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It is in the realization of this “unlimited capability” that God has given to everything in Nature that God wants to nurture and develop.

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Constant Divine Indwelling

A Lord’s Leaven Missionary lives only for God and lives always in constant awareness and adoration of the presence of the Triune God within the Sanctuary of the soul.

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By Bro. Josefino Rona

Awarding of the Pilgrim Virgin

I was awarded an authentic replica of Our Lady of Fatima, Pilgrim Virgin, to visit parishes, offices to campaign for Prayers for Peace

-April 9, 1984-

The long-distance call

December, 1983, at about 2:00 o’clock in the morning, the telephone rang. Groggy from sleep, I got up to answer.

Hello.” a Caucasian woman’s voice came from the other side of the line.

Yes.” I replied.

Are you Bro. Joseph Rona?” the voice through the phone said.

Yes, I am.”

The Blessed Mother, International Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima will visit your country next year. Along with the International Pilgrim Virgin are eight (8) other statues of Our Lady of Fatima with the first-class relics of the visionaries. Seven (7) are given to bishops. But one is for you. You have been selected to receive one authentic replica of Our Lady of Fatima. Please wait for instruction.

The direct message got me perplexed, tongue-tied and dazzled. I could not understand what the lady was talking about. Why me? Groggy from sleep. I could not even ask who the lady was. No address. No telephone. It was just a voice. The only word I could utter was, Thank you.” The other side put down the phone. I knew then that this was a very specific mission, but I just did not know what to do and how to go about it. “Well,” I said to myself, “I’ll just pray and wait.”

The instruction

The following month, January, 1984, it was announced that the International Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima from Portugal would visit the Philippines on April 9.

Two weeks before the arrival of the Pilgrim Virgin, I received a letter from a certain Mrs. Joan Lacertoso of Bakersfield, California, the donor of the replica from the Blue Army, giving me instruction to coordinate with Bro. Ben Reyes of the World Apostolate of Fatima (Blue Army) Philippines. Mrs.Lacertoso, I came to know much later, was the lady who called me by phone that December of 1983. She instructed me that the replica is intended to visit parishes, communities, seminaries, institutions to spread the Peace Plan of Our Lady.

I immediately coordinated with Bro. Ben Reyes, the local Blue Army coordinator for Metro Manila. Everything then was arranged as to the day and time of the reception of the replica at the Manila International Airport.

The arrival: April 9, 1984.

Manila International Airport. The mammoth crowd was graced by the presence of His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, several bishops and priests, the First Lady, Imelda Marcos, wife of the President, with some Cabinet members and other government officials. More than a million people were waiting for Our Lady’s arrival that day. Our little group of mission volunteers from the Lord’s Leaven Mission House was also waiting.

The Queen of the World plane which carried the International Pilgrim Virgin Our Lady of Fatima and Mr. John Haffert arrived from a pilgrimage tour to five other countries before the Philippine schedule of the visit.

One cannot imagine the joy, the love and the tears that swelled among the people when they saw Our Lady’s statue coming out of the plane carried by two guardians in black coat and tie. Cardinal Sin and other priests were behind Our Lady. The motorcade proceeded to the Luneta. From the airport to the Luneta the highways were filled with people waving welcome banners and blue and white flags while Our Lady was passing by.

In the meanwhile, I and my group received the replica that was given to me. I could not understand what I felt. I knew it was a great privilege to receive such a gift from Our Lady. But I felt humbled by this favor from heaven. So I requested my brother priest who was with me at that time to receive the replica for me, he being the priest of the family. I felt by his priesthood he was more worthy to receive the Lady than I.

From the moment my brother priest received the image, he started weeping. He was weeping from the airport until we reached the mission house where I stayed. This event was a turning point in his life as a priest.


A fair exchange Our Lady’s coming, my mother’s passing away

Arriving at the Lord’s Leaven Mission House at 4:00 in the afternoon, I entered the door first. Our mission helper with a heavy heart handed me a telegram. Opening it I read, “Nanay (mother) passed away one o’clock this morning. May she rest in peace.” I could not understand how I felt, a mixed feeling, more of an inner joy than of sadness. Nanay in heaven! Mother Mary now with us! A fair exchange!

The Blessed Mother represented by her replica entered the mission house. The rest of the entourage came into the mission house. After Father John placed the replica at the altar prepared for her, I handed the telegram to Father and said, “Mano (brother), Nanay has gone home already. We have a new mother

He looked questioningly at me not understanding what I meant. After reading the telegram, he weakened, slumped on his knees like an empty sack and started sobbing profuse tears. Everybody started to cry too. We were overcome with mixed feelings, tears of joy for Mother Mary’s arrival and tears of sadness in sympathy for the death of our mother in our home town miles and miles away. We were not there to attend to her passing, because we were busy attending to Mother Mary’s coming in to the Mission house.

From that day on Mother Mary became our Mother in exchange of Nanay who received her reward in heaven that day for all the beautiful sacrifices she did together with Tatay for all of us their children. Nanay and Tatay, both in heaven, could be more with us now that they are in the spirit. It is my experience that when I call on them and ask for their help, they in one or another always come to my aid.

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