Letter from Manila #1
Roque and I have settled-in well here in Manila. We have been renting a small room with a double-decked bed here in the heart of the city.
We started our Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) course on 23rd March at Manila Doctors Hospital (Madocs), located at UN Avenue, just a 10 minute walk from our boarding house.
Our group – composed of 5 religious sisters, 8 diocesan seminarians from St. Mary’s Theologate in Osamiz City, and 1 from the Seventh Day Adventist Church – is the 21st CPE batch at Manila Doctors. The program aims to help us gain skills in assisting the patients who are assigned to us. Furthermore, it helps us to know and confront our life issues. We pursue these aims by means of verbatim papers and processing every week.
At this time, we are having our Mid-Point Evaluation, which means that we are halfway through the course. For the past months, we have been visiting the patients at Madocs. Talking with patients and their relatives allows us to share their vulnerable health conditions and their personal stories. Personally, every time I hear their stories of pain, struggles and joy, I feel for them and somehow, beyond the skills that we are gaining, God gives me the grace to be a compassionate and merciful minster to them.
Furthermore, as I minister among the patients through my visits, our group session everyday gives us a venue to evaluate and process the stories of pain, struggle and joy in my own life. This has helped me to recognize my own wounds, whilst allowing God to transform them into a grace-filled awareness for me to become an effective minister.
Finally, as a temporary community of two Marists here in Manila, we had the opportunity to celebrate Roque’s birthday on 24th April. Roque was very thankful to God for the surprise Mañanita we gave him. In thanksgiving, we had a simple lunch together with our new CPE friends.
God bless you all.
Br Niño Memorial SM