Our Lady of Guadalupe & Sisters of Mary
OUR FOUNDER FR. AL ON EXPANDING TO MEXICO…
The corporal work of serving the poor has always at its core been a spiritual work of mercy as well. From its inception, our founder, Fr. Al, has dedicated the charitable work of the Sisters of Mary to the Blessed Mother. Every expansion and new mission has in a special way been led by her maternal guidance and care…
“I felt like Juan Diego to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe first appeared in 1531. Because of a commitment to a sick uncle, Juan Diego also tried to avoid Our Lady of Guadalupe by taking another path below the hill where she was always waiting for him. But lo and behold, as he was tiptoeing along this other route, he looked up and there she was, smilingly blocking the way and waiting for him. Now this was my experience. It seemed as if I were desperately trying to avoid this beautiful and mysterious Virgin of Guadalupe. I would go this way and that way, try this and that excuse but she was always there, waiting for me, blocking my path and gently leading me in the direction of Mexico. At times I would look at her portrait and sometimes think of her as a loving opponent. No matter what I tried she was always there and eventually, of course, she had her way and did get me to Mexico.
Although my stay in Mexico City was brief, I came away with a strong impression that the culture of Mexico and the problems of the country and the Church were remarkably similar to those of the Philippines. There was indeed great poverty in Mexico. Although statistically the country was perhaps more than twice as prosperous as the Philippines, the poor in Mexico looked poorer than in the Philippines. For one thing, in Mexico, the slum-dwellers had to contend with the bitter cold, the rain, the mud and terrible transportation problems. Also, the level of education in Mexico was much lower than in the Philippines.”
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE & THE UNFINISHED SYMPHONY
Our founder, Fr. Al, had opened boystowns and girlstows to serve the poor and provide children a brighter future in Korea and the Philippines throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s. By 1990, he has been diagnosed with ALS, and not given long to live. However, his spirit to spread the charitable work did not end. He was encouraged to expand operations into Mexico even though he knew he may never see the fruit of his labors. His work in Mexico was termed his “unfinished symphony.” Since then, the Sisters of Mary have continued to expand his mission to Guatemala, Brazil, Honduras, and Tanzania.
“Whenever I arrive in Mexico and the last I do before I leave is to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the one who is responsible for this project and so each opportunity I get, I remind her of her responsibility and reconsecrate the project, the Sisters and myself to her loving care.
I felt that Our Lady of Guadalupe was accompanying me. In any heart, I kept repeating the marvelous gentle words of Mary to Juan Diego, “Do not be afraid. Am I not here? Are you not in my heart? Will anything be lacking to you?”
In my heart, I spoke a little ‘muchas gracias’ to Our Lady of Guadalupe who made all this possible. Mexico was to be my Unfinished Symphony, but, at least, the first movement of the symphony was finished; and this was a cause of great joy, celebration and thanksgiving.”