Allow me to share a glimpse of a woman I have met at St. Paul University Manila in recent years. She was a woman of talent being a musician and composer. Her popular liturgical composition “Sinong Makapaghihiwalay” continues to echo in the churches and chapels. She became the dean of the SPUM College of Music and Performing Arts. Sadly, she had cancer in recent years but in her frail health, I would usually see her flashing her smile as she plays the piano. Last August 2, she celebrated her birthday but days after that died. Sr. Anunciata Sta. Ana of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, a woman who lived a full life living her commitment and journeying with others.

Dear Claretians, you are young, very far from your 85th birthday. But I urge you to live your life to the fullest:

1. In your vibrancy, make the most out of your limited time in the SHS journey. Discover your talents and share these in the service of other people. Never lose hope and keep believing in your life of giftedness.  No pandemic, no sickness, no challenge should put you in despair. You can make it. You may be in a totally different situation but the call to live a good and meaningful life has not changed—the invitation to keep going and keep excelling with virtue remains.

2. You can make it! You are Claretians and you are dauntless. Such zeal is present because, as in the music of Sr. Anunciata, “Sinong Makapaghihiwalay,” you will never be alone in the journey of life. We are forever grateful for the presence and accompaniment of your mentors—the Claretian administrators, teachers, and staff and also your parents and classmates. You are not left on your own because as a community,  there are treasured persons who are ever-patient with you. More so, you have the Lord who is the Emmanuel—God-with-us—who never leaves us. God’s loving presence is forever.

These are important reminders for you—make the most out of your life as you are blessed with all the blessings that you cannot even count, and remember that you are not alone.

As we say cheers to a new School Year, we say this keeping in mind that it is with the spirit of Compassion, Humility, Excellence, Empowerment, Respect for Life and Service that we shall all learn together knowledge that is best with virtue.

Scientia Maxime Cum Virtute