The Lord has paid us another surprise visit, on August 8, he knocked on the door of our Queen of Apostles community, Pasay City, Philippines, to call to eternal life our sister: BRONDIAL FIDENCIA – SR. MARIA MICHELINA, born in Albay (Legaspi), Philippines, on 16 November 1937.
Dynamism, an apostolic spirit and love are the words that best describe the beautiful and fruitful life of our sister. She herself, on the occasion of her perpetual profession, expressed the wealth of her heart, saying: “I dearly love God, my vocation, the Congregation and the apostolate. I want to give, offer and consecrate myself fully to the Lord… I am aware of my poverty and weakness, but I trust in the grace of God and in the aid of Mary, my Mother…. With the help of divine grace, I want to be a useful and holy member of the Congregation.”
Burning with a deep desire to do good, she entered the Congregation in the house of Pasay City (Manila), Philippines, on 1 July 1956. She made her novitiate in Lipa, concluding it with her first profession on 8 December 1961. Immediately afterward, she was assigned to the technical apostolate in Pasay. In 1964, she was transferred to Naga and then to Bacolod, where she carried out the itinerant and book center missions. For a time, Sr. M. Michelina worked in the diocesan offices in Manila and at the same time carried out the service of community nurse, for which she had received the necessary training. For about 2 years, she was a member of the Ut Unum Sint team in Pasay. Afterward, she returned to the branch houses of Cagayan de Oro and Legaspi, where she devoted herself to diffusion and involved lay collaborators, priests and even bishops in her mission of enthusiastically proclaiming the Gospel.
Wanting to prepare herself adequately to use all the languages of communication for the apostolate, she took advantage of every opportunity to take specialized courses in social communications, radio and journalism. Driven by her thirst to learn new skills, she collaborated with the Ecclesial Diocesan Radio of Olongapo, while at the same time serving as superior of our community in that city.
In the circumscription’s central house in Pasay, Sr. M. Michelina was involved, at different times, in the production of audiocassettes and other mini-media. Her warm and friendly personality facilitated her encounters with people, her involvement of benefactors in our mission, and the Pauline animations she guided in local parishes. On the occasion of theFSP Missionary Project, launched in 1994, she volunteered to go to the missions and spend her life there for the glory of God, so as to extend to other countries the gift of evangelization ad gentes, which she herself had carried out, even if only briefly, in the community of Papua New Guinea. Her missionary zeal was also manifested in her special attention to priests and seminarians, for whom she prayed and offered sacrifices for their sanctification and perseverance. In addition, she assisted young people spiritually so that they could correspond with generosity to the gift of their vocation.
In 2000, Sr. M. Michelina was called to Pasay to work in the marketing sector, but she was very happy when she was able to return to the branch houses of Bacolod, Iloilo, Tuguegarao and Legaspi, where she had more opportunities to meet others and make her own the concerns of all those who approached her, in this way revealing the sensitivity and delicacy of her heart.
In 2014, Sr. M. Michelina was transferred to the Queen of Apostles community in Pasay, but a few months ago she was moved to the infirmary wing of the house because her health was steadily declining due to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. But in spite of this, her yearning to carry out the Pauline mission was truly tireless. A week ago she ran a high fever, for which the doctor prescribed medication. This morning, while she was laboring to breathe due to an acute myocardial infection, the Divine Master held out his hand to her, as he did to Peter, and asked her to trustingly walk to him across the water.
We like to think that the Virgin Mary, to whom Sr. M. Michelina was very devoted, accompanied her with her benevolence and tenderness.