VIRIDITAS: GREENING OF THE SOUL
Interviewed by Sister Malia Dominica Wong, OP
Catholic Herald of Hawaii
Three days after my brother was released from the hospital, I was to go on a mission to Africa. Although (the call to) obedience comes from my Mother General, other sisters have said to me, “Are you going to go? Your brother is still sick. What should I do? I prayed and negotiated with God that if he allowed my brother to recover and take care of my family, I would obey and go to Africa. It was my personal prayer; it comes from my heart.
Sometimes my personal prayer becomes like a bargain with God. I believe that God is always there to support me. I see him as my friend and therefore I speak to him as such. I can tell God anything. Since high school, before falling asleep, I talked to Jesus. There was a picture of Jesus in my room, so I just had a personal conversation with him.
Later, as a religious, when difficulties arose in my life and a member of my family was ill, I offered my personal difficulties to God in the name of healing them. I also said many Rosaries and turned to the intercession of our foundress, Venerable Mother Rosario Arroyo.
Through the intercession of Mother Rosario, my brother was cured of his aneurysm. I believe that Mother Rosario is listening to us. As the foundress of our congregation, I know that she is always concerned about matters that affect the congregation, even from heaven. When I need something, I ask Mother Rosario.
When the funds supporting our mission in Loitokitok in Kenya, Africa reached critical levels again, I begged her to help me as it was her mission.
My family is my inspiration. Growing up on the church grounds, my father was a farmer and my mother a teacher and catechist. During the seasons between planting and harvest, my father planted and tended a vegetable garden around the church. He also served as sexton. My aunts sewed church linen and taught catechism. And the priest was at our house every day just to greet and talk with my brothers and sisters and me. From the first year, I wanted to be a nun.
Before I was about to graduate from high school, I asked my father for permission to join the convent. He said no. “He wanted me to go to college first. I kept praying and crying. But later I realized that God had another plan for me: to do experience many things first. The wisdom of the elders is stronger than my wisdom. And such is the wisdom of God. Even now, far from the Philippines, I pray that I can do my job well.
Sister Maria Esperanza Espino is a Dominican Sister of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines. She was born in Leganes, Iloilo, Philippines, the eldest of four children. During her 32 years of religious profession, she served as a missionary in Africa and in Saipan. This year, she arrived from the Philippines to work at Rosary Preschool in Waipio, Oahu, where she also volunteers as a sacristan for Resurrection of the Lord Church.