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My Cup Overflows

by Sr. Cora Sastre, ICM

(Introduction to the THANKSGIVING MASS FOR MISS ROSARIO SANTOS CORDERO’S GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE held at St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church on December 28, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. Miss Rosario or “Charie” was a long time partner in mission of the ICM Sisters in the Philippines, serving as teacher and School Administrator in St. Louis School High School Department for more than 50 years!)


Christmas is for children and for those who have remained children at heart. Those who know Miss Charie would understand why she asked God to reach Christmas after it dawned on her that earthly time was running out.


Miss Charie really, really, LOVED CHRISTMAS!

If gift-giving were the norm of life, every day was Christmas for Miss Charie. She was VERY GENEROUS and GRATEFUL. And in her life, SHE SAW GOD IN THE SAME WAY.


 A line in a song goes, “When I fall in love, it will be forever, or I’ll never fall in love.” It could be nonsense for others, but for Ms. Charie, it was so true. Miss came to SLSC 53 years ago, gave her whole life in the chosen vocation, and to this day never left. I remember that Miss Charie’s face would always light up whenever she quipped:

“It is almost unbelievable that I could stay this long in this institution.” - a record nobody can ever match. She would add, “I never thought I would still be asked to serve as principal 12 years after I retired...I thought I only would have to deal with co-education but it went to ESC certification, re-certification, and PAASCU accreditation...I have almost seen everything at St Louis...” Then when she was chosen as one of Baguio’s Outstanding Citizens, she said, “I was so surprised...I did not expect it.” Towards the end of her last school year at SLSC, when Ms Charie had a series of tributes which seemed not to end...she was so overwhelmed with gratitude. She would say, “I thought it was the last...but THANK YOU...THANK YOU...”

  In the summer of May 2013, we asked Ms Cordero to be one of the ICM mission partner storytellers in the ICM Formal Education Ministry workshop with the theme: REVISIT, REASSESS, RENEW. As we reflected on the answers she would give for each guide question, I told Ms: “God is faithful to you as you have been to God. With this to cap your years at SLSC, you have truly come full circle.” It made so much sense that when she was about to “officially” end her service as principal, she had to summarize her experience of almost a lifetime through simple but probing questions that revealed who she was and who she had become. Let me quote her introduction for the storytelling. “This historical flashback of my experience of participation in the mission of the ICM through education has shaped the direction of my life and gave meaning to who I am today. As I reflect and share, I do this with deep gratitude to God, to my mission partners and to this school where I grew up and spent my years sharing the gift of life and gift of vocation through teaching.”

Ms Charie’s life is a cup which continues to overflow. She gave more than what we could ever hope for.

   In life and in death she received MORE than what she could ever ask for. So when Ms asked God to able to celebrate Christmas in this earthly life, I surmised that God who wanted to give MORE must have said, “Charie, I granted that you celebrate your birthday in your earthly dwelling. As for my birthday, YOU ARE READY TO JOIN ME.” Miss Charie understood God’s generosity in her life – giving the ultimate gift of eternal life just before Christmas! She went so peacefully and we could never imagine Ms Charie so radiant, so happy like a child filled with awe and wonder for the new heavenly ambience at Christmas! With a heart full of gratitude I could imagine Ms Charie saying her famous words of appreciation whenever we did something wonderful:


“Wow, maganda, maayos, masaya! God, I can kiss you!”


 The whole of Ms Cordero’s life was a Eucharist - gift-giving and thanksgiving. It was a life fully lived after Christ’s mind and heart – so intensely focused on God’s mission, so loving and generous - touching the lives of so many who came into her life. Let us thank God for the gift of Ms Charie’s life – the woman whose cup continues to overflow and whose light continues to shine.

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