The events that unfolded on this day was another manifestation of God’s goodness and unending grace. I was starting to feel emotionally and physically exhausted from the beginning of this week but this Thursday finally took its toll on me. I was already looking forward to another night of restless stupor but when my brother picked me up from work today, he told me that Sister Gina has arrived earlier that day. I couldn’t thank God enough for saving me from myself. I’m not yet confident to write about my faith in public but I fully agree on the saying that God works in mysterious ways and He indeed has an amazing way of healing. So, meet my Day 12 heroine, Sister Gina.
The year was 2006 and it was Davao City’s turn to host the annual National Youth Day. It’s an activity approved by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines on 1986, to quote, “as a way for concretizing its preferential apostolate for the youth”. Anyway, this event meant that people of faith, as well as the youth would come from different parts of the country to visit and participate in the many activities. The local church was just a stone’s throne away (such a dramatic idiom but I like it) from our house. And from my late grandmother to my younger brother, every generation in our family had someone who actively participated both in masses and the Church community in general. So I was not surprised when my dad told we would be one of the foster homes for the nuns. That’s where we met Sister Gina and Sister Reggie. To be honest and I do feel bad for having to admit this, I don’t really remember much of Sister Reggie or the events of the 2006 NYD. I was having graduation jitters as early as December, not to mention the pre-college phase I was going through. Anyway, the sisters spent about four days at our place and in between NYD Activities, we toured them around and showed them what the City had to offer. Before they left we told them that if they happened to come back, our home was always open for them. And it really was. Since then, Sister Gina would spend one January night here at home as our “transient guest”.
You see, Sister Gina is based in Jolo, Sulu but was born in Agusan. Sulu is located in the southern part of Mindanao and it’s one of those places that is socially-known among Filipinos as, well, “risky” especially for Roman Catholics. Agusan, on the other hand, was at the northern part of the Island. Every Christmas she goes back home to spend the Holidays with her family, which is why she spends one night at our place before she goes back to the Congregation because the journey takes too long. Her experiences in Jolo is usually our topic of discussion, while she enjoys my updates about the world–from Hollywood, to conspiracy theories to history. Sister Gina and I never run out of things to talk about, I know I’m usually shy with people I’m not constantly acquainted with, but it is really different with her. She is not only a amazing story-teller but also a sincere listener. I could say that through her words and laughter, I came back to my senses; I was being more sensible and rational with my thoughts and how I interpreted my current situation. Things became bearable, lighter and beautiful. It was God working, He blessed my family with this wonderful woman who visited us once a year for four years now and has left a profound mark in the course of the year.
Thank you Sister Gina. Now I see that all the books I have and other luxuries that shall accompany throughout the year will never compare to the 24 hours I spend with you. You are indeed, God-sent. See you again next year! 🙂