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Homily of Bishop Federico Escaler SJ

A life of dedication, service, love of community,
the poor and those in need


By Bishop Federico O. Escaler SJ
nephew of Sr. Mary Assumption


Bishop Federico Escaler SJ


If I have my choice, this Mass should be the feast of the Resurrection because when you look at the life of Sr. Mary Assumption it was a mixture of joy, sorrow, pain, and accomplishments.


When she decided to enter the convent, my uncle said he will go after Fr. James Moran SJ, her spiritual director. Why? Because her entrance to the convent would disrupt family unity. Later on he saw Mary Assumption very happy in Batangas, in Buhi, in Quezon City and then in Baguio; we were all convinced that life in the convent was the most beautiful thing that could have happened to her.


When she was young it was thought of as being foolish to enter the convent. Having finished her graduate courses at the University of  Sto. Tomas, she would be a teacher, but she decided to break that expectation and went instead to enter the convent in Angers France, to undertake her novitiate.


I recall that one of her obsessions whenever she saw me, when I visited her here and in Baguio, was the question, “When would you become a Jesuit?” And I said, “Stop it”, but she kept repeating it and I think she asked the sisters to pray. And the mother provincial, whenever I saw her, would say, “We are praying for you”, and I said, “Please pray for the exact opposite”.


When I finally entered the novitiate, I told Sr. Mary Assumption that I was going to be a Jesuit and I think that made her day because that was her dream for me.


Looking at her life,  we could characterize it as one of service. Like her sisters in the family. She was used to hard work, my mother especially, was always in the kitchen and her sisters, likewise, were always working. Sr. Assumption started to work and when she realized the importance of her assignment in Baguio. With the inspiration, she taught the girls and women how to prepare jams. Right now, what she and the early sisters in Baguio started, has supported the good works of the Good Shepherd in the Philippines.


And so as we look back, we pray not with sadness, but we rejoice with her and look at her life of dedication, service, love of community, and also love for the poor and with those in need.  I think she lived a full life. As we celebrate this Mass, therefore, this is one of thanksgiving, for the wonderful gift that God has given us and for allowing her to come to our lives and touch ours.