Holy rosary

Sister Ma. Teresa Ebanen, Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary: ​​ancestral values


Interviewed by Sister Malia Dominica Wong, OP
Catholic Herald of Hawaii

My family’s farm in the village of Iyasan in Igbaras in the Philippines is an ancestral farm. It belongs to the Ebanen family. Having been transmitted by grandfather and great-grandfather, my family carries on certain traditions.

Growing up, I remember walking 45 minutes through fields of green, dusty roads to reach the school in town. Due to the limited access, it was difficult to show a priest around the village. However, once a year, he responded to the invitation to come and celebrate mass in our family chapel. Mass was offered for our family ancestors. The intentions of the Mass included those of the village community. After mass, all members of the community were treated to a free meal. My brothers and sisters carry on this tradition.

Through their humble examples, my parents taught our family to care for others. Even though the work on the farm was hard, my father was generous with his half-brothers and half-sisters by sharing the fruit of the land. Despite occasional family arguments and squabbles, he always reminded everyone of the importance of prayer and forgiveness. He taught by his example to be strong in faith, that we can do nothing without the help of God and that of Mother Mary.

I remember when I was about to leave home to become a nun, my mother said to me, “You are stronger than your big brother and your big sister, who is going to take care of us? What will happen if you leave? I replied, “God will provide.”

God provides. I have spent more of my life on mission abroad than at home. Much of my growth as a religious has taken place here in Hawaii. Since I arrived in 1978 and was sent to teach at Sainte-Catherine School in Kapaa, my life has been full. My vocation has been strengthened here by the kindness and love of the people. There were so many things I didn’t know that became valuable experiences.

As I move into a new mission and experience working with the elderly and those in memory care, I carry with me the values ​​I learned from my parents on our ancestral farm. I think I inherited my father’s patience. Patience is important in caring for others, especially the elderly. Whether it’s helping someone into the car, waiting for someone in the car, or pushing someone’s wheelchair, patience is important. And love others as God loves us.

Every time I say my prayers, I pray for the grace of perseverance as a religious. Because, as I remember being taught, God created us to know him, love him and serve him. I am grateful.

Sister Ma. Teresa Ebanen is a Dominican Sister of the Most Holy Rosary. Born to Pablo and Adelaida Ebanen in Iyasan, Igbaras, she is the third of eight children. She served at St. Catherine’s School, Kauai; Holy Cross School, Kauai; St. John the Baptist School, Honolulu; Dominican Center Hawaii, Waipio; Aloha House, Waianae; and also in California. She is 47 years old and will minister at Arch Memory Care in Houston, Texas.