The Voice of Aspirancy - December 2021

Page 1









The Beauty



It's Christmas Season again! But this year is a different one for me, since this will be my first time to celebrate Christmas in the convent. As I go on in my journey in the Aspirancy, there are a lot of questions that I have encountered, and the very famous of them is, "Isa ka lang?" Do you know that the Hebrew translation of the word "One" is "Echad", which means uniqueness? In Greek, one means "monogenes" which means One or One and Only? As I contemplate further in this Christmas season, when we celebrate the Nativity of Jesus Christ, one of the important events in our Catholic faith, I cannot help but think of how beautiful and great God's love is .

By faith, God, being the source of all goodness, is rich in all aspects except for this: He has only ONE begotten Son. God, being the source of all love, for He himself is Love, gave us his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We read in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and she will name Him Emmanuel. The name Emmanuel means "God is with us." He is with us and became one with us by giving his ONE and ONLY Son, God is telling us that He wants and longs to be with us, and eventually dwell in our hearts, always. Jesus Christ, the one and the only Begotten Son of God, counterweighted the salvation of many until the present time.

1 over 110


On June 21, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, commemorates the death of Fr. Louis Chauvet, its founder. 2021 was a uniquely special year for the Sisters also celebrated 325 years of life and mission of the Congregation in the whole world and the 110 years of SPC religious formation in the Philippines. Indeed, Grace abounds in many ways in the Congregation. June 21, was truly a providential day that God made to happen. Because this day is the entrance of the only aspirant for the year 2021: Maria Mikaela Francisco.

The lone aspirant for this year came from the Diocese of Malolos, Bulacan. Sr. Lilia Thérèse Tolentino, and the Provincial Council, and Formators led her to the altar during the liturgy at Our Lady of Chartres Convent, Antipolo City. Then she expressed her conviction with her "Here I am Statement". Her family and friends were also there to witness this occasion. The Aspirancy is a period of discernment on one's attraction to Jesus as expressed in SPC Congregation. How fascinating are the ways of the Lord! This year as the country celebrates the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines, and the Congregation celebrates the 325th year of its presence in the whole world and the 110th year of formation in the Philippines, only 1 aspirant responded to the call of mission. Indeed, God’s ways are not man's ways, and one can never really fathom what and why He allowed such mysterious yet beautiful things to happen.

Here I am, Lord Jesus!

Lights Mission!


"Charity has a face and I was able to see it!" This is how I would describe my parish exposure on August 21 to August 31 in St. Paul School Misserior, General Natividad. It was my first time to visit the community there and without having any idea of what the place looked like and who would I meet there, I was joyful and excited. The 10-day stay at St. Paul School General Natividad highlighted the face of mission. I was able to experience and discover the genuine and unique call to mission for me, through the different activities I had during this exposure.

Every 8 in the morning, I joined the morning rites of the teachers, and was blessed to have the opportunity to share my reflections about the Gospel of the day. It was during these times where I really felt the desire to proclaim, and I felt inspired as I shared how the hand of God was at work in my life through my experiences, After Bookkeeping tasks with Sr. Amanda in the Finance Office, I also helped in the Christian Formation Office with Sr. Ofelia and Sr. Paola Stephanie, There I had the chance to express my creativity by doing posters for their Facebook page. Every afternoon, I went to the library to help Ms. Rose Mae, the librarian, and Ms. June to organize the learning modules that are to be re-printed and distributed every Friday.

There is always a first time. It was during my parish exposure that I had my first experience of teaching. I am beyond grateful and blessed to have this opportunity to facilitate the online consultation of Christian Living for Grade 5 students. Without having any formal training on teaching, I was able to overcome my fears, and not to mention the other barriers during my class, the Internet connection at the school and of the students. It was during these moments where I encountered Jesus and His charity. It was a profound experience to see and encounter Him through the students and the class itself. Despite the barriers and series of getting connected and disconnected, the students patiently tried to re-enter to the group call, waiting for my instructions, even if all along I was saying, "Naririnig niyo ba ako?" "Choppy ba ako?"

But the more the connection became unstable, the more I heard Jesus' voice, "Go on, they must hear what I have to say through you." What an explicable joy, for even if we ended the class with only 5 students online, it was truly fulfilling. My whole stay was a once-in-a-lifetime experience also because of the generosity of the community of Sisters there: Sr. Amanda, Sr. Azucena, Sr. Ofelia and Sr. Paola Stephanie. Sr. Paola Stephanie was there for her parish exposure as well. The simplicity of daily life and how the Sisters managed to have enough inspired and motivated me to persevere in this life; their very dedication to the mission for the good of the Church and the service of neighbor is what true charity is.


but not the only


I may be one, but never alone. This is how I would describe my whole journey in the Aspirancy. My formation experience is more unique because I had learned and discovered the beauty behind being the "only one". The twist in my journey was that I had the opportunities to experience this in the different activities and apostolates with all the levels of formation, and through these , I had encountered Jesus.

Meeting Jesus, in the simple joys, beautiful stories and child-like faith of the kids in the Melendrez community every Saturday with my Sister Postulants is a joy to me. When Charles, one of the kids in Melendrez, said to me. "Sister, namiss po namin kayo!", placed a smile on my lips.

Sharing of heartwarming stories of life and hope with our brothers and sisters at Ephpheta Blind Community every thursday with my Sister Novices.

Song Presentation

Faith Sharing

Thursday Apostolate in the Vigil House Together with the Novices, we join the Sisters of the Vigil House for Lauds, Mass and their morning exercises. We assist those in the infirmary during their meals.

With Sr. Melanie

Despite her old age and sickness, she still has a sharp memory. She likes to read books and magazines and she remembers my name, and where I am from since we first met. She would always say my name, “Mikaela from Sta. Maria” which makes my heart happy every time she would remember my name and give her contagious smile.

I also met Gervie, at Crossroad Rehabilitation Center, every Tuesday with my Sister Novices, who was once addicted to video games and gadgets. Meeting him showed me how much love God gives to us through our parents and that they always want the best for us.

The Pandemic and series of lockdowns in our community were never a hindrance to witness to and be in the mission. With a bag of rice and few biscuits in our arms, we went out to the streets of Antipolo to share them to our brothers and sisters in need. But to me it was more than the giving of goods to them, it was the interaction, the simple yet deep questions of “Kamusta po kayo at and buhay?” that touched me. I couldn’t help but be inspired and moved by their strong faith and trust in God despite the hardships brought to them by the pandemic. Ate Joan, who sells face shield in the sidewalk said with all conviction that God would never abandon her, and that she still hoped for the mercy of God, “May awa po ang Diyos.” Despite the many challenges and hindrances of being in the apostolate in these trying times of pandemic, I have felt and seen Jesus's presence through our dear brothers and sisters who are neglected and who are in need of our care and love. It made me realize that I may be the only aspirant for this year, but truly I am not alone, the people in the apostolate join and walk with me in knowing and experiencing more who Jesus is.



Just a Cocoon A caterpillar inside a small cocoon Waiting for her full bloom Like a creature hibernating in a room As one day she’ll be released into the world soon Stained with fear and anxiety brought by being apart But was clothed with confidence by the maker of her heart She is wrapped in a silk of love And gets her daily nutrients from up above One day at a time, she patiently grows inside Discovering and knowing what she must set aside For she aims to fly free as a beautiful butterfly outside And scatter seeds of life and love with wings open wide



Servant's Sigh I am lost in a strange place Empty, restless and running out of phase Why is it that life feels like a race? I am hurrying and can’t recognize my face. Find me, and bring me to light Hold me, and embrace me so tight Keep me, and direct my heart even at night and soak me in your divine love ever bright. Fill my heart full of sighs Please, have it, take it, and erase all lies do not let it compromise So that my life would be a living sacrifice.



rowing G

English Class with Sr. Bernadette Racadio

One of the exciting parts of Aspirancy formation is the varied classes. I had my English class with my Sister Postulants. Behind the grammar and literature discussion, I always look forward to God’s message for me that day given through the wisdom of our teacher, Sr. Bernadette. Having our class on a Monday morning, serves as an inspiration for me to go through the week’s joys and pains.

Sewing Class with Sr. Jean Asok

I did not expect that I would find so much joy in this experience! Here I sewed an apron for the first time, and was aware of the virtue of patience. I was very frustrated and impatient the first time I was learning how to operate the sewing machine, including the series of sewing and ripping off. I thought that I couldn’t finish or do it. But the words that Sr. Jean uttered truly struck me, “Take it, slowly, but surely.” I smiled, as my normal response but later on it made me think that in this life, like sewing, the best technique of all is patience.

Art Class with Sr. Ann Ilyan Yao

“There is no right or wrong in art.” My Arts Class with Sr. Ann IIyan really helped me to go beyond what I know in expressing myself through art. I felt that the class also helped me to challenge myself in getting out of my comfort zone to fully show my capabilities and skills. I was amazed to see myself, come up with creative ideas and turning them into art; lettering for board and cards and using paint for card designing.

Faith and Revelation Class with Sr. Mari Jonna Rosales

What better way to understand and get to know Jesus more? In the beginning; creation! This time it was not merely learning and knowing through the mind but with a deep motivation to understand and internalize how God revealed, and continuously reveals Himself to human kind. Through this Faith and Revelation class with Sr. Mari Jonna Rosales, I felt deeply consoled of how grand and indestructible God’s love for us, human beings even in the very beginning of time, up to the present time, amidst the presence of sin in our world.

! t u O e C om CE N E I R E P X E A PRAYER

rus, a z a L “ , e ic o v in a loud d e ll a c s u s Je " out, his e m a c n a m he dead come out!” T h strips of it w d e p p a r et w hands and fe his face." d n u o r a h t lo c linen, and a 4 John 11: 43-4

Prayer is one of the essentials in this life and a vital connection with the Divine. Through the different prayer exercises that I have started in the Aspirancy, such as; the centering & awareness prayer, guided meditations, Eucharistic adoration or Holy hour, and Lectio Divina, these strengthened and nurtured my relationship with Jesus. It also came with the realization that every prayer would always be different. There were also times where I experienced dryness in my prayers. Among all the prayer activities and exercises that I have tried, I like most the prayer of contemplation. In contemplation, I feel most connected to Jesus and His word. Contemplation allows me to hear, see and feel not only Jesus’ words but also Jesus’ very presence. My 3-day discernment recollection on November 21-24 allowed me to feel and see God’s immense love and mercy for me, through one of the prayer contemplations. I experienced emptiness and dryness in my prayers on the first day because of the distractions from some personal issues at that time.

On the second day, I contemplated over the story of the rising of Lazarus from the dead. I saw myself as the one lying in the tomb, not able to move my hands and feet as I was wrapped with burial cloth Then I heard Jesus, calling me from the entrance of the cave; “Come out!” Jesus then entered the cave and He was the one who unstrapped the burial cloth wrapped in my whole body, while lovingly gazing at me, Jesus did not care to clean the dirty wounds and scars in my body. I saw myself, anxious about it and I was feeling overwhelmed by what he Has done to me. Jesus knew that I couldn’t do it myself; to clean my own dirt, to unwrap myself from my limitations and weaknesses. With Much love within my heart, I then saw myself coming out of the tomb with Jesus.

A g rac e-f ill ed

ed s s le B A


! s a m t s i Chr

Ne w

Yea r!

Acknowledgement Mother Maria Goretti Lee, SPC & the General Administration Sr. Lilia Thérèse Tolentino, SPC & the Provincial Administration Formators & Sisters