Just as Saint Hannibal, our Father Founder considered the poor as princes and princesses, Mother Elna – superior mother of our Province also called the poor people in Marikina in the Philippines as such.
That beautiful word inspires me to serve and honour the lowest. In the celebration of Mother Nazarena’s 75th birthday in Heaven, 75 poor families were invited to eat in our “small restaurant “. Our garden, although small, became beautiful like a little restaurant because of the presence and smiles of these princes and princesses.
Therefore, all of us – the Sisters, novices and postulants as well as the teachers from both schools of Padre Annibale School in Marikina and Padre Annibale Integrated School in Laoag – served them happily. The food was carefully prepared with much love and attention from the part of the Sisters.
After the sumptuous lunch, a short program with intervals of games and prize-giving was organised for them. They really enjoyed it so much, young and old alike!
This celebration made me remember one Holy Thursday when my spiritual Father also invited many poor people in his parish for an important party. He asked us to prepare the party solemnly like that of a wedding and we served them enthusiastically. During the party, the boys who were living with him murmured: “Why do we have to waste time for a party for ordinary laity, not even priests or bishops?” But my spiritual Father scolded them saying: “Do not be lazy, this is the beauty of religious life.” I realised once again the beauty of the religious life through this event.
After the celebration, I saw 75 families leave with heavy packs of food, full of happiness and joy externalised on their rustic and ingenuous faces. Indeed, the people had brought bliss to me and to this day my mind is always reminded that I must honour and serve the poor happily and I have to regard them as princes and princesses.
Together with the party on that last Holy Thursday in my parish, the 75th death anniversary of Mother Nazarena is not only an important lesson but also a meaningful example for me to be called to serve, love and see God in the poor, the unhappy, the least and the outcast as Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus said to her companion, “for you are the image of God, I love you”.
Postulant Teresa Nguyen Thi Hao