Forever, you will be in our prayers

“Eternal Father, I offer thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my home and within my family. Amen.”

-St. Gertrude, the Great

My younger sister, Dr. Casilda C. Aparis, whom we fondly called Sising, had a simple yet meaningful celebration of her 63rd birthday last July 18 with our family. Starting from a heartfelt mañanita greetings of her nephews and nieces, to our noon thanksgiving Eucharistic Celebration at St. Jude Parish, and a dinner party at the poolside of Woodridge Park club house. She was smiling the whole day. Her eyes were looking at us gratefully as we gave her the long stemmed red roses that she offered at the main altar of the house, as we sung the birthday songs as lively as we can, and as she blew the candles and sparklers of her colorful birthday cakes. There was never a sign that it will be her last birthday celebration with us, for after six days she passed away.

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For 42 years, she was my faithful partner in all my missions. In the home, she was the one who took care of our two “special angels”. Our youngest sister Remy, a 61- year old Downs Syndrome, and our congenitally- blind niece, Ella who had also a mild stroke last year. I know it’s a great responsibility and obligation keeping the well-being of Remy and Ella on a daily basis unceasingly. When she gets “tired” once in a while, but not necessarily complaining, I always assured her that it’s her “sure pass” to heaven and she will nod at me with a lighter face.

As the Vice-President of the Mary Immaculate Health & Educational Foundation, a 26- year old, non-stock, non-profit foundation that we named in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she helped me with our projects and services in the church, school, and as well as in the community. Because of her dedication and untiring efforts, we were able to distribute thousands of Pre-School, Elementary, and High School books and school supplies to various public schools, not only in Davao City and the four Davao Provinces, but also in South Cotabato, Agusan, Surigao, Siargao Island, Bohol, Panglao Island and Cebu.

She was also an active Rotarian for over 13 years. Yearly, her attendance in weekly meetings and community projects and services is almost perfect. When she became President of the Rotary Club of South Davao in Rotary Year 2009-2010, District 3860 Governor Antonio “Tony” Veneracion acknowledged her hardwork and exemplary leadership by giving her the “Most Outstanding President Award”

As a Doctor of Education, she gave me the much needed insights on how to mold, to guide, and to enlighten the thousands of students of the University of Mindanao Fitness and Wellness Centre to become better individuals spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. She’s gifted with wisdom and grace as she is a very humble and prayerful person. Her ever- inspiring mentor, Dr. Eugenio Guhao, provided her the strongest motivation of achieving one’s goal, especially in the field of education.

In her lifetime, she suffered persecutions, as all of us who are serving the Lord. Evil lies where hurled at her by wordly people but she never retaliated. Because all the more it made her faith in God at its strongest, that she will just keep silent, spend longer time in prayers, and look up to God for more faith and courage to bear the pains and humiliation.

The same “silence” was offered to God when her illness started to inflict her fragile body. It was Monday afternoon of July 20 when she was brought to the hospital, four prayerful days with her followed as her health condition was going downhill, and on Friday dawn, she was given by our Divine Maker her Eternal Rest.

The pain of separation cannot be expressed in words, but I have to let her go home to God were we all belong. My sister, my partner, my bestfriend, and my angel will always be in my heart and prayers until we meet again in heaven.

“The door of heaven is very low; that only the humble can enter it.”

-St. Elizabeth Seton

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