There are several ways of understanding death. Generally, we understand death as a temporary end of life, a non-existence.

In the days of the pandemic, this was one of the words that we tried not to verbalize, to avoid rumbling in our environment, we avoided recognizing and even without realizing it, we were already in it by saturation in all forms of information and life where we were. Truly, we were frozen with so many reports of the dead, not of the act of dying…. Thus, worried about healing, being healed, caring and being cared for, preserving and doing our best to keep alive as we wish for everyone, even those who want to die… everyone fights for life, not to die.

In 1 Cor 15:36, St. Paul teaches us that “what you sow does not come to life unless it dies first.”

With this thought, I would like to pay homage to a sister whom I valued so much for her simple and committed life. I met this particular sister when I was eleven years old, she was a Religion teacher when I was a girl at school. I followed her like a disciple who kept my eyes on her rhythm and concern. She was a person who gave formation to the catechists and leaders of the Christian community.

On the day she found me as an aspirant, she was overjoyed. During the novitiate and juniorate she was concerned with helping me understand the demands of following this life, that of being a missionary, strong and dedicated.  He would ask me every time we met in the host community in Baliwasan and at the times of visiting his community. Those were happy and welcoming days because she enjoyed cooking for us.

In the last two years, I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given, to bring me closer to this sister, to care for her, listening to her beautiful memories of mission and the struggles she experienced in life. For me, it is to feel united with this person who opened up her weaknesses and triumphs marked her life and mission. To have had that same opportunity to be connected and compassionate with her is also for me: “dying, to live for”.

However, the end has come for her to say goodbye to us, to the community. We all feel this loss deeply. Pain and absence lead us to seek reason and connection to faith and hope. Truly, faith in the resurrection of Jesus gives strength, because after having lost a precious life in our midst, she has passed to the other side to fullness of life, already resurrected. A presence that we experience in a different way because it transcends place, time and situations. A way of gratitude for the shared life and missionary vocation.

NIni Rebollos

Zamboanga, Philippies

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