July-August 2002

The Day I Became A Refugee

By Sr Rosita Austria ICM

Sr Rosita Austria is a Filipino missionary working in a hospital in Congo, formerly Zaire. Three years ago, some anti-Angola government rebels followed into Congo and attacked the hospital where Sr Rosita and her fellow Sisters treated some Angolan soldiers who sought refuge after an encounter with the Angolan rebels. Below she tells us of that terrifying experience.

This Is Where I Want To Be

By Fr Shay Cullen MSSC

Fr Shay Cullen is known in Olongapo and throughout the world for his work with children and his attempts with his team of lay leaders to rehabilitate them after their horrific experience of being abused. Children have become targets of pedophiles and drug pushers and in recent years have, even at the tender age of nine, been forced into armies in Africa or as couriers in various ways. As a result Fr Shay himself has become a target by those people whose nests he has disturbed. Here he shares with us his vocation story.

When people ask me to write something about being a missionary priest I look to some special experiences that help me understand my mission as a Columban priest and discover human and social realities that challenge me to live a more meaningful life to help others.

When I first became interested in becoming a missionary priest with the Missionary Society of St. Columban I was still in high school. Before I made a decision to go to the seminary I left Ireland, became an overseas worker and got various jobs in England. The first job was in a food-processing factory, then in a hotel and later in a restaurant. A few months later I decided to follow my dream of living a more interesting and adventurous life, doing good for others in a distant land wherever that might be.

Come Dance With Me

By Cheri Mapa

I was brought up to consider myself part of a privileged class. Born into a rich landed family, from the time I was small I was used to getting everybody’s respect. We were also brought up by our parents in Christian values.

All eight children always had what we wanted and were allowed to develop our talents. I myself studied classic ballet for 11 years. Ballet was my true passion — all my life. I would never have given it up for anything in the world. But when I met the Focolare Youth for a United World, my life opened up to new dimensions.

That Which Is Beautiful, Never Leaves Us

By Carol Ducos

Fifty years ago, Zambales was slowly recovering from the destruction of World War II and insurgency problem was at its peak. It was within the main zone of conflict and operation. It was during this period that the Columban Fathers arrived and started organizing Christian communities. Most of the new priests were very young and were newly ordained, full of zeal to evangelize and transform the community under their care.

The Accidental Christian

By Jeri Westerson

“Don’t come back Catholic!” My husband called cheerfully to me as I drove away to the Benedictine Monastery for research. I guffawed. Who me? Catholic? I was a Jew in name only. I called myself an atheist and felt that way. I was raised in the tradition of American Judaism: a lot of religion but no faith. I was content. My life was going well. My marriage was great and we had a smart, loving son.

Friendships. . . Are Your Greatest Treasure

By Bo Sanchez

When I was single, I did everything with lightning speed. I remember it took me only nine minutes to eat breakfast, shower, dress-up and get ready to drive off to wherever. No kidding. When I got married preparing to leave home takes me a little bit more time. (About one hour and fifty-one minutes more.)

Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. You see, my wife is a woman. (Thank God.) If I wanted to continue my quick pace in life, I should have remained single. Or married another guy, which would look strange especially that I am a preacher.

Better Late Than Never

By Sem Jun Estoque

Nowadays young people are taking longer to mature. Those going for the priesthood are no exception. The Philippine bishops have set up a special seminary for those who decide later in life to become a priest and are already professionals. Jun Estoque has taken this road and tells us all about it.

When I Met Leonila

By Francis Xavier Shigeki Ishikura

In an unexpected way, a Japanese married to a Filipino found his way to the Catholic faith. Here he tells of his journey and how his wife, Leonila, became instrumental to his change of heart.

My first encounter with the Catholic Church was through my wife, Leonila, a Filipino from Bulacan, who is a Catholic. It all began after our marriage when I had to drive her and our children to church. At first, once a month, then twice or three times until ten years passed in no time.

What’s In Their Hearts

By Gee-Gee O. Torres

Our Assistant Editor, Gee-Gee Torres, met Sr. Anna and Sr. Angel, two of our admirable Filipino missionaries in Korea. Here she shares with us something of what was in their hearts when she met them.


Lord, you know what I am ready for

Sr. Angel Libron, SSPS is from Davao. Before she became a Sister, she had a very promising job in an airline. However she wanted something more, more than just having a good job, something that would give meaning to her life. She would go every Sunday to the Smokey Mountain in Tondo (which has now been totally developed into a government housing project) and spend the day with the people there. This one day in Tondo meant a lot to her. When she was in college she thought joining rallies was enough to be in solidarity with the poor, but she realized that this was not enough. From the faces of the poor people in the Smokey Mountain she knew there was something more.

The Dirty War

By Fr Luis Sabarre OMI

The last year has seen the collapse of the Argentine economy and near revolution in the streets coming not from the poor but from the middle classes who have seen their savings in the banks destroyed through the collapse of the Argentine peso. But Argentina’s troubles began further back in the ‘80s when the ruthless military government introduced what was almost a reign of terror. One feature was the snatching away of people and making them disappear…sometimes by dropping them from helicopters into the sea. Everyone was scared and even the Church did not speak up as it did in the Philippines. However one courageous group of women, mothers and relatives of the ‘disappeared’, started their famous silent walk around the Plaza de Mayo which fronts the Palacio Rosada where the President resides. These women have become known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Fr. Luis Sabarre, a Filipino missionary in Argentina, takes up the story.

It was 1982 when I arrived in Argentina that I first heard about the much talked-about “Guerra sucia” or the dirty war. The last coup d’etat in the country on March 24, 1976 brought down the government of Isabel Peron, the legitimate successor on the death of her husband, Juan Domingo Peron, founder of the Peronist Party. Isabel Peron was the first woman president of Argentina. The military junta found her to be weak and unable to handle the government and to control the resurging unrest of the populace due to the constant threat and disturbances of the guerillas influenced by Che Guevara.

To Search is to find

We do not have the answers to every question – but the very asking of the question is the beginning of the answer. So why don’t you send us your questions and let us together find the answers to our questions.


I do not want to go to a confession on a one-to-one basis. I prefer to ask forgiveness for my sins from God personally. Or would general absolution do?

It is our delight to introduce to you this new section in Misyon – Our Hideaway.  A venue for the youth to express themselves and to share with our readers their mind, their heart and their soul.
We are inviting you –students and young professionals – to drop by Our Hideaway and let us know how you are doing.


By Anabelle Badilla

One weekend, my officemate and I were invited by a friend to take a break at Costa Aguada, a beautiful island resort in Guimaras.  It was my first time to travel by water in a pump boat for the whole one-hour and a half.  As we were docking, I kept admiring the clear, blue water and saying aloud how much I wished I could jump into it and swim.  But it would be impossible for me to do that as I have a terrible fear of deep waters.  I can swim but never in waters above my head.  My companions didn’t stop coaxing me to try it and reminding me that my other chance might not come anymore.