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.


Celebrating Marriage


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.



Colors of 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.


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.


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

Smart Money
5577 51665337 0111

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


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.



(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.

Regina Rosarii

You touch every heart
You heal every wound
You intercede for every request
Yes, you are my mother.

You answer all my prayers
You calm my heart
With you I am at rest
Yes, you got me.

And even the clouds
go down to kiss you
And even the birds
sing to praise you
And even the trees
dance to celebrate you
Who I am not to kneel?

My Blessed Mother
Regina Rosarii
Now, you have me
Do not abandon me.


Thank you Lola!

She's my number one fan,
very much a part of me.
One of the people in my life 
who prepared me to the battle of life.
One who always believe.
One who always wish me well.
One who always listen, without judgement.
One whose love made me
grow in confidence.

One who looks fragile 
yet my source of strength. 
She is nearly complete.
I must learn to let go.
She deserves the rest.

Thank you lola!


A Special Path to Perpetual Rest

Do you want to rest under the loving gaze of Our Lady Regina Rosarii? Stay eternally at rest at Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary.
Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary was conceptualized by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii and designed by their resident artist, Jose (Jojo)Barcena Jr.
After the ban was lifted in the 1960s, Catholics became more open to the practice of cremation. Columbaria now are also gaining popularity in the Philippines as it cuts costs and saves physical space on earth.
In 1983, the late Pope John Paul II promulgated the revised Code of Canon Law. Accordingly, the Archdiocese of Manila released in November 1998 a circular to priests in the dioceses which echoed the recommendations of the Vatican.
Following Cannon 1176, it states that “Deceased members of the Christian faithful must be given ecclesiastical funerals according to the norm of law.
“The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine.
Columbaria are continuously gaining acceptance as an alternative to expensive and space-consuming memorial plots. These are places where cinerary urns of our dearly departed are kept and are usually located next to a church.
The Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary is surrounded by green grass in a garden setting next to the Regina Rosarii Chapel on the Hill directly below the loving gaze of Our Lady Regina Rosarii.
            Artist JojoBarcena said that Pahuwayansa RICA Columbary and Ossuary “is a manifestation of hope in the appreciation of fragility of our current being which is in a process of imminent death. It is the light of knowing our eventual end that our path in life must be guided. However, this guidance is not meant to make us fearful, instead it is to lead us into repentance and forgiveness.”

Why choose eternal rest at Pahuwayansa RICA?
             Filipinos value the lasting bond between the living and the dead. For us, it is necessary to continue our relationship with those who have gone before us and keep them forever close to our hearts. Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary is not just your regular columbary. It has unique features to benefit you and your loved ones and you can rest assured that they will always be remembered with love and care.
The gentle sound of the flowing water in the nearby Lihim Waterfalls resonates with the whispers of the wind amongst lush foliage and creates an ambiance of serenity. You can actually take a meditation walk in the circular path while enjoying the breathtaking view from the open air structure and taking comfort with piped-in music.
              With Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary, your beloved one will always be remembered especially during the month of November in the liturgical life of the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii. You are assured of a prayerful atmosphere in this solemn and sacred space.
                  Regina RICA is a place of pilgrimage and so the congregation values order and cleanliness in the place ensuring the daily care and perpetual maintenance of its columbary.
               A few meters away from the columbary is the Regina Rosarii Chapel on the Hill where Mass is said every day and where bereaved families can pray. In the three-storey chapel structure are eight clean restrooms.
            Regina RICA also accommodates onsite reception and lunch facilities and services. It serves delicious vegetarian food which can somehow give comfort to grieving families.
RICA has a safe and secure parking place. You vehicle can also park near the columbary or the chapel after a vehicle parking permit is obtained from the Pilgrims’ Place.

The Setting and the Landscape
Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary lies on the 13.5 hectare land of Regina RICA in Tanay, Rizal and administered by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii. The new circular edifice in the place which occupies 4,000 square meters including the garden is nestled in the mountainside between the 71 foot statue of Our Lady Regina Rosarii and the Regina Rosarii Chapel. Its architecture and landscape gives an ambiance of peace, serenity and calmness.
Unique in its design and made to last many generations, Pahuwayansa RICA Columbary and Ossuary commands a breathtaking view of nature with its trees, vegetation and hills that brings you closer to nature as you visit your loved ones.
At the end of the outer pathway in the left lane, there is a passageway that will lead you to the viewing deck where you can take in the view of the Lihim Waterfalls on the right side. On your left you can see the view of Sunset Hill, Regina Rosarii Chapel, and the statue of St. Joseph waving to Our Lady Regina Rosarii.And depending on the time of your visit, you can even observe the flock of grazing sheep and be entertained by the sounds of the Bengali chicken.
Pahuwayansa RICA Columbary and Ossuary sets the mood of closeness with our loved ones through the serenity of nature. The flow of water gliding gently through rocks and boulders, from Lihim Waterfall harmonizes with the gentle music of the wind.
Although outdoor, you can be protected from the scorching heat of the sun as fruit bearing trees are plentiful in the area. The green grass and the artistically-designed ornamental plants add to the freshness of the air and the serenity and peace that you can only experience in the surroundings of Regina RICA.

The Architecture

Pahuwayansa RICA Columbary and Ossuary, with its unique circular design, features 1,350 burial niches.Jojo Barcena said that, “the circular shape of the columbary is a symbol of eternity, the very gift awaiting us upon death.”
The facade is the artist’s own concept of contemporary life. He said, “These formations depict the pixels which are the very foundations of the pictures that overrule and overwhelm modern times. As we partake of our journey in this world, we must take special care to invest for our souls in eternal riches instead of fleeting fancies.”
The whole place is surrounded with eight mystic women saints beloved by the Dominican Sisters of Regina Rosarii and gracefully carved and composed by Jojo Barcena. He explained, “The angelic figures of the women mystics gracefully stand guard in every lane so that their faces offer quiet comfort. Their elegant garb moves fluidly seemingly caught in the middle of a passionate dance.”
 At the entrance of the Columbary is the statue of Mary Magdalene with her popular message during the resurrection “I have seen the Lord!”Barcena depicted her as “fluid and active as she dances with joy in witnessing Christ’s resurrection.”
Upon entering Pahuwayan, you will be welcomed by two saints, St. Joan of Arc and St. Therese of the Child Jesus, gracefully pointing to their lanes. Inside at the first turn of the inner area of the circular place you will find St. Anne, the mother of Mary, with the little Mary gazing lovingly at her mother. At the opposite side, St. Gertrude is calmly seated on top of the vaults. Near her is St. Elizabeth of Hungary. On the second level just above St. Anne, you will find the Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta and St. Rose of Lima sitting elegantly on the top of the vault.
The active and animated quality of the figures can be attributed to the artist’s belief that “life creates its own unique harmony and we must dance in the music of our destiny. The mystics gather together in worship united by nothing more than the unwavering love and dedication to serve God and serve others. They stand as a resounding reminder for us to choose the life and ministry that will ignite our hearts and bring peace to us and our souls.
At the center of the columbary, there is a round metallic altar table where you can put the urns of your beloved during the burial Mass.The circular aisles are illuminated with hidden bulbs in different colors.

The Vaults
Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary has seven lanes of niches. Each lane is guarded and dedicated to a woman mystic. The niches are made of Class A-concrete casted with reinforced steel coated with waterproofing inside and out. The material is extremely durable and highly resistant to the effects of the environment.  The interior of the niches are finished with premium gold aluminum cladding. The niches are designed incorporating multiple moisture prevention and dissipation features. An atmosphere of reverence and dignity is further heightened with covers made from all prime natural black stone granite sourced from Italy. All the bolts and nuts are stainless steel and welded inside the concrete for durable strength and security. Each niche has its own wall and is self-contained to prohibit unauthorized access.
For aesthetic and security, a double nut lock with umbrella cap is used to close the niche. Portraying a contemplative way of life, the artist did not use striking colors. In addition, he used a minimalist concept-design to create a prayerful atmosphere.
            All the niches are sized to accommodate 4-6 family members’ standard-sized urns. All the niches are at prime locations with mountain or altar view.The faceplate inscription will include the name, birth year and death year of the beloved dead. To ensure uniformity, the size of the letters are designated including both upper case and lower case letters.  
            Intended to bring these niches to the hands of many, the right for the use of the vaults can be assigned or transferred.

Why planning your final perpetual resting place is important
                If you are considering cremation and a special way of remembrance, an interment in a columbarium is the best option.Thinking about funerals leaves most people feeling uncomfortable. However, planning your own funeral arrangements offers immense emotional and even financial security for you and your family. In time of grief, unexpected pressures can often result in hurried decisions which may be contrary to the will of the deceased. With pre-planning, families are consoled knowing that the funeral reflects what their loved one desired and gives them peace of mind at a stressful time.
                When you accept that death is a basic part of life, you can confidently imagine your earthly mortality and embrace the practical realities of planning for the time of death. Securing a time- honored privilege to use one of the vaults at Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary for you and your family’s perpetual rest is a good option for your peace of mind. A columbary presents flexibility and affordability as a final resting place for you and your love ones. 

Donation depends on position
              Pahuwayan sa RICA Columbary and Ossuary offers affordable donation amounts.The donation for the vaults depends on the level of the vault.  Donors can avail of the privilege to use the vaults with one time donation or monthly donations. Currently, the Pre-Operation Donation is still being offered where you can save 30% of the total cost.
              Getting a vault and making a donation for your columbary will ensure that even after the flowers have withered, you will continue to leave a legacy.
            For more information on how to reserve a vault, please call Sr. Brenda at 401-2036 or 0919-960-7031.