For mothers

By: Sofia Aliño Logarta January 04,2017 - 09:38 PM

The beauty of this book should brighten up your holidays!” Jojo Logarta-Avila greeted me on the first page of Simeon Dumdum’s “Letter from Fatima.” When I arrived home and opened the package in front of my niece (an English major), she immediately became gleeful upon seeing its author’s name; then another shout of joy came over the name of Gemino Abad on the back cover.

Actually, very special, it is a poem in rime royal; but its more: a prayer of praise and thanksgiving and many things more. Here we find also confession within the narration. The poem sharing their experience of pilgrimage to Rome, Fatima, Avila, Lourdes and Paris reminds us of the martyrdom of Pedro Calungsod, Teresa of Avila’s interior journey, the apparitions to Francisco, Jacinta, Lucia, Bernadette and Catherine of Laboure.

Being a student of history, I loved the historical and geographic details: the first world war, El Cid and the French Revolution. It impressed on me the Mother of God’s and our mother’s great love and concern for the world and its people. A true disciple of her son, she was in earnest over their salvation, their conversion. She wanted to show the way towards peace. Always she invited and explained our participation in this mission.

Pope Francis asserted this in his homily of the Mass of the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. He said that Mary is the embodiment of “the maternal God.” He stressed that “we are not orphans!” He pointed to Mary’s “attentive gaze, guarding everything.” He reminded us that “life is a gift we owe to our mothers.” Simeon Dumdum’s experience with his mother underlines the point: “As infant I could have my demise/ If my mother’s care for me was not all –out/ She had to strip herself to her chemise/ To wipe my phlegm throughout a coughing bout/ As she walked carrying me to the doctor./ My mother’s love helped healing to occur”.

Other precious quotes: “I dreamt of homeless women in my room,/ Who irked me for not knocking on the door./ One of them said my name and then assumed/ A visage that was beautiful and poor./ Who could she be who urged me to abjure/ My unkind heart? I saw the same expression/ as that of Blessed Mary in an icon” (p. 5).

“Love rivets human restlessness to what/ Is constant, that which does not wash with rain,/ Such love as this was what young Pedro got,/ Nourished by toil and undeterred by pain—/ Love for the other, which had Pedro slain/ When he stood covering the blind priest Diego/ From the attack of an accursed Chamorro”.

I find myself to have been truly blessed to have this book this year when we celebrate 100 years since the the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and as we are about to have the Marian Congress in Cebu to reflect on our devotion to Mother of Perpetual Help.

Cherishing another mother, Mother Earth, is the collection “Why Do Crabs Live in Holes and Other Nature Stories, Nature-inspired Tales from the Public School Students of Cebu.” William G. Granert, executive director of the Soil and Water Foundation, reminds us in his foreword of this collection of stories that the NGO “ has been working with elementary and high school teachers to enhance the curriculum through greater inclusion of biodiversity and its conservation.” The foundation used a short story writing contest as a way of gauging the extent that students have become “familiar and knowledgeable with their local biodiversity.”

I was thrilled to read stories from Carmen, Pinamungahan, Dalaguete, Dumanjug, Oslob, Camotes, Tabunan, Badian, Catmon and Compostela. The stories show that the young people had actually explored their environment and become familiar with their localities’ plants and animals, for in these stories they were calling them by their local names. By nurturing a biodiversity reserve the students together with their teachers learned a lot from nature: a sense of interdependence and the recognition of the necessity of working together to solve problems; the value of following the rules; facing the consequences of one’s actions, being hopeful and optimistic and many other values. The students as well as their mentors of Our Lady of Joy Learning Center will be inspired by this beautiful gift from the various national high schools of Cebu and the Soil and Water Foundation, Inc.

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TAGS: avila, book, calungsod, conversion, letter from fatima, lourdes, mother, Rome

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