September 25, 2023

Saint Paul writes how to determine the presence of the Holy Spirit in our families, churches, and communities.
Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (Corinthians 13:11-13)
Sister Lourdes Sepulchre is 97 years old but she remains active and always smiling. She is the oldest sister of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (SIHM) religious congregation.
The journey of the SIHM Sisters at 71 years from its genesis is about the love of the Holy Trinity.
Being with them was pure joy and inspiration. Sister Superior Corazon Sanchez with her persistent invitation encouraged me to facilitate their spiritual recollection. Indeed, it was so inspiring to see and listen to their journey as religious sisters of the SIHM after 71 years of hesed.
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word to mean, loving faithfulness.
The five topics we pondered upon as servants of the Lord were; shema, yadah, binah, anawim, and hesed.
“Shema” means hear. We don’t only hear with our ears but we hear with our hearts. Even with their matured age, the sisters did not only hear but listened. It was inspiring to see them react and participate well.
“Yadah” means intimacy. We listen in order to know. We know in order to love better. Relationships can come in different degrees. We read in the scriptures how Jesus repeatedly asked Peter, “Peter do you love me?” Jesus was trying to elevate the level of love in Peter from infatuation, to reciprocity, to selfless love.
We love without any condition just as the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three persons but one God in love.
“Binah” means intuition. Women have stronger intuition than men especially the mothers who can easily sense their responsibility over their children.
“Anawim” is the plural form of the Old Testament, a Hebrew word to mean the poor and humble people of God. Women and children are always considered the anawim of God and for that, God is their defender.
It was pure joy to communicate with the elderly sisters.
Sister Belen is 93 while others are in their 90s. They are still energetic as shown when they repeatedly asked my name, “Anya gayam ti naganmo?”
It was also providential to be part of the rite of acceptance of Sister Leizle Pangangay to the SIHM congregation.
Young and old novice participated in the SIHM recollection last May 3. It was a beautiful recollection because everybody manifested unity and harmony, and learned with enthusiasm and joy despite their age. Dozing off was not a problem because everybody was participating, listening, and singing.
We were inspired by the SIHM sisters. My companions, Jordan Chalapasis has decided to enter the seminary and Shan Tudlong is discerning to enter the nunnery.

The Holy Family Church of Sadsadan, Bauko Mountain Province is a community that can spell the blooming liturgical life of the people that is truly inspiring.
I presided the Holy Eucharist for the Sadsadan community due to persistent request. I was indeed reinvigorated having observedthe beautiful practices.
The people arrived one hour before the Holy Mass.
An hour before the Holy Mass, I heard the music ministry rehearsing the songs.
Men and women attended the Holy Mass and responded attentively to the dialogue.
Children and youth were active as altar servers.
Lectors were in decent vestments and were attentive.
After the Holy Mass, some elderly men invited us for coffee and conversation.
We left Sadsadan with vegetables from the people.
I am grateful for the warm accommodation through MPC president Bro. Mario Gaoiken, Mesdames Candida Laus and Nora and for the breakfast.
Gratitude goes to the priests who had been inculcating learnings to attain best practices especially to the Society of the Divine Word priests who stayed with the community for more than a decade.
Reach me at [email protected].