When you realize you have spare time, what do you usually do? Maybe it is normal to go on a movie marathon of movies you missed since you were busy studying or maybe it is time to go out with your barkada to celebrate the end of prelims or finals week.
For some of us who go to Iraya Study Center, “pag may time, bumibisita kami sa mga mahihirap” (when there is time, we visit the poor). We teach catechism to some girls who live near us in Sulucan street every Saturday. In order to get to know the girls better, we also make time to visit their families. One Saturday in September, Geoffel, Claire and I visited the humble home of Ate Mary Rose. She has three daughters and they live in a small home in one of the many aisles in Sulucan. The space is very small and they have makeshift stairs. They live in the 4th floor while her mother and other relatives live in the 2nd and 3rd floor. Her three-year old daughter is an expert in climbing the maze of stairs (which required quite some skill).
In the course of our conversation, we learned Ate Mary Rose was on the family way. She said she wanted to work but she was advised to rest because she was advanced in her pregnancy. While we were talking her two daughters were preparing to attend the Catechism classes that we gave. They freshened up in the common showers near their house. In a giffy, they were all made up and ready for catechism. Before leaving, we gave them a bag of mammon which they can partake of and we gave them prayer cards of St. Josemaria. We explained to them that they can ask him for any favor.
In visiting, Ate Mary Rose and her family, we didn’t want to address any social problem as St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, taught us. We just wanted to get to know a family and cheer them up. Little did we know that we will learn from them too. We learned people can live in dire circumstances and still be happy. At least I learned to appreciate having my own bedroom which, for some people is already the space for their entire house. I guess know I can understand more Pope Francis when he said “Learn from the poor”.
Would you like to try learning from the poor too?
Volunteers in Iraya Study Center go to visits to the poor and sick every month. Contact us at (02) 354-2745 or contact Be-ann at 0917-871-0607 if you would like to go with us for a visit.