shout from the rooftop. Life is not a matter of chance but of choice and to answer God’s call is a choice to win the unfading crown of glory. The crown that awaits all of us without any distinction, colour or race that truly gives life. It does not fade nor wither.  This choice is yours!

Sr M Glenda Galanido, fdz
Philippines

Tending the young flock of God

Considering the youth of today we can’t repudiate the realities that touch the entirety of their person. Many factors have an absolute influence on them as they grow and fit their lives into the world such as their peer group, the community, cultural changes, and their family practices.  These do not only affect their views but also their faith in God. Their relationship with God and neighbour are the perceptible consequences on how those components modify their naïve minds.

The youth are both the hope as well as a great challenge for the life of the Church. Youth is an age of increasing spiritual interest and insight, of searching for authentic values and increased responsibility (cf NNCDftPhil 179). I have to agree with this statement as I have personally experienced the tangible unfeigned quests of these young souls.  They wonder about life and are eager to discover more and craft conclusions as they face the confrontations of life. They are the young harvests that are so dear to the heart of Christ and of Fr Hannibal.  Looking into their friable souls they hunger for an in-depth and intimate care – physically, emotionally and even more so, spiritually.

Padre Annibale Integrated School students with FDZ  Sister
Being in the teaching apostolate, I am placed in an environment where I can see how the young, spirited and adventurous flock of God needs a sister, a friend and even a mother who will hold out for a lengthy time and with great patience with their demands. Incredibly, this distinct mission allows me to put into the depth the Gospel message when Jesus said to his disciples “let the children come to me”. Day by day I try to introduce them to the beauty of life with Christ as their ultimate companion and friend. Encouraging them to hold on to their faith as they face the imperfections of life set before them, guiding them to make choices in life wisely and reminding them of their responsibilities as students and as Christians are actually a piece of this great divine mission and in the interests of Christ’s heart. I teach but I am actually taught by them and most of all by Christ who leads me to be more humble before Him in this apostolate.

Tending the young flock of God enables me to re-evaluate my life as a Daughter of Divine Zeal. Sharing my being I keep on asking Jesus in the Sacrament to give me enough grace to serve Him and love Him all the more through these souls – the joy of His heart. The young PAISians (students of the Padre Annibale Integrated School in the Philippines) are the future of the Church who will carry out the mission of Christ and the harvest as well as the labourers themselves who will propagate Rogate in their time. To be a witness of God’s word and of faith day after day, the faith that is not an illusion nor a mere sentiment but a transforming grace from heaven.  This I continually pray on my knees, at His feet.

Youth with FDZ Sister
Mother Nazarena, a teacher and mother, is the person with whom I always hold on to this apostolate, though teaching is really my passion. I consider her as my consultant and adviser because she is not only a teacher who lived a saintly life but also a faithful daughter of St Annibale, a Divine zeal with the heart of a mother, a friend and a sister to the young flock of God.

When the school year is over and this humble work is entrusted into the hands of God, I recognise all my limitations and flaws. Yet, I am grateful to God as always for the immense blessings on my journey. He has called me and used me in His kingdom and here, I, unworthy of my strength, answer Him: “Send O Lord, Holy apostles into your Church!  And, Lord, send me!”

Sr M Glenda D Galanido, fdz

Even for one soul

Youth venerates cross
One fine day, a Priest who was the Retreat Master of the Rogationist College personnel who happened to know me quite well asked me while thinking about all the things that I do, “Why do you have to do this?”  A simple question but one that puzzled me a bit. I did not answer immediately because I was robbed by the inner thought “why did he ask me so?” He sees all my initiatives with the youth and with the school blended with so much creativity and enthusiasm. But why do all this? I know the reason why I do the things but my little self- reserve prompted me to answer, “I just have to do it”

My answer may appear as if I am uncertain about what and why I do it. Let judgement reach to the skies but I know what rests in my heart is the fire within that says, “Even for one soul”. This is what I learned from our dear founder, St Annibale Maria Di Francia. We endeavour the best we can for the good of ONE SOUL.

I am presently doing my mission as a Campus Ministry Coordinator in the Rogationist College, Silang Cavite in the Philippines where I engage so much on ‘what more I can do to enrich the spiritual life of the students and personnel’. As I go over every program, the fire within pushes me to think how such an activity can be remembered and leave something in the heart and mind of each person. I believe that no matter how delicious the food is you’ll get jaded if the same taste is repeatedly offered. Yes, to think of adding other accents in the activities may be burdensome but to make things more meaningful to others is light.

FDZ Sister with youth
My first year in the ministry was a battle between the time for preparing lessons for teaching, organising activities and formation program for students and personnel. It was big! But when I came to learn that there was so much hunger in the youth to get involved in simple missionary activity in the school, their hunger to belong and to be more expressive in their faith, I felt a push to take care of these souls. With Fr Vincent and Fr Gabby, RCJ we created a new name that would identify the group who pray and work for vocations within the demands of their respective clubs and/or school ministries. The ‘ERGATES’ (Greek word meaning ‘workers’) actually a coined name for all the UPV members – both teachers and students. UPV-ERGATES stands as the Main Apostolate of the Campus Ministry under which are all ministries in the campus. Campaigns and several meetings were held to establish this new strategic program. Fortunately, during one of our Friday Masses, more than 400 students and teachers were accepted as members.

Likewise, in order for them to understand their spirituality which is according to that of St Annibale, we organized a 3-day Camp last August at the Brothers of Christ institute at General Trias, Cavite with its theme: “ERGATES go into the vineyard”. Students and teachers shared responsibilities to make this happen.

It was a long, laborious preparation but beyond it was the joy that comes from the consoling result that many of them were so happy, thankful and empowered to serve God through their potentials, especially because it was the first time to they experienced that kind of camp.

There is so much to be done if we wish for the good of the other. There is so much to be done if we are pushed by hope and passion that one day, somehow, one soul will recognise the goodness of God in her/his life. This is just one of my simple mission discoveries… one of my consoling moments and there is still more to come.

Sr Darlen Pardillo, fdz
Philippines

A journey inward… onward!

My day to day experiences serve as filters through which I am able to know myself better and to get to know more about Jesus inside out. The longings of my soul and the call of mission are forces that haunt me powerfully. Thus, with conviction to follow my life’s project, commitment and perseverance become my allies.

mountains

Combating my own struggles in the midst of doubts and inner conflicts, I acknowledge that indeed discernment requires patience, honesty and interiority.

Thankful for the opportunity of a week-long retreat before going to Vintar in the Philippines as my new assignment, I was able to re-discover and verify my own calling and uniqueness, my passion, my vision and my mission as a Daughter of Divine Zeal.

Inward… once in my journey I was like Alice in Wonderland:

She comes upon a crossroads.
She stops and wonders which path to take.
She doesn’t know what to do. Suddenly she notices a hare.
She runs to meet him and says, “I have come to a crossroads;
could you tell me which path I should take?”
The hare asks her, “where do you want to go?”
shrugging her shoulders, Alice replies, “I don’t know!”
“Well then, young lady,” answers the hare, “You may take either path.”

Then God reminded me:  “you did not choose Me. It is I who chose you... (Jn 15:16)” Fascinated – and it still fascinates me – God chose me! It assured me once again of His loving presence.

Thus, I take the path Onward…

rogate

Rogate – pray! Image courtesy of Sr Elvira Plazuelo fdz

The simplicity of life in Vintar influences my day to day choices. My first real experience in pastoral work offers me ample opportunity to be in communion with myself, with people of diverse cultures and beliefs and above all  with our Mother Nature. Again, I am challenged to journey onward and assimilate the reality of ROGATE where I am sent by the congregation. The journey may at times  be mountainous, or at times continuously flowing, or sometimes dry and stony but who can separate us from the LOVE and MERCY of God?

Indeed, … facing the change can CHANGE everything!

Sr M Connie Borjal, fdz
Philippines

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