Nazareth

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Saturday, May 3, 2014


HIDDEN treasure is the house of Nazareth.

Simple and laced with the grace of humility capture the essence of the "Shop of Nazareth" we visited at the Teacher's Village, Diliman, Quezon City. The 50 workers were sewing and embroidering priestly vestments like chausubles, stolas, and albs. The delicacy of artistry was clearly stamped on every article they worked on.

My good friend, who also witnessed this scene shared the following account:

"This is a shop which is managed and run by the Siervas de san jose sisters. What I find most striking here is the way the shop has been set up to provide young women with skills and work options in this day when they most need it.

We came at around 8:00 am in the morning (Saturday) just in time for shibashi exercises led by one of the sisters. They moved with such grace, I held my tears back.

We introduced ourselves to them stating who we (Malu and I) were and where we come from and why we were visiting. I said from where I come from I saw young women who had the least of the options. I was curious to find out about the program.

The receiving area, which displayed the finished work – demonstrated the artistry of handwork and craftsmanship that the young workers possess. A worker is not detached from the product of her labor, for she can claim that this one is a result .of her creativity, artistry, patience, and skill.

The workers, around fifty of them received the minimum wage plus an allowance of 50 pesos per day for each worker. This would be enough if the young women didn’t have to support their families as well. Most contributed financially to their families. Most of the workers live in community. They have a place, which the sisters helped in establishing for them, then run the household as a community.

A requirement to be part of the “Talleres” is that the young womanbelong to a poor family and she agrees to be trained and be part of the program. What I noted was the women here are provided with training for livelihood; there is value formation program; there is a sense and feeling of solidarity and community; and long term supports (like cooperative and housing) are in place.

The women learn to sew, to embroider or to make the tassles. Sr. Maria Flora shared a touching story of a young woman named Ading who has not turned up outstanding work, but recently produced fine work. Added to this is the fact that Ading has demonstrated outstanding conscientiousness to the work. Sr. Maria Flora says that maturity indeed comes at different ages to different people. We have to believe everyone is inherently good. A person flowers in her own pace. That seed of goodness is inside each one of us.

I wish that there were more programs like these. It provides young women not only with skills for survival but with heart that believes in the self, in the importance of community. The women move with dignity. One woman shared that her dream is to be a missionary someday. I pray that she is able to do this.

As I leave, I somehow caught the sense of love and hope flowing in this place called Talleres. “

Finale

Thank you dear writer friend for your words.

Finding the sense of humility, commitment, and idealism I am constantly searching for, I am inspired by a Nazareth home in the Philippines.

Dear reader, may you, too, find the way of Nazareth as an ideal place of work in attaining peace.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 04, 2014.

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