EDITORIAL | JULY 2023: OUR PURPLE CLAD MOTHERS
ANA DE VILLA SINGSON
Proud to be! HS 83
I was a Grade 6 transferee; and one of my earliest and most vivid recollections of my Assumption education is of the Assumption nuns. Purple clad, they were kind and gentle but were strict disciplinarians. Academics were always facile for me, but conduct…those marks for good behavior? I was sometimes too talkative, too naughty and in the words of one of the purple-clad “mothers”: “Don’t waste your talents, Ana. You have many gifts and you are smart…but you must learn to behave. Do not waste it!” I was properly admonished. At that time, I felt singled out . But in time, I realized, that being singled out was an act of care and guidance. That nun saw something in me and felt that I had to exert myself more. And exert myself I did. I joined extra curriculars and “behaved”. Well, as best as I could behave. I ended up with a well-balanced Assumption education of good grades, a happy social life and behavior that wasn’t quite saintly but was conduct befitting the red plaid.
Fast forward to 4th year high school, I had another “motherly intervention”. A kindly nun told me that perhaps I could find myself a better beau? I’m not quite sure what her definition of a better and fitting beau was, but she turned out to be right…and I found my life partner in college, Noel, who I am certain will be given the stamp of approval by any RA nun and whom my family half-jokingly call a “national hero” for his immense patience with me!
Our Assumption nuns, they watch benignly, but they know. And when they think it is needed, they do not just educate us on Math and Literature and doctrine, they teach us life lessons too. They serve as guideposts for what is right. Much of my spiritual development now is from our RA nuns. As a trustee of the Marian Urban Development Fund / MUDF, which provides housing in Malibay and in Cavite, pre-pandemic meetings would start with Sr. Bernie passing out a basket with little rolled up colored pieces of paper. I once picked up a green roll of paper and opened it. On it was printed “MOTHER MARY”. Sr. Bernie explained that throughout that month, we had to act and think the way the person on our paper would. I was blown away! How was I to act and think the way Mama Mary does? But I tried. I really tried. And that was the hardest role-playing ever. But it gave me pause and made me stop before jumping in, before speaking, before deciding. And I would ask myself: What would Mama Mary do? I didn’t always get it right. I probably got it wrong more that often than I got it right, but that act of role playing, it has stayed with me. And when I want to lecture my sons, I remember Mama Mary and her poignant acceptance of her son’s journey…and my tongue is stilled. When I am afraid for my sons, when they travel far, I think of Mama Mary and her absolute faith in Jesus and in God’s plan…and my worries are calmed. I will never come close to who she is, but I can try and in trying, perhaps become a better person for it.
The Assumption nuns…they are a part of my past, my present and I hope, my future too. Sr. Lerma Victoria Pangantihon , with whom I am pictured and with whom I collaborated in the MUDF, Sr Lourdes Eugenia Roquino of Malibay, Sr. Ana Maria Melocoton, they are just some of the nuns who inspire peace and solace and wisdom and kindness. When my brother passed away recently, they were there for me, providing comfort and prayers. And, as I have discovered, I am not alone in the interventions made , solace provided , prayers offered by the nuns. Many other alumnae have a story of a purple clad “mother” and how she had a profound effect on her life. Some of those stories are shared in the cover story, BRING THEM HOME, a project of rebuilding and refurbishing the homes of our beloved nuns. I am privileged to be able to share that story with you, to invite you to join the cause. I am grateful to have this opportunity to reciprocate in some measure, a lifetime of love, nurturing, care.
This month’s edition of Assumpta is sponsored by HS 1979, with special thanks to Andie Recto, also a trustee of the AAA. They provided many of the beautiful stories you will see in this edition, stories of women of faith, women of action, women who are making big differences in the lives of others. They are a tight – knit group who describe themselves as AGING GRATEFULLY! How beautiful is that? And in their very own words…
“Batch ’79 is at that stage – the age where, when a group of us descend upon a restaurant, we excitedly pile all our senior cards into one heap when paying the bill. We hope we return the favor of a discount by filling the premises with peals of laughter and non-stop conversation. We are aging gratefully (and we’d like to think, gracefully), thankful for every blessing, for the friendships we share, for the prayers we pray together. The battle scars from the challenges of life we’ve experienced have only sharpened our awareness of the delights each day brings. And so we give back when we can with our time, talent, and other resources, to those who need them, and to the home of our youth, our beloved Assumption. Many of us are active in the school, notably Ola de Vera Regala, AC President; Tina Casas Nakpil, now spearheading the Mother Marie Eugenie Institute; and Andie Recto and Cynthia Tinsay Gonzales, members of the AAA. We are proud Assumption “senioras”, and with faith in a good God, we look forward to the many chapters in our life yet to be written, and the lifelong friendships that can only be strengthened.”
Thank you HS 79 for the inspiration! May we all be always as grateful…and graceful!