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The Camillian Sisters in Digos

 


(Established on Sept. 1, 2002)

Surrounded by high mountains, adorned with verdant hills, enriched by a gorgeous sea, Digos is a beautiful, relatively small city in Davao del Sur. It is easy to feel at home there and our Sisters did feel immediately at home when they began their community life in a house provided by the Bishop at Lim Extension Street.

From the early days of their presence in the place, groups of children stopped for a while, as they came home from school, to chat with the Sister who might be watering the plants in the garden or getting the clothes dried by the sun. And they continue to do so.


In the past few weeks everyday at 5:30 p.m. children and youth have been joining the Sisters in praying the Rosary and the Liturgy of the Hours and in the long silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It turns out that they come earlier and earlier to help the Sisters with some little chores. When they pray, they are just one family calling out to the Father in the name of Jesus and imploring the gift of peace in places afflicted by violence and war, asking health for the sick, food and jobs for those in need.

At times, someone else knocks at the light wooden door of the Sisters’ house: She is a kind neighbor who brings some vegetables, bananas or mangoes from her own trees or another generous friend who sends a sack of rice. The Sisters are so grateful and happy not only because they experience God’s loving Providence  in this way, but also because they have something to share with the needy who come for help and the sick whom they visit. Some of them, in fact, live in such a destitute condition that simple medication would do nothing to improve their health. And so the Sisters are often at their side, to clean them, feed them, and shower compassionate care on them. At times it is quite difficult to go down the hill under the scorching heat of the sun to fetch water for the bath or to face the almost unbearable stench of a body struck by sickness and poverty. But even more difficult for the Sisters are the stories of these people, deeply wounded in their family relationships and utterly helpless in their silent cry.

Yet inner joy is also the lot of these red-crossed caregivers, often seen on their bicycle or on the motorcycle as they come and go for their home visitations in the neighborhood. When, for instance, after the constant visits from the Sisters, Justiniana could once again find in herself the desire to live and be well, the community was very happy. Acupressure and acupuncture help, but the Sisters’ smile, their loving touch and their encouraging words are even more effective for the healing of the person and the transformation of the family. As a result those who were repulsed and hesitant to get close to their family members who were ill, rediscover their own warmth and affection. Thus, the sick are brought back to the inner circle of their families and more easily regain their health.

It is also a great consolation for the Sisters to experience the collaboration of many lay friends who inform them about the precarious conditions of sick people they come to know. Some of them have even started to go with the Sisters in their home visitations. Furthermore the Sisters appreciate greatly the help and concern of the Bishop and the priests of the Diocese, who for their part admire the Sisters very much.

Our mission in Digos has passed the tenth year. Through God’s Providence the Sisters are able to organize various health care and educational activities for children and adults as well as for the elderly who are abandoned. Certainly, the Sisters’ unselfish dedication will contribute to empower many people towards an active collaboration in facing a daily life which in itself is quite hard, yet rich with great opportunities for an authentic human and Christian growth.