The feminine genius

By: Malou Guanzon Apalisok December 12,2016 - 08:02 PM

It was supposed to be an Advent Recollection for the Association of Women Religious of Cebu (AWROC) but a cursory reading of the theme, “Empowered Consecrated Women, Prophetically Witnessing Towards 2021 and Beyond” told me the Sunday activity held at the Schoenstatt Spirituality Center in Lawaan, Talisay City, would be far from quiet or even staid.

The AWROC was founded in 1984 to serve as the voice of religious women institutes in today’s society. The group works in close collaboration with the Association of Major Women Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) and serves the church in raising consciousness about moral issues and at the same time raise the visibility of women religious in such endeavors.

Sr. Marilou “Malou” Javier, DC, told this corner AWROC is led by an executive board composed of heads of religious women institutes. The executive board is headed by a chairperson who serves for a two-year term. The new year will see Sr. Malou shepherding the executive board in behalf of some 197 religious women apostolic societies, institutes and contemplatives composed of more than 300 individual members.

AWROC works closely with the Cebu Archdiocese in preparations for the big event come 2021, the 500 years of the Christianization of the Philippines. Hence, the theme is not simply a preparation for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but also to gear up for the glorious milestone happening in less than five years.

The women religious of Cebu stand firm on one of its advocacies: ending violence against women and children. During the event, Sr. Maureen of the Order of St. Benedict (OSB) presented AWROC’s work in fighting human trafficking through the Kahupayan Center in the Santo Rosario Parish. Kahupayan is a crisis intervention center for women and children caught in one of the most vile acts committed against women and children, prostitution. Sr. Maureen pointed out that prostitution has invaded the cyber world and makes cybersex an even bigger problem to solve.

All told, AWROC members face the challenge of either remaining faithful to their commitments in the congregation through prayers or become more active players in the outside world by helping people trapped in grave situations through education and crisis intervention strategies.

I later caught up with Sr. Maureen after her talk and suggested that perhaps AWROC needed to update its data through exposure visits to people’s organizations that are running self-help enterprises that make a big difference in the lives of thousands of people living in marginal communities.

I raised the subject because I have just attended two preannual assemblies of the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative these past weeks. The first was held in Cebu City and the other in Tagbilaran City.

Lamac MPC started out as a farmers’ organization with initial investments of P3,500 put up by 70 farmers. Twenty-five years later, the agriculture co-op has emerged as the number one primary throughout the country with more than 70,000 members, assets of P1.4 billion and share capital of close to P470 million. This is not to denigrate the contribution of able and gifted men in the co-op like Chairman Delfin Tuquib, but people always credit the role of women in the people’s enterprise, from its CEO Ellen Limocon, staff, officers to members, majority of whom are women.

I also told Sr. Maureen that AWROC might be interested to look into the role of women in the drug rehabilitation and recovery efforts because there’s a worthy program initiated by a woman who leads a the Archdiocesan Charismatic Communities of Cebu and a corporate-based foundation in collaboration with a professional drug rehabilitation practitioner.

The SuGod Drug Rehabilitation and Recovery program is only five months old, but this different kind of “Tokhang” has already gained the interest of Interior Secretary, the Office of the Vice President and many church-based institutions and NGOs that are looking at drug rehab and recovery as an urgent intervention for drug dependents living in marginal communities.

By tapping into the cooperation of charismatic groups, private groups and individuals, local government units including her own corporate resources, Fe was able to develop a holistic approach in drug rehab and recovery.

Last December 7, the Kaalam Foundation launched the SuGod Village in Barangay San Roque, Liloan town. Once fully developed, the seven-hectare property will host recovering drug dependents and train them to engage in natural farming, not only as a therapeutic measure but also as a way of sustaining the “sober village” and its drug-recovering inhabitants.

* * *

The importance of women in the church, which Pope John Paul II referred to as the “feminine genius,” has lent itself to two very important interventions that address the oft-repeated mantra of inclusive growth, which in simple terms is all about poverty alleviation: social enterprises through cooperatives and drug rehabilitation and recovery efforts that, in the co-op model led by Ellen Limocon and drug rehab and recovery program helmed by Fe Barino place God in the center.

* * *

By the way, the AWROC Directory is off the press, thanks to AWROC past chair, Sr. Maria Virginia “Virgie” Ligaray, RVM, who served for two terms. Sr. Virgie was urged to serve another term, but she begged off due to responsibilities in her own congregation. She is happy to relinquish the chairmanship but will remain as a consultant for the association. An outspoken religious, Sr. Virgie is visible in the work of civil society, having worked with good governance advocates in thwarting the construction of flyovers in Cebu notably the flyover close to the Asilo Medalla de la Milagrosa in Gorordo Avenue.

Sr. Virgie will have some unfinished business to attend to though – the publication of the AWROC coffee table book, which I think she intends to finish before 2021.

What a nice quincentenary gift that would be from AWROC!

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: AMRSP, Association of Major Women Religious Superiors in the Philippines, Association of Women Religious of Cebu, AWROC, Cebu, Christianization, Empowered Consecrated Women, Empowered Consecrated Women Prophetically Witnessing Towards 2021 and Beyond, Issues, moral, Order of St. Benedic, OSB, Philippines, Prophet, Prophetically Witnessing Towards 2021 and Beyond, religious, witness, women

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.