A testimony by Arlyne



During my early twenties searching for meaning in life led me to the Society of St. Teresa of Jesus (STJ). I met them in 2002, I was then thinking about the purpose of my existence and discerning about religious life. I saw their poster in Quiapo Church. My attraction to the words written in the poster gave me the courage to get in contact with them. I texted Sr. Bea and told her that I wanted to visit them. That was the beginning of my encounter with them. STJ is an international congregation founded in Spain and just beginning to take roots in the Philippines. All the sisters came from Latin America and Spain. They had only one Filipina who was an aspirant at that time. After a few visit and knowing their charism, spirituality and ministry I decided to have a live-in experience. I stayed for a month in their community located in Navotas. My experience of solidarity with the poor deepened my desire to serve God as a religious missionary. We also went to Louisiana, US to continue our formation. Another horizon was opened up to me.  After a year I was sent to Texas for my pastoral experience. In Texas I met the Mexican-American culture. In May 2009, the five us of went back in the Philippines to srart the refoundation in the porvince.  However all beginnings are not easy. Things did not work out well with all of us so in March 2010 my companion and I left STJ. Also in 2013 the congregation decided to leave Philippines for good.

A call to for social responsibility and to be in solidarity to the plight of the masses for justice.

As soon as I left STJ I continued my studies in IFRS. I took Master of Arts in Religious Studies major in Scripture. Studying in IFRS opened a new horizon for me and called me to get involved in society. In IFRS I had learned many things and gained new insights about faith and responsibility. The text that played an important role in my life back then was the call of Moses in Exodus 3:1-10. Farthermore all the insights that I had learned did not only happen in the four walls of our classroom but also outside. It happened through the various student activities and social involvements. As students of theology and scripture we are called to be aware of our social responsibility and to be in solidarity with the plight of the masses for justice. It is a moment of integrating all theories learned into praxis. For what profit a person who is well versed in theology and scripture if she/he does not know how to commit to the emancipation of the poor and powerless in society.

Studying in IFRS also led me to Notre Dame De Sion (NDS). Leah and Piar were my classmates back then. We became friends and thus their community in Dungon became the group sanctuary and at the same time space for all of us to study and relax. This gave us the opportunity to know their charism, mission and spirituality. We also came to meet some sisters from Australia and attended their community celebrations. I became attracted to their three fold charism and mission. I enjoyed our time studying the Scripture through the use of Jewish Christian resources. In addition I admired the Sr. Pat Fox’s commitment to the emancipation of peasants. In fact her dedication inspires me to be fully involve in the plight of struggling masses for social justice and peace.