Mission in the Philippines: “Why so many wounds?”
FSSPX.News offers its readers this story of a young girl – a second, 21st-century Josephine Bakhita in the making – who found refuge at the SSPX mission in the province of Sarangani and is now asking to be baptized.
Yet another miracle in this mission on the other side of the world that is only kept alive by the generosity of its benefactors:
Not everyone meets her older sister for the first time in her life and immediately decides to follow her although she is a complete stranger, but Mary Ann had no choice, for the young girl was no longer safe in the house where she had been placed, because of an ill-intentioned neighbor who continued to stalk her.
When she came to the mission, Mary Ann was very quiet. Her usual answer to simple questions was a smile, nothing more – a smile that hid worlds of suffering.
Four weeks later, on the first Friday of July 2018, Mary Ann helped clean the chapel. As she was dusting the pews and the little statues near the communion rail, her eyes were mysteriously drawn to the image of Christ on the Cross above the altar.
As soon as she was done cleaning, Mary Ann went to see the catechists with a pressing question: “Who is that suffering man and why does he have so many wounds?” She wanted an answer. Her silence was finally broken.
Mary Ann then told her whole story: her childhood in a faraway mountain village, a violent alcoholic father, how she was abandoned to the local Communist guerilla that brought her up.
Then the following years, the repeated attempts to intimidate her at school, a tutor who was too busy to take care of her. At the age of eleven, she still did not know how to read.
Her mother, who had abandoned her against her will when the Communist guerilla attacked, began to come to the SSPX mission in 2008 along with her brothers and sisters. The sad woman often mentioned a daughter she had had to leave behind; she often thought of going back to find her but died before she was able to do so.
When Mary Ann’s older sister did everything in her power to find her and bring her to the mission, the catechists saw that she had a thyroid problem.
To help her subscribe to a health insurance, the mission had to start by getting her a birth certificate. Isolated mountains had to be crossed in search of the girl’s father, so he could sign her birth certificate, all in vain, for he refused, disowning Mary Ann one last time in a way.
Since then, Mary Ann and her sister have often come to the attorney’s office to ask for help. Her sister is still only 17 years old, a year less than the legal age when she will be able to get her own health insurance for herself and her younger sister.
In August 2018, Mary Ann is living in peace with her older sister in the mission’s dormitory. She is learning to know the God Who suffered for her, and to understand that her soul’s wounds can be healed by the One Who died on the Cross so that she could have life.
Raising her eyes to Heaven, Mary Ann recently asked for the first time, “What do I need to do to be baptized?”