Women Missionaries of courage and compassion-A A +A
Bahin sang Bubay
Friday, March 15, 2013
KNOWING that doing so will surely bring forth criticisms from among the conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church, the Missionaries of the Assumption chose to give in to their compassion for the poor and the rejected, rather than close their eyes to what they deemed as unjust and uncalled for, and so they thought their actions were only appropriate and fitting.
Sr. Roselyn, one of the young missionaries later said she was glad to see the children of the “Pablo” victims happily playing at the playground, and at the same time, she felt a kind of pinch in her heart that brought on the tears. A question bogged her about the situation of these people whom she could see were only after what they needed most: food.
It was a heart-warming sight to see the Sisters waiting anxiously but patiently for the women, children and their men-folk who were barricading the Davao office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. As dusk slowly pulled the shadows of uncertainty and weariness felt by over 3,000 calamity-stricken people from different areas in Compostela Valley and Davao oriental, the Sisters and many among its educators felt an overwhelming compassion for them.
It was a case of history ‘repeating itself’, remembers one of the sisters, who was clearly worried about the beleaguered folks who had been through some grueling and uncertain time out in Suazo streets facing the office of DSWD. The feeling was shared by some members of the faculty of Assumption College of Davao, who, together with some of the Sisters, have watched over and prayed for a peaceful process as the restive people clamour for the needed assistance that was all they wanted to have for three days.
Known for its pro-people stance in its educational approaches and methodologies, the Assumption community’s spontaneous response to the situation at hand, where God’s people have become agitated and threatened only reflect its faithfulness to its Vision, Mission and Goals. It’s Vision unmistakably states, thus:
“An institution acknowledged for quality transformative education characterized by active social involvement towards a society that is just, humane, nationalist, democratic, peaceful, faith motivated and interconnected with the totality of God’s creation.”
Had the ACD community closed its eyes to the reality of God’s suffering people, it would have made itself irrelevant to its calling of being the fortress of God’s infinite love for us and the last sanctuary for God’s lost flock. We would have lost the true meaning of our existence as educators who...
“...are dedicated to the development of an integrated person who is committed to take part effectively in the TRANSFORMATION and TRUE DEVELOPMENT of society through a nationalistic, scientific and MASS-ORIENTED EDUCATION. We are also committed to the development of HOLISTIC SPIRITUALLY to sustain our SOLIDARITY WITH THE POOR. We strive to create a school community that is permeated by the gospel spirit of joy, simplicity and love.”
Hence, when the children found the “Pablo victims” inside the school premises the following morning, some of the children were not at all surprised to see them, and even went out of their way to talk and learn something from their experience.
This is the kind of education that ACD is pursuing, a learning that is not confined within the four walls of the classroom and in effect isolates itself from the society at large and the real world that is in peril. Children learn not only from the textbooks, but from the real world outside the campus, because ACD believes that survival can be taught more effectively from the perspective of the players and not just spectators.
Hence, for them, it is worth the flak. The grateful smiles that they see from the faces of the children, women and their men-folk as they left the campus towards their own places of origin was enough reward for the ACD community. They do not ask for more.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 16, 2013.