A Twin Vocation
By Sis. Maria Nile Argel of God Our Father, OCDS

My late parents-in law, Judge Manuel Argel and Deputy Commissioner Paz Lahoz, were both Secular Oblates of St. Benedict of the Eucharistic King at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Abbey, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.

I still remember the times when Mama Pacing would bring me along to activities of the Oblates, perhaps wishing that I would join them. When the Secular Oblates of St. Benedict celebrated their Golden Jubilee in 1993, she was one behind the scene in the preparation of the souvenir program.

With her demise in 1995, Sr. M. Geraldine Flores, OSB asked me to take her place. At 40 years old I thought I was still young to be an Oblate so I told Sr. Geraldine I will join when I am already retired. However, when she said that we need you now, I accepted.

I joined the first weekend activity of the Secular Oblates but that desire was short-lived because I realized that my sons aged 10, 8 and 6 were still in need of my motherly presence and care during the weekends.

My twin sister, Ma. Luz Bolong excitedly informed me one day that St. Benedict had a twin sister, St. Scholastica. She went to the Benedictine monastery at Rosario, La Union to express her desire to be a secular member just like me, she too was not meant to be a Benedictine for we were called to be Carmelites. Man proposes, God disposes.

Call to Carmel
Sis. Maria Lucia Bolong of God Our Father, OCDS

Little did I realize that I was being drawn to the Carmel way of life when I brought the Carmelite nuns of Pindangan to Lipa for their retreat with Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD. After mass, I informed the nuns I decided to stay to attend the retreat at Antipolo.

I can see the hand of God calling me to Carmel. With the Carmelite Secular membership mostly senior citizens, there is a need for younger members. Knowing that God leads, guides and coaches each of us to a new level of spiritual growth, at the right time, I simply listen and accept Godís plan for me to be a member. Knowing that God is never outdone in His generosity, I am happy to be sharers in all the spiritual blessings of the Holy Order.

Since I have never been this happy as a result of my obedience to the Will of the Father, I would like to share with you what this Order of the Discalced Carmelites is all about.

First, there are three things a Carmelite should do: 1) Appreciate the vocation; 2) Learn to love it and be grateful to God; 3) Learn to protect and defend it. Keep away from anything that might interfere with our call from God.

St. Teresa of Avila has been described as high-strung and intense, but her sense of humour rarely left her. In admitting novices, she chose girls with a happy disposition. St. John of the Cross said that you can be joyous in suffering because you are drawn closer to God and become Godís intimate friend! St. Therese is Godís saint of the Little Way. She would pray: ďJesus, please help me find a way to love and serve God everyday.Ē

Believe it for not, the Sea and Sky establishments which are the fruit of my earlier sacrifices are doing fine and important occasions we celebrate attest that it has made our life joyful and not monotonous. I make my stand: I have no choice but to follow the highest MASTER.

Our mother, Mrs. Rosa U. Ortega, is one of the first members of the Carmelite Third Order formed on August 14, 1975 by Bishop Ligot.  The vocation of the twins - Sis. Maria Lucia of God Our Father, OCDS, and Sis. Maria Nile of God Our Father, OCDS  -  is attributed to our motherís membership with the St. Teresa of Avila community for 32 years, entering two years after the demise of our father, the late Judge Evaristo L. Ortega.

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