3/05/2015


My Word of Thanks




                First, I want to thank the Holy Trinity for the graces and the blessings, that I am able to reach this stage.
                I thank Fr. Ferry for answering all my questions and confusions. Thank you so much.
                I thank my family for being here today. To my parents, thank you for giving me the gift of life. Thank you for giving me five beautiful sisters and three wonderful brothers. Thank you for the unconditional love. Thank you for always trusting me. Thank you for giving me away.
                Thanks to my visitors and guests; to my hermana in Sarong Bangi International, to my former officemates, to my lifetime friends.
                Thank you to my especial guests – Tita Cres with family and Tita Mary Ann.
                Thank you to Mama Lita – my mama here in the convent. 
                Thank you to all our staff.
                To all my sisters at the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii: Thank you for being a part of my formation. Thank you for the experiences and the lessons that I learned. Thank you for all your generosity and efforts in the preparation for today; Thank you Sr. Ding for being my first formator. I specially thank Sr. Menchie for showing me a concrete example of humility.
                Twelve months ago, I was accepted as a postulant. I was excited and quite sure that this is the life that I want. I was wrong. I was wrong to think that this is the life that I want, because the truth is, this is the life the Lord wants me to be. And, I thank Sr. Matt – my formator – for helping me realize this. Few days ago she told me, “don’t you know that you are protected by the Lord?” Looking back and pondering upon the events that happened in my life and the graces that I have received, I can say that, yes, indeed, the Lord protected me all along and saved me for Him and for His people.
                Thank you Sr. Matt for allowing me to grow. Thank you for the understanding. Thank you for just being you. Thank you for journeying with me, for feeling what I feel at every event in my life. Thank you for just being there.
                I always believe in the power of number. I believe that the Lord speaks to us through numbers. My life path number is five (5). Today, March 5, is very symbolic to me. My birthday is May 5, and that is also the foundation date of our congregation.
                Nine years ago, a brave sister founded our congregation – Sr. Eppie Brasil, OP. Thank you Sr. Eppie for starting our congregation. If you did not do it, I should not be standing here right now. Thank you for the opportunity to belong in your congregation that carries out the new expressions of Religious Consecrated Life. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for all that you did. My journey was not easy. It was challenging. Yet, it became exciting and bearable because you were there.
                Last week, a Dominican sister – Sr. Ella of Anunciata – gave Sr. Matt and me candles and fortune plants. She said, “Give these to Sr. Eppie.” I was delighted to receive those candles and plants. And now, may I give these to you? The candle symbolizes you as my guiding light. The plants symbolize my growth, and how I have grown. Sometimes, it may be slowly, but continuously. Please continue to be our light as our new congregation continues to grow until we become as the Lord has planned.
                Sometimes in January, a pilgrim visited here and the Lord made us meet. I invited her to go upstairs to visit Mama Mary. After several steps on the stairs she revealed to me that she was operated several years ago, after an accident. Her body is now supported by steel.
                I became worried and asked her if she can still go to Mama Mary. She said yes, so I just accompanied her, more gently. We were able to reach Mama Mary. Going down, she requested me to pray over for her. We were both crying as she was telling her story that manifested deep faith to the God of divine providence. We felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was a God experience for me. She is here now. Tita Mary Ann, you don’t know how much you gave me more reasons to stay, for being here. Thank you so much.
                As the mystery of my vocation is revealed to me everyday, and as I commit to him everyday, I know the challenges will always come. But as I continue in this journey I will hold on to his mercy and grace.
                One of our modular class teachers told us that we need a witness in this journey. And you are now my witnesses until I fulfill this journey to God.
                Thank you so much for your presence today. Please continue to pray for me.

2/22/2015

Untitled

I used to live in the jungle,
With harmony in nature.
It was easy,
just follow the law of nature 
and be one with it.

Destiny brought me to a different jungle.
With a mission
Armed by the memories of love,
Of childhood.

Maybe, that is enough
Maybe not.
Lord, I cannot do it alone...

2/01/2015


My Journey to God


Below is my letter to Sr. Eppie, my 'Kuwentong Buhay' for our radio program Sacred Space on the air. It was aired on February 01, 2015.
-----------------------
Dear Sister Eppie,

Magandang gabi po sa inyo at sa lahat ng mga kapanalig na nakikinig ngayong gabi. Nagtanong po si Sr. Brenda kung puwede ko uli ibahagi ang aking kuwentong buhay ngayong gabi. Hindi po ako nagdalawang isip na pumayag kasi marami na nangyari sa loob ng mahigit isang taon na nakipamuhay ako sa inyo.  

Naibahagi ko na po dati pa kung paano ko nakilala ang Regina RICA at ngayon ay gusto ko simulan ang aking kuwento sa panahon na ako ay naging Aspirant. Napakarami po ng struggles at challenges pero ako ay nagpapasalamat dahil mas marami naman ang mga pagpapala at grasya ng panginoon. I thank the Lord that I always feel cherished and loved.

Napakarami na po ng mga nangyari at nagpapasalamat ako sa panginoon sa lahat ng mga pingdadaanan ko. Hindi ko po makakalimutan ang unang pagkakataon na nakadalaw ang aking ina sa Mother House at pagkatapos ay pinapunta mo kami sa Regina RICA at pinatigil niyo siya doon ng tatlong araw. Hindi po lingid sa inyo na tutol ang aking ina sa aking pagmamadre, noong una, kasi hindi daw po madali ang buhay na ito at isa pa ay isa ako sa mga inaasahan sa pamilya, bilang pangalawa sa siyam na magkakapatid. Noong una po makadalaw ang aking ina sa Mother House natuwa po ako na nakadama siya ng saya at kapayapaan. Sinabi niya po sa akin na “Ang saya naman dito.” Nagulat po ako na ganoon ang reaction niya kasi ng dumating siya sa Mother House ay gabi na, madilim at walang ibang tao. Alam ko po na pinaramdam sa kaniya ni Mama Mary ang saya sa kaniyang puso. Ng pumunta naman po kami sa Regina RICA ang sinabi niya ay “parang paraiso dito.” Nagpapasalamat po ako sa magandang pakikitungo sa kaniya ni Sr. Merly, at hindi niya po nakakalimutan yon. Ang higit na ikinatuwa ko po ay ng nasa Regina RICA kami na kasama kayo at pagkatapos ng morning prayer natin, sa harap ni Mama Mary at mga sisters sa RICA at kasama kayo ay sinabi niya na, “Ipinagkakatiwala ko na po sa inyo ang aking anak, alam ko na nasa mabuti siyang mga kamay.”

Sr. Eppie lagi ko din pong dalangin noon na sana haplusin din ni Mama Mary ang puso ng aking ama, na hindi pa kapanalig, na sana ay matanggap niya na din ang buhay na pinipili ko. At masayang masaya po ako na pagkalipas naman ng limang buwan ay ang aking ama naman, kasama din ang aking ina ang nakadalaw sa Regina RICA. Ako po ay talagang kinakabahan sa magiging reaction niya pag nakita niya ang malaking statue ni Mama Mary. Pero talaga pong sa pamamagitan ng intercession ni Mama Mary sinagot din ang aking mga dalangin. Pagdating po namin sa Regina RICA, ang unang unang sinabi ni Papa ay, “Gusto ko umakyat sa malaking rebulto, gusto ko siya makita.” So umakyat po kami at pumasok sa SULOD. At sumunod naman po siya sa lahat ng instruction ni Sr. Neneng simula sa pag expose ng blessed sacrament, sa adoration at sa paghalik kay baby Jesus, dahil Christmas time po noon. He also knelt down in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Pagkatapos po noon ay umattend kami ng 11 a.m. mass. Sr. Eppie first time po yoon na umattend kami ng misa na magkakasama kaming tatlo, dahil dati po ay sa ibang klase ng worsip kami magkakasama.

Hindi ko din po makakalimutan noong araw na tinanggap ninyo ako bilang Postulant. Pagkatapos po ng acceptance pumunta tayo sa Regina RICA, kasama ang family ng isa nating Mission Partner at doon po sa pamamagitan niya ay ipinarating ni Mama Mary ang kaniyang mensahe ng sinabi niya sa akin na “We need more good sisters.” Ang mensahe pong iyon ay hindi isang kautusan. But for me it was a powerful and strong message at hindi ko po kinakalimutan iyon, at nagsilbing gabay ko sa aking paglalakbay sa bagong buhay na ito.

Lagi ko din po ipinagpapasalamat ang napakaraming biyaya at pagpapala na ipinagkakaloob ng panginoon sa aking pamilya. Bago po ako pumasok bilang isang madre ay  naging pilgrim din po ako sa Regina RICA at naka attend sa mesa sa kakahuyan at doon po ay nagsulat din ako ng aking mga intensiyon. At lahat po iyon ay natupad at natutupad na. Ang mga kapatid at pinsan ko na idinalangin ko na makatapos sa  pag aaral, pumasa sa board exam at makakuha ng maayos na trabaho ay natupad na.

Sr. Eppie ng magdesisyon po ako na tuluyang pumasok bilang madre sa Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii ay isang pangarap para sa aking ama at ina ang hindi ko pa nagagawa pero alam ko po na ipagkakaloob din iyon ng panginoon sa pamamagitan na ng aking mga kapatid. Sa aking desisyon na ito po ay lagi ko silang kasama dahil naapektuhan sila ng aking pagkawala sa pamilya pero nagpapasalamat po ako na tinanggap na nila ang desisyon ko na ito.

Hindi po madali ang aking paglalakbay. Marami akong mga kakaibang karanasan sa unang pagkakataon. Marami akong nadiskubre sa aking sarili. Marami ang hindi ko naiintindihan. Lahat ay iniingatan ko sa aking puso. At maraming mga bagay ang unti unti kong naiintidihan dahil sa practice natin ng contemplative prayer. Sa tulong ng mga tao na ipinapadala ng panginoon lalong lalo na sa mga pagkakataon na maraming mga tanong sa aking isipan.

Malaking challenge po sa akin ang pakikipamuhay sa community, dahil sadyang kakaiba naman ang buhay na ito. Sa mahigit sampung taon na nagtrabaho ako sa iba’t ibang industriya sa Ortigas at Makati, I was trained to become a people person. And I thought that I am. Natutunan ko makisalamuha sa iba’t ibang klase ng tao, sa iba’t ibang antas ng buhay at edukasyon. Pero sa karanasan ko po parang nabalewala lahat iyon sa buhay ko sa loob. Dumating po sa punto na parang di ko na din kilala ang sarili ko. My virtues were tested. My worsts were being brought out, and I just let it. I naturally regress. I remember Sr. Menchie told me once, “You should put your best foot forward.” But in my mind I was saying, “I am trying to decide for a lifetime commitment and so you have to first accept and love me on my worsts. My best can always come out easily and naturally."

I thank you for sending me to modular classes. Marami po ako natutunan na nakatulong sa akin na maintindihan ang mga bagay bagay sa Religious Community Living. Ang higit po na ipinagpapasalamat ko ay ang walang katapusang pagpapala ng panginoon through the intercession of Mama Mary. Marami po miracles sa akin, lalong lalo na pag nasa Regina RICA ako. I believe it is just normal because I first felt in love with the place before I learned about your congregation. Everything is just kept in my heart. It is just between me and my God.

Sr. Eppie hindi ko madalas nasasabi sa inyo kung gaano ako nagpapasalamat na nakilala ko kayo. Hindi ko lubusang napapasalamatan ang lahat ng mga ginagawa niyo para sa akin, dahil words are not enough. Basta SALAMAT po sa lahat lahat. Lagi ko po pinagdadasal na lagi ko kayong kasama hanggang sa pinakahuling sandali ng aking paglalakbay sa panginoon. Kaya sana manatili po kayo malusog at ingatan niyo po lagi ang sarili niyo.

Hanggang ngayon hindi ko po tiyak ang kinabukasan ko sa buhay na ito. Ang alam ko lang po gusto ko maglingkod sa panginoon sa pamamagitan ng inyong congregation. Maraming pagkakataon na nararamdaman ko pa din ang mga pagdududa at insecurities. Madalas nararamdaman ko pa din ang panghihinayang sa mga pagkakataon sa magandang trabaho o negosyo sa labas at ang pagtitiwala ng mga tao na nakatrabaho ko at marami sa kanila ay gusto pa din na makasama ako. Pero I also feel the embrace of our Lady and the unending graces of the Lord.

Sa pamamagitan ng ating congregation, gusto ko makatulong magbigay ng kagalingan at inspirasyon sa maraming tao at matulungan sila magkaroon ng makabuluhang buhay.

Malapit na po magtapos ang postulancy ko. Hindi ako sigurado kung tatanggapin niyo ako sa next level. Marami pa ako dapat baguhin to become “ a good sister.” I cannot promise to change everything in a snap, it may take a lifetime. Pero anuman po ang mangyari alam ko na masaya si Lord dahil binigyan ko ng pagkakataon ang kaniyang pagtawag sa akin.

The fear of the ‘unknown’ that could await a woman who acknowledges the call of the Lord could be overwhelming. But through the intercession of our Lady Regina Rosarii, I know God’s grace would be sufficient to vanish the fear. I believe Our Lady had led me to the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii and will show me the path to holiness. God has a plan for each of us. We are called to follow Jesus. Sometimes, we do not understand or do not feel the fire for God in our hearts because we are always busy. Sometimes, we are faced with hardships and pains. But, really, the Lord, as always, has his ways to appease us. I am really grateful to all my class mentors for they served as the Lord’s instrument for my enlightenment. I appreciate your generosity for allowing me to attend all the classes.

Serving the Lord does not need logic and so much thinking. It is just felt in the heart. And when we feel the seed that the God has planted in our hearts, we can only ask Him for the gift of increased zeal to follow Him and to love Him.
           
 Lubos na Gumagalang,


Irene V. Rafer
Candidate for Novitiate
Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii

---------------------------------

Thanks be to to God! My formator - Sr. Matt - said on the air that I am now accepted to the next level - the Novitiate. I thank her for all her sacrifices for me. I thank her for all the patience and for all the understanding, for letting me grow.

I thank everyone who is a part of my formation:

I thank my lifetime friends for the gift of genuine friendship. 

I thank my family for being the 'wind beneath my wings.'

I thank our lay partners who became my prayer warriors. I also thank my prayer warriors at prayerwarrior.com for unceasingly praying for me.

I thank Mama Lita, Ate Violy, Ate Imelda, Jam, Atong, Kuya Molong, Rally and Kuya Isot.

I thank all my sisters for all the experiences, and the lessons I learned. I thank them for being a significant part of my formation.

I especially thank Sr. Eppie - our Superior General and the Founder of our congregation - for all the goodness and for showing me how it is to be a "good sister."


video


1/27/2015


The Cry, The Call, The Channel



          
I can still feel the God - energy.
It was, indeed, an experience of a lifetime. It was a dejavu of how I felt and reacted when I first met her. I witnessed how my co-postulants were moved. They were moved by the presence, charm and affection of the founder of my congregation – Sr. Eppie Brasil, OP – who was the speaker to our modular class Creative Approaches to Prayer on January 26 to 27, 2015.
In my 18 months in the congregation, I can say I am blest to witness how Sr. Eppie prays creatively and unceasingly with so much trust and faith to the Lord of divine providence. Most of her prayers and hearts desires are now tangible.
She said, “We need to pray ALL ways and ALWAYS in gratitude for the many gifts we have received in life.” Praying ALL WAYS “helps us to shake up and reinvigorate our prayer lives.” Praying ALL WAYS is praying creatively using our body and our senses. Praying creatively is adding spices to our prayers, so that we will not go weary in praying; so that our relationship with our God is deepen.
Sr. Eppie creates short sacred songs to praise God. 
When one of our members was sick and in great pain she composed, “My Lord, I offer all my pains to you. Please help me heal because I love you so.” That gave our member comfort and assurance of love from our God.
I believe that like our biological father who is delighted when he sees us dances, sings or performs the God the Father is also delighted in us when we put creativity in our prayers. And like our biological father who cannot turn down his child’s request when he is delighted, our Father of all creation will also be generous in giving us favors for all our pleads. And really, the Lord delights in us, more especially when we pray creatively.   
Our prayer is a relationship to our god. Our prayer is our communication to our God. And to strengthen the relationship, communication should be open and constant.
My every breath and heart beat are my prayers. I practiced simple and brief prayers. Most of the times it is direct and most of the times it is answered. Likewise, my every action is my prayer. My good deeds are my prayer of thanksgiving for all the favors that I have received. The not so good is my prayer for help to change as I am always confident that He understands me in all my weaknesses.
Sr. Eppie emphasizes the importance of the prayer of silence, the prayer of the heart to hear the messages of our God, to heal, to gain enlightenment. In my stay in my congregation contemplative prayer helped me gain inner strength and acknowledge the graces and the blessings of the Lord. It helped me to be open and embrace the new way of being.
We celebrated the highest form of prayer, the Holy Mass, as our culminating activity for our modular class Creative Approaches to Prayer. There, we were given the opportunity to show our creativity.
My group was tasked to do the entrance song. We were ten in the group, from three nationalities. Six are foreigners. Only four are Filipina. Limitations on time and language were a challenge. But it was amazing how we were able to perform and interpret the song Sing to the Mountain creatively. I firmly believe the Lord delighted in us in that creative way of singing our entrance song.
I can still feel the magic and the admiration experienced by my co postulants as they were enchanted by the presence, aura and wit of my Superior General. I can still feel the God – energy that moved them and me. I’m sure a piece of her has inspired and enlightened every postulant to hold on and to be brave enough to commit to our YES the first time we answered the call – because as she said, “someone out there cried” or prayed, that’s why we are called to response to that cry. Someone out there prayed creatively and the Lord delighted and touched and He called us to become His channel in this world to answer someone’s prayer.



1/17/2015

Celebrating Marriage

HAPPY 42ND ANNIVERSARY TO NANAY AND PAPA!

Thank you for getting married and for giving us the opportunity to experience life.
Thank you for giving me five beautiful sisters and three wonderful brothers.
Thank you for staying with each other through thick and thin.
Thank you for the unconditional love.
Thank you for always making me feel safe and secure.
Thank you for the loving discipline.
Thank you for letting me and my siblings grow the way we should.
Thank you for the beautiful memories.
Thank you for the nights of story telling.
Thank you for the long hours of sharing about love, life and all life's concerns.
Thank you for answering all my questions, about life, and everything.
Thank you for always standing by me through good times and bad times.
Thank you for making me feel respected and cherished.
Thank you for loving the nine of us, equally.
Thank you for sincerely wishing us well, always.
Thank you for always encouraging us to achieve milestones in life.
Thank you for always believing in us.
Thank you for always trusting us.
Thank you for the assurance that when all else fail, in my journeys, I can always go back to you.
Thank you for all the sacrifices.
Thank you for giving me away.

I will always treasure how...
Your togetherness in good and bad times has taught us teamwork.
Your tolerance for each other’s habits has taught us patience.
Your support during each other’s crises has taught us solidarity.
Your lives as our parents have taught us how to live.
I pray that you will be blessed with more beautiful life and friendship together.

I MISS YOU!

1/16/2015


Colors of Abundance

Red,
Orange
Yellow,
Green,
Blue,
Indigo,
Violet.

Abundance 
is  kissing RICA.
At El Shaddai Hills,
the breast of God.

In arc form,
it's enveloping
the sacred ground,
as if protecting a Kingdom.

Thank you my Lord,
for the opportunity 
to see the RAINBOW.
Everyday at RICA.

12/14/2014

Introducing 88 MMM

Second Sunday of Advent, Sr. Eppie told me, "Irene, please write these:"

88 MMM - gift to MamaMary
88 MMM - count me in today!
88 MMM - Multi Million Miracle
88 MMM - Money for Mama Mary

88 MMM is a gift to Our Lady Regina Rosarii. It is a new fund raising campaign intended for the construction of the Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia (RICA). The whole concept of establishing a center for training, retreat, union with God, silence and transformation is now ready to be implemented.

Be counted today! 

Share your abundant blessings and help build our Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia, our Lady's Institute. When you donate, you help give healing, home and hope to humanity.

There can be miracles when you believe.

Do you want to create a multimillion miracle in your life? You can do it! We invite you to work together to pool money for Mama Mary's institute, YOUR institute. Together, we can do it.

Hurry, make your pledge now! Give our Lady a home, a room, a place to rest.

It's so easy! Pledge to give Php 800.00 per month for ten months.

Be one of the 10,000 miracle builders, members of Club 88 MMM. And, you will be blest abundantly as we pray for you eternally.

Please visit us at Regina Rosarii Center for Contemplative Prayer, 70 Scout Fernandez St., Brgy. Laging Handa Quezon City to start making your pledge.

Or

You can also deposit your donations at:

Account Numbers:

Peso:  4953-0501-83    
USD: 4954-0161-08      
Euro: 4954-0164-34

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
Intramuros Branch
SWIFT of BIC Code: BOPIPHMM

Smart Money
5577 51665337 0111

Please call/text 0919-269-4286 for more details.


10/21/2014

Of Mercy and Compassion


(This article is first published at Sacred Space - the official newsletter of the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii)

"Reared by injustice
with poverty to eat
a home on the sidewalk
a world on the street."

You can see them almost everywhere: outside the fast food restaurants; outside churches; in the parking  areas; outside big villages of the affluent - almost everywhere. We, the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii have a special mission for them. We call them our K-Friends. They are the homeless families who live in the Kalye (streets) and sleep in Karton (card boards). The Kariton  (pushcart) is their means of livelihood.

Jamie Rivera's newest song 'We Are All God's Children' clearly expresses their circumstances and the mission that is waiting for us.

Do you see these children on the streets?
Have you walked the pavement where they sleep?
Do you feel their hands when you give them alms?
Do you ever give them bread to eat?

 We meet these children in our convent on Tuesdays. Gosh, these children deserve a more decent life than this!

We are all God's children, we are all the same.
He is calling us by name to help the poor and lame,
and learn what life is really for.
It's to know and love and serve the Lord.

Sr. Matt calls them 'Jesus' . Yes, maybe they are Jesus in disguise. Why does serving them gives meaning to my stay in the convent?


"He is calling us by name to serve the poor and lame." For me,I believe HE did not just called me. He waited for me and is now fighting for me to fulfill my destiny.

Every Tuesday, I'm happy to feed them. I am delighted to see their smiles full of joy. I am overwhelmed by their sincere gratitude.

I am amazed to see them with their spine straight; their feet flat on the ground, one foot apart; and their hands in 'mudra' position. Yes, I am teaching them contemplative prayer, and I am glad that they obey.

Stand together and let's do our part.
Hear their voices and mend their broken hearts.
Choose to be brave and fight for their rights.
Give them back their honor and their pride.


For now, I can only listen to their small voices. For now, I can only hug and kiss them to mend their broken hearts. But I believe that one day, support and assistance will mushroom. I believe that one day, the floodgates of charity and compassion  will flow for them. We need to help them help themselves so that one day, they can also help others.

---------------
The song 'We Are All God's Children' - by Jamie Rivera - is the official theme song of the papal visit in the Philippines in January 2015.

10/17/2014

Mentor



(Dedicated to all my mentors
especially Sr. Eppie)


You are my inspiration
You are my light
You are my stronghold
You are my guide.
                                                                    
                                                                     And you said
We will climb every mountain
And you said
We will ford every stream
To make all works light.

You’ve seen all my worst
Yet, you look beyond and love me even more
In the process of becoming
Your examples helped bring out the best in me.

Thank you for the courage
Thank you for the guts
Thank you for the Legacy
Thank you for the opportunity
Thank you for the Love.