SHE was the 2005 recipient of Sun.Star Davao’s Gawad Dabawenyo, an award initiative by Sun.Star given every five years to honor Dabawenyos who not only made good in their fields of endeavor but also contributed a lot for nation-building. She was honored as one of Davao’s most respected and stalwart educators along with former Philippine Women’s College of Davao president Atty. Rosa Santos Munda. The distinction given, however, is not even enough to thank her for the lives she has molded and the activities she has initiated throughout her life here in Davao.
On her death last June 16, 2012, Mother Ma. Assumpta M. David RVM is remembered as a mother like no other, taking under her wings tens of thousands of children of all ages and bringing them to the path of good citizenry.
Interestingly, not much has been written about her life. Google-ing her name showed bits and pieces of her life, but never a whole.
Those bits and pieces, however, will present a woman who never stopped learning and who never stopped teaching.
The citation for the Bishop Clovis Thibault Award given by the Ateneo de Davao University this year to Mother Assumpta for her exemplary service to God and country, had the most information on the multi-faceted and very active life she lived beneath her habit.
President of the University of Immaculate Conception, she was also president of the Association of Private and State Colleges and Universities 11, the Regional Association of Higher Education Institutions of the Commission on Higher Education, the Davao Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Private Schools Athletic Association.
She was also the Regional 11 Director of the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (Ceap) and chair of the governing board of the Christian Children’s Fund.
She was member of the Regional Health Research and Development Consortium 11 for 2011-2012
The citation continues:
“She is recognized for having founded the Mother Ignacia Center for Spirituality in Quezon City during her term as Superior General of the Religious of Virgin Mary (RVM) congregation when she also established the mission houses in four continents, a home for the lay elderly in Calamba, Laguna, and religious formation houses in Indonesia and Africa while working for the beatification of the RVM Foundress, Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo.
“To prepare the RVM for meaningful service in its various ministries, she aggressively pursued the continuing education of RVM sisters. For the last eight of the 11 years she served as Superior General, she represented the Superiors General of Southeast Asia as a council member of the International Union of Superiors General.
“In 1988, she received the Datu Bago Award, the highest recognition given by the City of Davao to individuals who have contributed selflessly to the development of Davao. A first among equals, she sat as president of the Datu Bago organization until her death.
“In 1996, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin DD granted her the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award for her service to the Church. Mother Assumpta was also the recipient that year of the Archdiocesan Award from the Church of Davao through Archbishop Antonio Mabutas DD.”
As an educator, she was also a perpetual student. She earned her Master of Arts in Psychology (meritissimus) from the University of Santo Tomas and competed her PhD in Education Administration with a gold medal for academic excellence at that from the University of the Philippines. After that, she went on to study Spiritual Leadership at the Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, DC.
All throughout, she was also attending seminars and taking short courses here and abroad.
She was named as Outstanding Alumna of UST in 2000, was conferred a Doctor of Humanity Honoris Causa by the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan in 1997, Notre Dame of Marbel University in 2010, and Dela Salle University-Dasmarinas in 2011.
She was among the handful of Dabawenyos who initiated the establishment of Boys Town in Davao in 1970. Initiated by Dr. Lourdes Solis, Boys Town was established that year with Fr. Miguel Varela SJ, Carlos Millete, Dr. Benjain Cruzada, Sebastian Angliongto, Dr. Lourdes Aportadera, Esperanza Santos, and the Duterte matriarch, Soledad Roa Duterte.
On the academic front, she also embraced e-learning as early as 2000 spearheaded the full integration e-Learning concepts and applications university-wide, from the elementary and high school departments to the college level.
Her passing away took everyone by surprise, many saying she still was very sprightly just months, weeks, or even days before. But that was how she lived her life, serenely but always in a quick succession of actions, apparently with the realization that mortals only have a limited time in the world and there is so much that has to be done.
Mother Assumpta was buried yesterday, Saturday, at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.
Editor’s Note: To give fresh insight to a life well-lived, Sun.Star sought out two student writers of the University of Immaculate Conception to write down their memories about Mother Assumpta David. Here are the articles they were able to come up with in such short notice. We thank their fellow student Gracielle Ma. Rosette Enobio for her very valuable assistance.