Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Whom Would You Give YOUR Life For?

The Sister (or Pious) Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM) continue to celebrate with joy the 90th anniversary of their congregation’s foundation (February 10, 1924). The first Pontifical Approval of the congregation was granted by Pope Pius XII on January 12, 1948. On the morning of that same day, Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, who had offered his life to God so that the PDDM would be recognized by the Church, thereby preserving the unity of the Pauline Family, celebrated his last Mass. The Lord accepted his oblation. Suffering from leukemia, Fr. Giaccardo died on Saturday, January 24.

Commemorating three events—his dies natalis, or the day of his birth into the fullness of eternal life, our 90th anniversary, and the Year of Consecrated Life, I am encouraged to share my vocation story – my call to belong to the PDDM.

In December 1966, a few days before Christmas, my father, Jose, underwent an exploratory operation at the North General Hospital in Manila. It was an “open and close” surgery. The doctors discovered that my father had cancer of the liver which had spread extensively. It was not possible for the medical team to take a biopsy for fear that my father would bleed to death. The surgeon advised my mother to call a priest and to give comfort care to my father who, at most, had three months to live. I cried all day and into night. And late in the night, I noticed that the light in my mother’s room was still on. I went to her room. I saw her kneeling and praying with her arms extended in the form of a cross. I told her that if God would heal my father, I would enter the convent.

Seven months after, my father was still alive. He had lost about 50 pounds and was skin and bones. He was itching from head to foot. His eyes were an ugly yellow, and his dark-yellowish skin was hanging loose. A friend suggested to my mother that she bring my father to the Manila Sanitarium Hospital, managed by the Seventh Day Adventists, and consult another cancer specialist. Before subjecting my father to another exploratory operation, the medical team prayed over my father. When they opened him up, they were amazed, for my father’s situation had completely changed. They were able to biopsy a piece of the liver. It revealed that my father had, not cancer, but tuberculosis of the liver! My father lived 30 more years.

In 1969 I was introduced to the PDDM congregation in Antipolo by our family friend Fr. Peter Barisoro, SSP, who was chaplain at the Divine Master convent. I entered the convent on May 3, 1970. The Divine Master chose me to belong to him completely and to serve him through the Eucharistic-priestly-liturgical apostolate. By divine grace, I responded to his call. The promise I made when I was a teenager certainly played an important part in my vocation story.

At present I am working as a missionary in the United States. It is beautiful and challenging to live a life of hiddenness, silence, prayer, and contemplation, to be a testimony of Christ’s kenosis, his self-emptying, and to confront the modern world with the truth that worship without sacrifice is self-destruction. Through the Lectio Divina apostolate, I break the “bread of the Word” and share it with the people of today through the Internet. I celebrated with my companions (Sr. Mary Claire, Sr. Mary Dorothy, Sr. Mary Jesusa, and Sr. Mary Joseph)  the 40 years of our religious consecration last December 8, 2014. I bless and thank the Lord for the gift of the PDDM vocation. I am grateful for the joy and peace that the Eucharistic Master gives me as I carry out my daily tasks with personal dedication and apostolic intention. May God give me the grace to participate intimately in the ultimate supper of the Lamb—in the awesome glory of the heavenly liturgy! May he grant the same stupendous grace to every Pauline.

Photo: Sr. Margaret J. Obrovac, FSP
Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang, PDDM, finished her B.S. Pre-Medicine at the University of the Philippines and made her religious profession in the PDDM on December 8, 1984. She studied Liturgy at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (St. Anselm) in Rome and was the Liturgy Coordinator (Program and Events Committee) during the World Youth Day ’95 in Manila. Now based in Fresno, she continues to prepare the Lectio Divina pastoral tools that could be accessed on their website: She is a recipient of the Pope’s award: Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

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