As long as we have memories yesterday remains
As long as we have hope tomorrow waits
As long as we have friendship
today is beautiful
I cannot recall where I found this opening verse but when I was racking my brains for an appropriate opening my eyes fell on this verse and it was my heart, not my brain that said, “use it”. So I am using it to tell you about a woman of memories, hope and friendship. And since it was my heart that spoke up, I will call this woman by her name of endearment which is INDAY BERNAD.
INDAY is someone whose life is like a well-watered garden where beautiful flowers of every kind, colour, shape and size abound and grow and give fragrance to all who come across her way. INDAY gives time to smell the fragrance of each flower, tells them how beautiful they are and lets them know that she admires them.
Colour it green – that’s the colour of your life, INDAY. Green means growth, freshness, newness, a newness that’s enriched by encounters and events that you are allowing yourself to embrace in all their joys and pain. INDAY, you certainly know how to store memories in your heart and probably that is the magic that keeps you young in heart at age 95. Your gift to store memories has led you to put the final period in your book, PAGSANGYAW SA MINDANAO, which we, the Columban Sisters, are very happy to launch.
All your yesterdays will remain because deep within you your heart beats only with one tune – ALL IS GIFT AND EVERYTHING IS GRATITUDE TO GOD and to all the people and events that have been given shape to who you are today.
Very recently my younger brother, Butch, whom many of you know personally, took a picture of the moon shedding light on Lake Michigan in Chicago. The colour of the moon was blue and to him it was a picture of beauty, grace and hope. For one like you who believes and hopes blue could be the colour of all your tomorrows. You are someone who don’t count the years; rather you count the blessings behind the years and look at them as gifts from God. Tomorrow will not fail to come because the spirit of God’s own hope is in you. All your tomorrows will come because in your heart you believe that God always fulfils his promises. Colour your life blue.
In the Book of Sirach, there is a quotation that says, “The faithful friend is a secure refuge; whoever has found one has found a treasure”.
INDAY, you are a faithful friend to all of us, and we in turn have found a treasure in you. The name INDAY is familiar to the young and old, to the rich and poor, to men and women, lay, priest or religious. Everyone who comes to her receives a warm welcome and gets to taste and see the goodness and beauty of a well-watered garden. Thank you, INDAY, for welcoming us into your life, sharing with us your strengths and weaknesses, your joys and pain.
In the Book of Wisdom, we hear these words, “Wisdom is an inexhaustible treasure and those who possess her have gained the friendship of God”.
Without any shade of doubt, you, INDAY, have gained the friendship of God. You are a friend of God. All these years you have offered completely and wholeheartedly your heart to God. It has been an exchange of hearts, of love between you and God. And in this exchange, you have discovered and experienced how great God’s love for you.
This is the person we want to put the spotlight on today. Indeed she is one of humanity’s reflections of God’s beauty and goodness. We pay tribute to this person, acknowledging her contribution in building up a world of God’s love, beauty and goodness.
INDAY, thank you very much for inspiring us to draw ourselves closer to God’s loving friendship. The significance of today’s book-launching will live in our hearts and we remember you with love, appreciation and gratitude. Congratulations for writing down your memories, hopes and friendship with God and God’s people. Your gentle and courageous determination to finish writing the memories of the Columban Sisters in Mindanao has made us more aware how God truly accompanies us in our desire to proclaim God’s goodness, grace and beauty to all people on earth.
The last colour we will attribute to this gifted woman is red, the colour of love.
Again congratulations, INDAY, for writing Pagsangyaw sa Mindanao, a very significant contribution to the history of the Columban Sisters Mission in Mindanao.
Tribute given by Sr. Ann Rita Centeno,SSC.
Sr. Ann Rita Centeno was missioned in the United States, Chile and is presently on mission in the Philippines.