Filipino nuns to Pope Francis: Reform our Church
MANILA, Philippines – “Sister, how old are you?” “Well, I’ve seen 5 popes!” Augustinian Recollect Sister Sally Ubo exclaimed as she arrived at the Manila Cathedral gate Friday morning, January 16.
She could barely hear at her old age, but she is eager to listen to Pope Francis who will address about 2,000 bishops, priests, and religious people – including nuns like her – at the cathedral, the 'Mother church' in the Philippines.
Ubo has seen the Church at its worst, but also at its best. She considered the new papacy as an example of a high moment in the history of the Catholic Church that has survived time but is also confronted with modern issues.
“I feel blessed!” an energetic Ubo said. The excitement is shared by other younger nuns who will attend the papal Mass, Pope Francis’ first in the country.
Francis lives the Gospel
The nuns are excited not only because they will see the Supreme Pontiff but also because they are hopeful meaningful Church reforms can be instituted under his watch. Counting on what they described as Francis’ “leadership by example,” they feel Pope Francis has the legitimacy to initiate the changes.
Other nuns expect Pope Francis to stress on the role of the Catholic Church in modern society.
“Siya ay makatao (He is humane). He does not judge by appearance but by the heart,” according to Sister Ligaya Gaviola of the Veronican Sisters of the Holy Face.
Sister Marily Montalla came all the way from the Diocese of Iligan in Northern Mindanao with high expectations. It is her first time to see a pope whom she believes has the moral authority to shake the Church.
“He embodies the Gospel. He is courageous enough to condemn (social) evils. Hindi siya takot magsalita (He is not afraid to speak up),” Montalla said on her way to the Manila Cathedral.
For instance, the Vatican on October 23, 2013, suspended indefinitely a German Catholic cleric infamously known as the "bling bishop" for living a luxurious lifestyle.
Montalla wants to “hear more” from Pope Francis when he speaks to the Catholic Church in the Philippines. She wants the Pope to speak about the “indifference” of some members of the Church to fellow sisters, brother priests, and the people.”
“Though we are consecrated people, there are times when our way of life does not seem consecrated,” Montalla said.
“Dapat hindi. Kami dapat ang example, pero hindi, eh,” Montalla said (It shouldn’t be the case. We’re supposed to be the role models, but we're not,” the nun said. – Rappler.com