by:  Marlu Villanueva Balmaceda

The Gifts of the Assumption

During the three years that I served as president of the AAA, one of the events that I would get really excited about was the induction of senior high school and college graduates into the association.  I looked forward to seeing them so pretty in their white gala uniforms or togas.  They all had this fresh and expectant look – a look that beheld hope and what awaits them upon leaving the confines of the Assumption campus.

The following message is one that I had given to the senior high school graduates in 2019 – the last physical legacy mass we had before the pandemic.  It was also my last term in the AAA.  The words still and will ring true for generations of Old Girls to come. 

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I’m sure most of you cannot wait to graduate and finally leave the Assumption.  Back when I graduated, I was counting the days to graduation because that would mean freedom!  Freedom from wearing uniforms, freedom from the sisters and teachers, and freedom from all those boring subjects!  It meant going to a more exciting place called college.

But before you completely leave the Assumption, I suggest that you take a good look around you and remember everyone and everything that made you who you are up to this point. Looking back at my own journey, I know that the Assumption made an indelible imprint on my person.  Here are some of the gifts that I received from the Assumption:

First is the gift of friendship – my dearest and best friends to this day are my classmates (some go as far back as prep or Grade One-B as it was called then). We’ve been with each other in our victories as well as defeats. We know each other’s bad habits as well as our virtues.  These are the people you can totally be yourself with and they will never judge you. These are your friends for life.

Second is the gift of wisdom – which you will probably not appreciate now but it will be useful as you meet challenges. All those sayings by St. Marie Eugenie have been engraved in your heart.  You won’t even know it but one day, in your darkest moments and when you need it most, a quote from Mother Foundress will just pop in your head to make sense of your problems.  It could be as simple as “Love never says I have done enough,” especially when you become mothers and learn what it means to love unconditionally.

Third is the gift of home – you spent a greater part of your life here in school. You have built memories in the Assumption.  As with generations before you, it has become a happy place. My personal happy place is our chapel where I always find total peace and serenity.  I go to the chapel whenever I am troubled or when I just want to feel stillness. And you are always welcome to come back, to return to the Assumption anytime.  No matter what becomes of you in the future, you will find your home in the Assumption.

And last but certainly not the least, the gift of God – the seeds of my deep faith and spirituality were planted and nurtured in the Assumption. These were not only taught in our Religion classes but in other ways like retreats, immersions and by the example of our teachers, the sisters and school staff members who lived their lives in humility and service. There will be times when you might stray from the rituals of our religion, but, believe me, your faith will remain unshaken.

On your graduation, we in the AAA wish these gifts for all of you. Treasure and keep them in your heart as they are priceless and enduring. Whether you realize it or not, you have become women of faith and action.   The Assumption Spirit dwells in you. And what – you might ask – is the Assumption Spirit?

St. Marie Eugenie of Jesus herself reflected on the Assumption Spirit and in one passage she says:

The Spirit of the Assumption is characterized by straightforwardness, openness, thoughtfulness, simplicity, honor, kindness and courage.

This quote mirrors the values and virtues that the Assumption education has impressed on the thousands of alumnae who, to this day, continue to practice them in their personal and professional lives.

These are not just words; they are like road signs that we follow wherever we go. This is the reason why, an Assumption girl – no matter where she eventually ends up in the world – will always have the Assumption Spirit as her life’s compass.


I am happy to learn that the in-person graduation activities may be resumed soon.  Congratulations to all our newest Old Girls!  All hail to our beloved Assumption!

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