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My attitude of gratitude

One New Year’s Day was met and celebrated with cheers of excitement at the arrival of a new creature into a family of six children, Baby Joy.

Fondly called simply Joy, I grew with an outspoken personality, bravely asking questions about people, ideas, events and other issues, all in my innocent curiosity.

I always wanted to share ideas or be clearly heard among my playmates, while I also listened with genuine interest and give active support to others.

My father instilled in my young mind the importance of learning from simple experiences and to take them as blessings from God. I remember the best gift swift lift I used to receive from my father every time I did something good.

He would lift me up into the air and let go and then catch me again in his arms. This was always followed by two words, “Bright Girl.” That meant more than anything.

Then came the time when poverty became a hindrance to education. I didn’t believe in it so I bravely left home to find some good ways of achieving my dreams.

I was blessed with a second home under the care of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I was a working student until I finished my secondary education. I learned one important lesson that was useful in life: the big Ps, for the power of prayer, prudence, patience, perseverance, peace, and a positive attitude in life.

My formative stage in the spiritual life was mentored by sisters and priests, and many students from Mary Hurst Seminary, from whom I learned that singing praise and worship songs to God is one of the highest forms of prayer.

Five religious sisters took turns at planting the seeds of faith to my heart. Mother Superior, who taught me about household chores, food and nutrition, including table setting and manners; the school principal, who assigned me to the school library and taught me about activity planning and personnel management; the school treasurer, who taught me about thrift, wise use of money, wealth distribution or work payments; while the two catechists taught me the importance of the bible, prayer, the Mass, service and love to other people, and ultimately to God.

In all my high school years I belonged to the top tens in class. Additional prayers were said in preparation for my college studies, since the convent was responsible only for my four years high school education.

They were answered prayers, as I qualified for a four-year college scholarship offered by the Philippine government to less privileged, but deserving students. I took and passed both the National Integrated Study Grant Programme (NISGP) and the Selected Ethnic Group Assistance Programme.

Choosing the NISGP, I enrolled at Saint Louis University, Baguio City, and finished a Bachelor of Arts course in mass communication. In my third year at college, I applied my interest in broadcasting to accepting an on-the-job training opportunity with CBS-DZWX Bombo Radyo Baguio, while I exercised my interest in journalism as a reporter for the weekly news magazine, Vibrations. I remained in both those jobs for several years after graduation.

I met a man of similar work interest and we got married, later being gifted with a baby girl. Blessings come in many unexpected ways and faces. My husband died from a stray bullet covering a political rally. Next came my bitterness at my father’s health when he was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Why of all creatures my father, my inspiration and my hero? I was devastated by my father’s death. Questions arose, who would lift me up now and who would help me to bring up my little daughter? I was left alone and afraid.

The verse from Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all of you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you,” reverberated in my mind. But it comes with a promise. I took it seriously and moved on forward with life.

Hong Kong became a place of blessing, for it is here that I found comfort through my sister, friends and the Church. I am now a joyful servant of God belonging to the St. Jude’s parish in North Point.

Revival of faith happens when we seek it. Despite the trials that came along, I was able to cling to my faith in God. I am thankful, as I clearly understand that everything happens according to God’s purpose.

I am grateful to all the people who have touched and are now affecting my life, especially to Father Vincent Corbelli for his spiritual guidance, to all the events that served as opportunities for learning, and the truth that God’s power makes things possible.


                          ● Joy Rufino

                          St. Jude’s 

                          North Point