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By: Rodora Ochoa Uguil
A Filipina visit her priest-uncle in Thailand
Rodora and Estrella mother and daughter from Isabela, Negros Occidental made a five weeks visit to Thailand to see Fr. Leo S.D.B who is Rodora’s uncle and Estrella’s younger brother. Rodora’s account below tells of how they also visited many of the Filipino missionaries in Thailand.
Visit of a Lifetime
Fifty-six passed swiftly but its memory still lingers on. The country was THAILAND THE LAND OF THE FREE. We thank God for this exposure and immersion course on missionlogy in action. Our main purpose was to visit our very own missionary and uncle-priest, FATHER LEO, S. D.B., who embraced Thailand since 1974. Then, we wanted to be one with him for some time in his vision and mission.
Happily, we were also introduced to other Philippine missionaries and so we witnessed the kind of thing that the Lord Himself did in His time: concern for the young, the poor, the needy, the sick and blind, the handicapped and aged, now being shown by these Filipino missionaries.
We have seen how in their many difficulties, their ways of response are typically Pinoy in style. We have witnessed their commitment, initiative and imagination above all we saw their availability to the people especially the young and the poor, knowing very well how to “waste time” for and with them so as to be partners in their education development.
Catholics or Buddhist?
During the 56-days that I was in Thailand particularly in the diocese of Surrathani, I saw that the emphasis of the missionaries is one of establishing meaningful and Christian friendship, and good leaderships with all. We could hardly distinguish whether our hosts were Catholics or Buddhists. They were just equally hospitable and friendly.
There are many Filipino missionary in Thailand, let me tell you of groups I visited and whose work I witnessed first hand:
The SALESIANS OF DON BOSCO (SDB): The first Pinoy Salesian came in 1972. At present, they are working in the diocese of Suratthani. They are involved in whatever is “for the young” such as schools, youth center and movements, training centers for the poor youth and the blind, parishes and missionary stations.
The Daughter of Charity (DC)
The DAUGHTER OF CHARITY (DC): They are good group – 24 in all. They have got some good local vocations too. The first group arrived in 1969. Since then, their forte has been in the care of the lepers, the aged, the handicapped, the poorest of the poor where everything breaths of Christian love and action.
The Assumptions of Charity
The ASSUMPTION SISTERS (RA): At the moment they staff the diocesan office for Social Action, a commission that gives animation, coordinator, information and action to development programs. Inculcating the spirit and values of true solidarity and the real integral human development of peoples is one of their aims. They first arrive in 1980. Now, their community has five members.
God Bless them All
FOR ALL THESE MISSIONARIES, there is one thing that serves as their common denominator: their trust in the Divine Providence. They show it in their faces and action that the Lord is with them, guiding and assisting them and above all, their great feeling they are doing a marvelous work for the well-being of peoples as the ambassadors of Christ and the Catholic Church in a typically Philippine way.