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Religious sister ‘excited’ to share IEC learnings

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51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) share a laugh during the catechesis given by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the IEC Pavilion, Jan. 28, 2016. (Photo: Dominic Barrios)

CEBU City, Jan. 30, 2016 – Given the gems of wisdom she has been reaping so far from talks at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), a religious sister expressed joy she has a lot more to share in her apostolate once the global religious gathering wraps up.

“It [IEC] deepens more my spirituality, my faith, in a way that I am reminded more again … [from the talks]. The talks enrich more my knowledge of the Eucharist … The talks refreshed me again,” noted Sr. Marilyn Gabawan of the Missionary Sisters of the Catechism (SMC) in an interview.

She said her congregation is involved in teaching catechism, giving seminars taking care of the elderly and orphaned children as well as giving formation to catechists.

Based on her personal experience, she lamented many Catholics even now are not sufficiently informed about the role of the sacraments in their spiritual lives, particularly the Eucharist.

Eucharistic education

“Educating the people, especially the poor, on importance of the Sacraments [is needed]. Many people don’t understand the sacraments. Some thought they can buy the sacraments … It’s not that.  Sacraments [are a] deepening [of] one’s faith,” she added.

As “Bread of Life,” Gabawan pointed out that every baptized faithful is called upon to like live Christ.
“When we eat the Eucharist, that is the Body and Blood of Christ, it means that what I eat is Christ, so I must live like Christ. So all of us our model of our life must be Jesus Christ,” she explained.

Having been a religious for some 23 years now, a portion of which she spent doing mission in Kenya, Africa, Gabawan stressed she has had a fulfilling experience in her vocation.

Finding meaning in life

Before entering the convent, she used to work at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as a researcher.

However, she said she did not find meaning in what she was doing back then.

“I am happy now that I am a sister. [Before entering the convent], I didn’t find satisfaction that way I feel now that I am sister,” she said.

As a consecrated person, her daily routine includes attending Mass and spending time in the Blessed Sacrament.

Gabawan went on to invite Catholic women to consider pursuing a religious vocation.

“For those young ladies who feel God calls them kindly responds to God calling. It’s a nice life to share and serve our Lord, Jesus Christ. If you feel you have the vocation to the religious life, please answer your vocation to the religious life. And you will be happy to serve our Lord,” she added.

The 51st IEC is set to conclude on Sunday, Jan. 31, 4:00 p.m. with the Statio Orbis Mass at the South Properties Road, Cebu City. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)


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