Saturday, June 17, 2006
I was wrong ... and never have I been so happy!
"Dear Mrs. Uy,
I am pleased to acknowledge receipt of your electronic mail dated May 24, 2006, sent to . Allow me to convey my condolences to your family for the unborn baby that you lost. I highly commend your deep trust in God's ways, and you(r) respect for human life and human dignity. I also agree with you that there are medical practitioners who are very cold toward human tragedies, and who irreverently consider the human person simply as a medical case - worse, a specimen - to study, to learn from.
You made the right move in bringing the matter to the attention of Bishop John Du, who is in the better position to see what pastoral action may be proper and necessary, precisely because he is the Bishop of the place.
I am also forwarding your letter to the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life and the Episcopal Office on Bioethics for further attention and action.
With my assurances of prayer and every good wish.
(signed) Rev. Juanito S. Figura
Acting Secretary General"
I received this reply from Rev. Juanito S. Figura, Acting Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday. Reading his letter lifted my spirits, having learned that I had not been ignored after all. I also felt shame, for having had so little faith on our spiritual shepherds, those men whom, from our childhood, we regard with respect and whom we call our “Fathers”.
For quite some time now, I wallowed in my own pool of hopelessness. I tried to hold on to my faith in God, wanting so much to believe that He is still there, watching and guiding, helping me as I follow the path that I believe He wanted me to travel. I reasoned to myself, how could God not help me when, after all, it was His will that I am here right now?
But then, I received nothing but silence from the Catholic Church and I started slipping away. I held on to God as best as I could, but I started losing faith on the fidelity of His people within the Church. I was so discouraged I could not even pray anymore. Going to mass was becoming a great effort once again. I tried to hold on but my heart was drifting away. I started to despair thinking that if the leaders of our Church could turn a deaf ear to my pleas, the very people who should have been the first to rush to my aid, whose mission and vocation is also the very essence of my concern, love and respect for God, how much more the ordinary people who are less devoted to Him? How can I expect people to listen and to care when the Church itself seem to consider my cause too insignificant to merit its attention?
I felt so discouraged that I started to believe that nobody cares for the advocacy that I had undertaken, that all my efforts will lead nowhere except towards futility.........
I realize now the fragility of my faith in God and in the people who do His work for Him.
I ask for forgiveness from them. I also ask God to forgive me.
I pray for more strength so that I will not start slipping again at every sight of adversity.
I was wrong about God’s workers and never have I been so happy!
May 25, 2006
Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
To my most Revered Bishop Lagdameo,
Please forgive my audacity for writing to you about something that may seem too inconsequential in the face of the more pressing problems that surround you everyday. But I need to reach out to everybody, hoping somebody would hear me. I see you in the news and I remember you were our Bishop here in Dumaguete City once. You are strong in your convictions and you are not afraid to speak out. So I come to you, praying you will listen to me and take up my cause.
I hope that in seeing this letter from a housewife in Dumaguete, a city that was once your home, you will spare me a moment of your precious time to read what I need to tell to you.
I am Olga Lucia A. Uy, a housewife and mother of one 6-year old girl. My husband and I desire to have another child, but due to my infertility problem, I failed to conceive despite repeated fertility treatments. But God works in mysterious ways. On April 26, 2006, I discovered that I was about six weeks pregnant! Can you imagine our joy? I saw that as an affirmation of God’s ever-loving presence in our lives. But I lost my baby on May 9, 2006 through miscarriage. I was devastated Father. But I submitted to God’s will. I trusted in His Divine Wisdom and was preparing to let go and start healing from my grief.
As part of my closure, I longed to know what could have happened why my baby died. I was informed it must have been a blighted pregnancy from the start and I wanted medical confirmation for that. I went through the process of questioning myself, if somehow, I had been responsible for the loss of my much prayed-for child.
So on that same morning, I took my dead child to Silliman University Medical Center for biopsy. I handed my little one to a medical technician. After he received the so-called “specimen”, he jokingly handed it to a co-employee and said to him: “O, ihi-i ni.” (“Here, urinate on this.”)
That single event magnified my pain a thousandfold.
On a personal level, I was devastated, to say the least.
On a spiritual level, I was shocked. At that moment, I realized how far gone MOST of us, God’s people, seemed to have drifted away from our Creator. And what really scared me was the realization that seemingly, we do not even realize what is happening to us.
What happened may have been a small isolated event. But on the other hand, it could be reflective of what has happened your flock, we your people Father, how we seemed to have lost our awe and amazement over God's power to grant the miracle of life. We see this almost everyday in the news Father, about fetuses dumped together like garbage in a barrel, or burned instead of being given a proper burial as befitting God’s creation. The loss of our love and respect for the Lord Almighty is reflected by the loss of our respect for all of His CREATIONS, great or small, whatever its form may be.And maybe, this was what happened to that medtech. To him, my baby was only “specimen”, a mass of dead “tissue”. It never occurred to him that “specimen” was a manifestation of God’s awesome power.
Because of this painful experience, I personally undertook an advocacy, a small one Father, to urge the leadership of Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. (SUMCFI) to publicly commit that they would implement a true, intensive and sustained VALUES FORMATION PROGRAM among their doctors and other employees. I am hoping that through this program, they will reawaken MOST of their people to what is truly essential:
· that in their profession, their mission is not only to heal the human body, but also to soothe the battered soul of those who come to them.
I hope that through this, their own people will be properly guided along appropriate conduct as they deal with their patients and their companions, who are HUMAN BEINGS, not mere “cases” for them to attend to.
I also hope that through this program, they will likewise be guided about the giving of appropriate regard for the sensitivities of the people they deal with.
· but more importantly, I am hoping that through my advocacy, their people will be reminded that there is a God above whom we should love and honor in every little thing that we do.
I am fighting a battle against an institution and my puny cries remained unheard. But I will continue because I will find my closure over the loss of my little child only when I can see that something good has come out from my pain, a GOOD that will benefit as many people as possible.
Please help me my Father. Please lend me your strength and your conviction. Please lend me the weight of your goodness and every good thing that you stand for. Please show me Bishop Lagdameo taking on the fight of a small housewife because I cannot do this all by myself.
I have been blessed by God with people here in Dumaguete City who have heard and who have listened. Among them is our own Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing, who heard my pleas for help. Father Wilfredo Quijano of the Redemptorist Community also heard me, and each in their own way, have helped me tremendously.
Father, at the risk of abusing your generosity, please allow me to give you copies of various other letters that I have written. I feel the need to give them to you so you will be able to understand me more fully. All my thoughts, everything I have and everything that I am, you will find in those letters. Please Father, if you have the time, please look into my heart.Thank you so much. May God be with you always as You do His Holy Work.
Your daughter in Christ,
Olga Lucia Alinas Uy
Bishop John Du
Diocese of Dumaguete
Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing
Diocese of Dumaguete