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Keeping the Legacy Alive: In Memory of our Tita “Sisters” in the Family

Today is the Solemnity of All Souls. Lord God, we pray for all the holy souls in purgatory, our departed loved ones, parents, grandparents, in-laws, cousins, relatives, and friends. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

This blog is in honor and memory of our family’s pride, our two beautiful and loving Aunts who have joined religious life with happy dispositions in their quest for holiness, and to keep their legacy alive in the hearts and minds of everyone in the family.

We have been blessed with two (2) Aunties who offered their lives in service to God and His people. The younger one was Sr. Rosario together with her older sister, Sr. Mary Amor. We fondly called them, Tita “Yingying” and “Tita Amor”, respectively. Both of them have been called Home, joining our Creator in Heaven, Tita Yingying passed away 3 years ago, while Tita Amor in June of this year (2022).

For so many years and decades, our 2 Tita Sisters persevered and withstood the challenges of living in a community of religious Sisters. However, they had a great life and they both loved being with their respective communities (Daughters of Charity and the Religious of the Good Shepherd) and stayed with them for so many years and decades until their final days on earth. They both had opportunities and were privileged to serve God’s people through teaching, management and administration, and most all their service to the less fortunate, including the materially and emotionally poor, the orphans, the unwed mothers and the disadvantaged. From our family’s perspective, both of our Aunties were able to accomplish their mission and were able to live out the Beatitudes, praying for others and making God the center of their everyday lives through devotions, attending church, and giving back to the community. Both of them were social workers, a vocation which was enshrined in their hearts and minds and which provided them the necessary tools to be effective in the delivery of services to the disadvantaged, all for love and glory of God and His people.

Just a quick recap of some of their Mission assignments which were very inspiring and encouraging. Sr. Tita Ying Ying had been assigned at the Girls Town/Boys Town, Hospicio de San Jose, the DC schools community in Cebu, Iloilo, and La Concordia College in Manila. Finally, she was transferred to the community’s Provincial House for her retirement place. On the other hand, Sr. Amor was assigned at the Heart of Mary Villa, the Villa Maria in Banawa, Girls Home in Kadasig. She had a 4-year mission in Barcelona, Spain for OFWs. Then at Maria Droste Wellness Center. Outside of their community, Sr. Amor had also been appointed/accepted as Chairman of the Government’s Intercountry Child Placement Committee and likewise as the Social Work Board Examiner of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), positions which were both in consonance with their community’s mission and ministries.

I recall when I was going abroad for either a short-term course, conference seminar or a meeting, there were times that both of them would send me something to use for, particularly when the travel falls within the chilly winter months of the country of destination. One time, few days before leaving for the U.S.A., I visited Tita Amor at the Heart of Mary Villa and before I left the Center, she gave me a package and an envelope, apart from the words of wisdom of course! Inside the package was a sweatshirt, and the envelope contained a decent amount of dollars. Wow, it was heartwarming that until now, this memory keeps reverberating in my mind!

Below is a Eulogy authored and delivered by Anabel, one of the nieces (my cousin), during the Funeral Mass for our dear Sr. Tita Amor held at the Good Shepherd Chapel:

“Thank you for being with us today. While we are overwhelmed with grief with the passing of our beloved Tita Amor, we are also overwhelmed with gratitude to everyone in the Good Shepherd community, for your love and support for our Tita through her long battle with illness, and most of all, for enriching her life in the service of our Lord.

Thank you Sister Amy. Thank you Sister Abel. Thank you Sister Concepta, thank you, Sister Gemma, and to all the sisters of the Good Shepherd Convent. Thank you. We will forever be indebted to you. Thank you for allowing us to stay on after the mass last night. We loved listening to your stories. It filled our hearts with comfort to hear little snippets of Tita Amor’s life that gave you joy as much as she gave joy and love to us.

Our heartfelt gratitude also goes to all the caregivers Gina, Hannah and all the other caregivers whose tireless love and devotion helped our Tita Amor go through each day with grace and strength to overcome her battles.

Our Tita devoted her life to the community, to the marginalized, to the poor, to the youth, to young women, and to us, her family. And as she wrote in her vocation story: “Being a member of the Eucharistic Fraternity, our Eucharistic Lord was attracting me to a life of dedication to Him through Mary in humble service to children in need of Christian homes and to youth offenders with their families in depressed communities. I found it a humbling experience laden with joyful surprises and consolation of inner strength in working with them. Now as a Good Shepherd sister experiencing countless blessings of surprises as well as challenges in community and apostolic life, which enhances a wholesome balancing of response in service of mission, church and nation, God’s constant love and mercy keeps me going and fosters a growing love in Him with others.”

Tita Amor led a full life, shining light to everyone she encountered. And I will miss her every single day. My heart is broken. And I am so sad that she isn’t with us anymore. She was always there, a light, a shining presence that gave us hope and love, and laughter. AND GRACE. We are so blessed to have had her presence felt in every facet of our lives. She was a devoted loving mother to us because we lost mommy and daddy so soon. She was a doting grandmother. She made sure we knew she was there for us, for every event, for every success, and for every failure. For every heart break, for every milestone, for the graduations, and child birth, the passing of my 2 of my siblings in 2016, for everything. She was there. Always comforting, always loving. She made sure we knew that she was there for us. She was our rock. She was my rock.

From when we were young, she was there with us, guiding us, making sure we prayed the rosary, sang songs, and even taught us how to dance to songs. Mommy and daddy had their 25th wedding anniversary here at this same chapel and my 2 sisters and I danced through prayer and mass songs… She made sure we attended mass, and reminded us to pray for guidance even if we didn’t think that we needed it, to pray for gratitude and humility because we are so blessed, to pray and to be generous, and to share with others who have little, to be good and be decent people, to be honest, to be kind, to set a good example, to be good parents, to be good citizens, to keep steadfast in our faith despite feelings of hopelessness and doubt, through illness and good health, through tragedies, to death of our loved ones, to be brave, to be strong, to be hopeful, and to trust the Lord and His will, and to always put God in the centre of our lives no matter.

I do not want to remember Tita when she was sick and frail. Maybe I will remember it too. But her legacy to us is far greater than the physical disability brought by her illness. Because her life and her legacy to us, to our family meant so much more. Much more that she would ever have imagined. She left a legacy of love and faith, and strength and grace. She was a great presence that kept us humble and faithful. I will always remember Tita Amor as the little powerhouse. She might be petite in stature, but she was a force. I remember her typing away questionnaires for the social worker’s board exams, it was such a big deal because what she was doing was so important. She stayed all night checking and rechecking if she was writing the right questions. When the test papers came, she read through the answers with mind heart and body with such focus, and integrity. And she prayed. She always prayed.

She used whatever power she had to persuade politicians to give a little more for the community’s advocacies. She reviewed applications for adoptions with such sharp focus and objectivity, praying always praying for the Lord’s guidance, to find the best parents for children in need. She was smart and articulate, confident, funny, and gracious, and strong and purposeful. She thought with clarity and a strong purpose and put them into action. She was a bright, a shining force, whose words and actions always inspired us, and continue to inspire us to this day.

I will miss her company, holding her hand, our trips to restaurants and the movies, our search for the most comfortable sandals looking through the children’s section because she had tiny feet, our long conversations about the big drama going on in my life, or just sharing the most mundane things. She listened to everything. Everything. And when all was said, and done, we both enjoyed the quiet when we didn’t have to share a word, and she’d let me lie down on her lap, and she would touch my hair until I’d stop crying and fall asleep. And I knew everything was going to be all right because she was on my side. This was my Tita Amor for me. She is the love of my life.

Tita we’re all okay. We will miss you but your presence and love will always be in our hearts. Rest easy. Rest in peace. We will remember all your advice and guidance. Through to our children and grandchildren.

I love you so much, Tita. And know that you are so loved by so many. And you will be missed, today and always. See you in heaven, Tita. We love you!”

And for all of us the rest of the family, we say BIG THANK YOU to our dearest BIG Sisters Tita Amor and Tita Yingying for all the things you have done for us. Thank you both for your BIG smiles and hugs whenever you see all of us, your nieces and nephews, visiting your place. Thank you both for your BIG hearts, for the LOVE and CARE for all of us. You served as our refuge and strength whenever our parents were not around. You were not just our Aunties but you actually acted like our BIG Good Sisters to us. Please pray for all of us, especially those who are currently facing challenges and problems, and for those people who are in need of prayers but have no one to pray for them. May you rest in love and peace in God’s Kingdom. Amen.

May God bless us all. Amen.

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