Spiritual formation

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Saint Emerentiana

Sta Emerentiana, my model of hidden and joyful service

Irene Grace Alba-Guitarte, 23rd Generation – Emerentian

Who is Sta Emerentiana? According to the legend of St. Agnes, Emerentiana was her foster-sister.  St. Agnes was a rich Roman heiress who was martyred after refusing her engagement due to her christian religion. Emerentiana, went to the tomb to pray and was suddenly attacked by the pagans, stoned to death by the crowd. Emerentiana was a Roman martyr who lived around the start of the 4th century and we celebrate her feast day every 23rd of January.

Who is Sta Emerentiana for me?

I come to know and love her from the time she was introduced to us as someone who exemplified the value of embracing the ordinary and common things in life and remain joyful in the process.

Our Directress, Ms Recio would tell us that we Emerentians are fond of doing ordinary chores every day and we are extraordinarily happy when its general cleaning time .We are also called the “ palakpak” group because a simple “kutsarita” that would mean having a delicious dessert like ice cream keep us clapping unceasingly. Seeing Ms Navales very delighted to watch all of us enjoying and even singing while doing our general cleaning is simply worth remembering. Yes, this may look or sound small or ordinary for others but for me, its formative and life defining.

Why formative? It is because I have learned to love doing ordinary chores with extraordinary fondness. I love to volunteer or being in charge of simple tasks like washing the dishes, cleaning and putting things in order that others would say comes very natural for me. The joy of being available to lend a hand is a value that was formed little by little in me and I would always relate this with the image of the young Sta Emerentiana, who up to the end served and followed St Agnes in hidden service and with humility and simplicity of heart. Inside me is that burning desire to do acts of little kindness that is also mission driven.

Certainly, such virtues of humility, simplicity and being available and faithful in all things big and small, this for me is the grace of Sta Emerentiana made flesh in my life now as a formator in Xavier University where I am working and at home with my family and I will always be grateful and joyful to have known Sta Emerentiana in Mother of Life.