We Took As Much As We Could of God's Blessings Pouring On Us (Sr. Winnie Valencia, SM)
I COME from one of the first places Fr. Al and the Sisters saw of the Philippines – Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Manila. From there I came to study at the Sisters of Mary School in Sta. Mesa, Manila in November 1985. This sudden shift brought many important changes and memorable experiences in my life. In fact it changed my whole life.
One most unforgettable experience was being with the President of the Philippines, Corazon C. Aquino, in one of her several visits to our school. Together with Fr. Al, a boy schoolmate and I accompanied her while she toured our facilities. We sat beside her at the place of honor during a presentation of dances. I still remember the euphoric feeling. I admired her a lot, and still do, for her appreciation of Fr. Al’s and the Sisters of Mary’s work.
In our school, the children have so much opportunity to develop themselves – physically, intellectually, and spiritually – to the fullest. I guess I was one of those who took as much as they could of the blessings God was pouring on us. I tried to learn the best I could and to develop my little musical gift, I joined the rondalla group (a plucked string orchestra), where I played the drum for a few years. My friends used to say, and tease, that I was too small for the job, that every time we performed I could not be seen, which was all the better for me because that made me feel less nervous.
After finishing high school I went on to university through a scholarship and got myself a B.S. in Commerce degree. I took the accountancy Board Exams and became a Certified Public Accountant. I came back to work with the Sisters in 2002. I suppose it was a natural tendency. I was first assigned to work in our Girlstown in Guatemala, at the accounting office there. As part of the work, I learned Spanish, which I consider another big blessing from God in my life.
In 2004 I was transferred to the Brazil Girlstown. Once more I worked in the accounting area, as well as taught English, music, and computer. I have very challenging and interesting experiences with our dynamic Brazilian girls. Again I had to learn the language, Portuguese, and it was no less a blessing.
A year later I was given what I consider the biggest of God’s blessings. This was to discover something I was not fully aware had existed in me – the desire to follow Him in this special path, and to decide to realize it in a concrete way. After working for some time in Brazil, I decided to join the Sisters in 2005. God, through the Sisters of Mary, had given me the “better part.” Although it was given not only to me but to many of us as well who, after finishing our studies here, have decided to follow Him in a better way. I am now a professed sister of the Sisters of Mary.
SR. WINNIE VALENCIA, SM
3rd Batch, 1985-1992 | Sta. Mesa, Manila