For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. Luke 1:48
She was a topnotch educator. She taught high school girls and she took them as they are yet brought them to their full potentials. Her approach to spending time with her students outside the four corners of the classroom seems to have bear fruits during those times. In verity, most of her high school students became her friends. She also handled values education for college students. Her students came to clinch the fact they are loved by God whatever they have done or whoever they are or wherever they came from.
She developed a scholarship program at one university which has benefited numerous current professionals inside and outside the Philippines. More than giving them academics, she formulated a skills education program or tutorial sessions, mostly things they would not learn in engineering, accountancy or computer science classes, for the scholars to work on every time they had vacation. She pushed for the scholars to give back to the school by assigning them to assist during enrollments and to the community by providing hours for social work. Benefactors living in the province or outside the country have maintained friendships with her even after she was transferred to another position.
She coordinated a national inter-university catholic movement for college students in Pampanga. The movement started in the university where she worked; however, it flourished to having branches in all four major college institutions in the province under her watch. She helped train young people to reach young people. She served with no reservations. With no compensation for this volunteer work, she even brings out of her own pocket to fund the activities. Out this movement, at least in Pampanga, born were two priests, and a herd of men and women, who have embraced life in Christ for their whole lives as long as they live.
She has a heart for her land. When Fr. Ed Panlilio declared his candidacy in 2007, she quickly offered what she can do for the campaign. She co-hosted the grand Miting de Avance in May of 2007. She was glued at the counting of the ballots in one turning moments of the elections. I saw her heart being poured in what she believed is right for the province.
When we moved abroad, she had to be a full-time wife and mother. I am on an employment-based visa thus she cannot work legally. Besides, having two small daughters required her to be a stay at home mom. She had only minor experience in household chores since we had her late mother plus a kind helper living with us when we were in the Philippines. I know this was not her usual territory. Cooking was an issue. House cleaning is a major concern. Preparing the girls for school is another. Doing the laundry and ironing clothes were part of the job description. Being the one who will sleep last at night and first to stand up in the morning was a struggle. She is on-call for our daughters’ school activities and other events.
After three years, she has defied the odds of being at home. Nowadays, her Bulalo is most wanted when there is a Filipino gathering. Her Tinola is my favorite. Her Filipino spaghetti is her daughters’ request. Her Maja Blanca and Ube porridge are the best. She learned how to prepare Bibingka and Leche flan as coached by her friends. She maintains our home in a more recognizable way. A beloved mother, our daughters have known her personally and closely more than when we were in the Philippines. She has also trained our daughters to help out in doing work at the kitchen or at the laundry room. Most of all, she continues to inculcate values to our daughters the way she have done before to other young people.
When things go out of the way we imagined, she clings to the anchor of faith to hold on to me. She keeps on reminding me on what God has done and what God is doing. She points not to herself but to the One who is able.
Her role might have been reduced in a sense yet she knew her part can’t be compensated for being a full-time wife and mom. She did not allow her self-esteem to roll into the ground. She did not see her value diminished. She did not rate her worth as naught. She does these things out of love for us not because she loves doing the household tasks. More than doing things with her hands, she does things from her heart.
In her lowliness, God has looked upon his handmaid and she is blessed. And we are all blessed.