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Dominican sisters celebrate ‘God’s unshakeable faithfulness’ in jubilee

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QUEZON City, May 1, 2015—Inspired by “God’s unshakeable faithfulness and unconditional love,” four women religious officially marked their silver jubilee, while one lone sister her diamond jubilee, in a Holy Mass held Wednesday, April 29, at the Siena College Chapel in Quezon City, coinciding with the feast day of their patroness, St. Catherine of Siena, and with the ongoing “Year of Consecrated Life.”

Dominican Sisters Paz Roncesvalles Rapirap of Oas, Albay; Maria Cecilia Pastor Varon of Maco, Compostela Valley; Rhodora Benedicto Agno of Koronadal City, South Cotabato; Maria Bernadette Beltrano Agregado of Pili, Camarines Sur; and Isabel Zulaybar marked 25 and 60 years as religious sisters, respectively. (Photo: Raymond A. Sebastián)

4 silver, 1 diamond

In his homily, Fr. Gerard P. Timoner III, prior provincial of the Order of Preachers (O.P.) in the Philippines, hailed Dominican Sisters Paz Roncesvalles Rapirap of Oas, Albay; Maria Cecilia Pastor Varon of Maco, Compostela Valley; Rhodora Benedicto Agno of Koronadal City, South Cotabato; Maria Bernadette Beltrano Agregado of Pili, Camarines Sur; and the sole golden jubilarian, Isabel Zulaybar, for the 25  and 60 years, respectively, of selfless commitment to their chosen apostolate, and for steadfastly living out the spirit of their spiritual mother, St. Catherine of Siena, amid hardships and temptations.

“God knows how many times they have been unfaithful due to human weakness. God knows how much they have conquered in their holy lives, in their deeds, and their words. Yet we join them today in thanking God for the great moment of heroic fidelity,” said Timoner.

According to him, more than just the Dominican sisters’ silver and golden jubilees, what was really celebrated was “God’s unshakeable faithfulness and unconditional love.”

Till the end

“God loves us even when we are unloving and unlovely. God is faithful even when we are not,” added the Dominican prior provincial, whom Pope Francis named  a member of the International Theological Commission (ITC) in 2014.

Meanwhile, Nestor Limqueco of the Company of St. Dominic (CSD), congratulated the sisters for the “strong and firm determination” that enabled them to “persevere until the end of their journey in the religious and consecrated life.”

“May the five of them continue to grow and bloom in God’s vineyard. The entire Institute is one with them in prayers like what the prior provincial noted ‘religious life is a school of perfection of charity,’ that all of them may now share the fruits of their contemplation, the joy of the Gospel, and extend the love to everyone, especially in their respective apostolates. May our Blessed Lady, the Queen of the Holy Rosary, our Holy Father St. Dominic, and Seraphic Mother St. Catherine, bless and accompany us in our spiritual pilgrimage,” Limqueco said.

The event was attended by by members of the Dominican family, relatives, friends, students, and associates of the silver jubilarians. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)


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