On the eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, August 1, 2021, one of our sisters in the “Mother Thecla” infirmary in Pasay City was called to nourish herself forever with the bread of life:
SR. MARIA FIDES (NORMA) GALIPOT, born in Santa Cruz, San Pablo (Laguna, Philippines) on 19 April 1928.
She entered the congregation on 26 April 1952 while she was attending the University of the East in Manila, one of the most prestigious schools in the Philippines. The parish priest proudly presented her to her superiors as “one of the most outstanding religious teachers, extraordinary in the field of religious education, head catechist of the parish… honorary member of the Nocturnal Adoration Group…”.
Making the most of her preparation, from her time in initial formation and during her juniorate, she gave valuable help to the sisters in the printing department as a proofreader. She spent her novitiate in Lipa and made her first profession on 19 March 1956. Five years later, in Pasay City, she made her perpetual profession and went on to study philosophy while collaborating as an assistant for the formation groups.
In 1964, she was sent to Rome where she studied Italian and gained a good command of the language. On her return to the Philippines, she dedicated herself to propaganda from the Davao book center, and in 1969 she began a long period of service as secretary, first in the Ut Unum Sint sector and then, for three consecutive terms, as provincial secretary. She was an efficient secretary, scrupulous in recording the various events of the province and, above all, she was reliable and reserved, always available and kind in responding to the requests of the sisters. She later had the opportunity to live various apostolic experiences in the book centers of Baguio, in Lipa and in the printing department of Pasay City. From 2002 to 2009 she devoted herself with patience, responsibility and competence to the re-organizing of the editorial archives of the province.
Sr. M. Fides was a good writer, a true poet, a faithful translator. Even today, the “Prayers of the Good Christian”, which she translated from Italian into English and into the Tagalog language, are continually reprinted and circulated among the people. It was her custom to transcribe her spiritual reflections into poetry. On the occasion of her golden jubilee, she recalled that on the day of her profession she had felt not only immense joy but above all a deep sense of thanksgiving to God for his fidelity and for the wonderful things he had given her during the years of religious life. And she concluded: “I am certain that this sentiment will remain until my last breath.” Truly the Lord was close to her and gave her strength until the end. He allowed her to live in a spirit of silence and self-offering for vocations, these years of aging and illness marked by suffering due to hypertension, osteoporosis, dementia and, finally, the pneumonia that led to her death.
The Word addressed by the Lord to the prophet Isaiah, but also to other biblical figures, and finally to Fr. Alberione, had marked and accompanied her entire existence: “Do not be afraid, I am with you.” It was this word that sustained her in the last days of her life, when she feared that evil would overwhelm her. And today, it is again the word of Jesus that accompanies her in her final resting place and gives comfort to us and to all her loved ones: “It is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread… I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will not hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst!” Let us trust fully in these words as we deliver this dear sister into the Father’s embrace.