Mother Joan Clare Chin Loy's Speech
addressed to
Mt Alvernia Central Florida International Gala held on July 14 2012

 
 

 

Posted: July 20, 2012

 
     
 

President Dawn Chin and Executive Members of the Florida MAHS Alumnae, Chapter Mrs Grace Cherian Prncipal, others distinguished guests
THANKS……

Many years ago, when I taught at Immaculate Conception High School, Science Teacher, Sister James Vincent and I dreamed about writing a Biology Work Book…I would do the diagrams and Sister JV would do the labels. It did not materialize. Then we were going to write a book – HOW TO GROW OLD GRACEFULLY. Even in this my old age, that did not materialize either.

TODAY I AM REVEALING TO YOU , MY YOUNG and older LADIES OF M.A.H.S., NOT THE IDEA OF A BOOK BUT IDEAS FOR REFLECTION, AND A fleeting MOMENT, TO CONSIDER ; NOT HOW TO GROW OLD GRACEFULLY, NOT HOW NOT TO GROW OLD DISGRACEFULLY BUT... HOW NOT TO GROW OLD … WITHOUT GRACE
More positively, HOW TO GROW OLD GRACED.

In an era soaked with the idea of beauty, poise, fame, personality and physical grace, we take time out to contemplate SPIRITUAL GRACE; the beauty of the soul as well as the beauty of the body.

I was sent the c.d. of the previous function held by the MAHS Florida Chapter, and I could not recognize one face! You had all grown old gracefully… so much so, that I could not recognize one student by face or by name, in the cd... I could not tell the name of one single alumna.. ..I thought THINGS ARE BAD! I said to myself, I have to get alive again. Where is all this leading to?

I noticed in the program of your Health Fair at Mt Alvernia High School in March of this year, you identified the social, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of the person in the search for well-being and wholeness. What a great job you did on this too! It was thorough, selfless, enormously helpful, and I reflected, “these young ladies are really proving that teaching DOES pay, in the end”. You tackled the development of personality aggressively and comprehensively covered the important areas of the person which needed to be addressed. You spoke IN ACTION to the present students. This GET TOGETHER of past students has a similar but different aim - for well-being and wholeness, YES, but for, and I quote Dawn Chin Jones, your President, “It aims at a reconnecting, a return to look at old times, a re-union for camaraderie “ …..and a recollection of happy or unhappy funny memories. To tell you the truth, one of the main reason I was drawn to come, is because it was not fund-raising. We are Compassionate Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. Like someone said, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery as lot easier to live with.”

It sort of set my focus on what greetings I should bring to my ladies of years-long- gone.. I am not fond of the fund-raising. It is one of the reasons; Mt. Alvernia High School was even scolded for taking in too many students who had failed the Common Entrance. I admitted it could have brought down, and probably did, the level of our education at MAHS. But we could not dream of exchanging the level of education, for the education of those who had the misfortune of missing out at the Common Entrance Exam. We had our time of glory. But then we had to accede to a time of glory for God who asked us to think of all people especially the most needy. To educate those who otherwise would not have received an education, because their name did not appear in the Common Entrance Pass List.

I AM STILL DOING THAT KIND OF WORK IN THE PHILIPPINES … working for the down-trodden. It is fabulously fulfilling. It is going out and teaching all nations, all peoples, all the uneducated.

1. Social Attitude
My main point of interest at the beginning, dear alumnae, is that you DEVELOP A GOOD, LIKABLE ATTITUDE:
TRY TO GET PEOPLE TO LIKE YOU. NOT ONLY FOR LIKE SAKE, OR FOR GETTING THINGS FROM THEM, OR FOR FRIENDSHIP SAKE OR POPULARITY SAKE. NOT FOR GETTING PRAISE AND THANKS. IF PEOPLE ADMIRE AND LIKE YOU, IT MEANS THAT YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED A QUALITY IN YOU THAT IS APPLEALING, ATTRACTIVE, WORTHWHILE, ADMIRABLE, SELFLESS AND REWARDING TO OTHERS. Happiness comes when your words and your works are for the benefit of others. Happiness is a by-product, not an end product, not a goal.

Make sure that whatever you do, will be done so that those around you will despise you nor hate you. Develop a good attitude: We don’t ask for a lighter rain, just pray for a better umbrella. When floods come, fish eat ants, when floods recede ants eat fish. When people throw stones at you, build bridges, not walls. That is attitude. SOCIALLY, we must develop the attitude that God wants us to.

Your Reunion is a TIME TO REMINISCE ON SCHOOL DAYS, TO RECALL HAPPY AND SAD TIMES, TO THINK OF WHAT YOUR EDUCATION HAS DONE OR NOT DONE FOR YOU, TO ENCOURAGE THE WEAK AND TO URGE ON THE STRONG.

This, your Reunion is a time to re-unite in love and friendship, to renew acquaintances, to recapture the days of yore, and PERHAPS TO CORRECT OR LAUGH OVER THE MISTAKES MADE BY THE “YOUNG AND FOOLISH”.
When things are troublesome and worrying, don’t lose hope, God is smiling and saying, “This is not the end. It is just a bend.” Don’t fall into a rut, because the only difference between a rut and a grave, is the depth .Only time matters. Just hold on. God gives opportunity to everyone.

2. Physically
Because of the conscious awareness of the need for Physical Fitness in the person, there is little need to stress the importance of exercise. But let us not undermine its value. As one person said, “Every time I hear the dirty word “exercise”, I wash out my mouth with chocolate.

Was it Bill Cosby or someone else who said, “My grandpa starting walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he is 97 years old, and we have no idea where he is.”

You are not aware of what so many of our alumnae are doing in the world of work, education and health today. Some of you might recall the Marzoucas at Mt. Alvernia High. Andrea Marzouca is a cousin who attended Immaculate Conception High. She went to Florida , took up a course in health and wellness and got a PhD. Andrea was not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but she came out with a paper called: NINE STEPS TO WELLNESS: These steps are:

  • Awareness of Self
  • Gratitude to God
  • Self-acceptance and realization
  • Self-forgiveness
  • Release and Inner Cleansing
  • Taking action and responsibility for self
  • Experiencing being-ness
  • Peace and at-one-ment
  • Unconditional Love.

Perhaps there is one of the nine which applies particularly to you, and note the last step: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
 
Notice Number Nine = Unconditional Love… the admission ticket to Heaven.

3. Emotionally:
Filipinos are shy but blunt and expressive people. The Filipino term when Bicolano alumni meet is “HARUMBUGAN” or “PAYABANGAN” telling what each one has done, achieved, failed in, accomplished, NOT ACCOMPLISHED, if you have achieved what your Graduation Predictions foretold, the new family members, and eventually “PAYABANGAN”, light-hearted people and ‘jokingly full of air’ , comparing the successes or failures, to identify the “ugali” the characteristic of the Filipino. They plainly tell you they display payabangan. It is a descriptive fun word which says we have come to boast of what we have done in life, to be proud of our achievements, and to find what my other school mates have done. I was so edified when Dawn said, “We are having a re-union to re-connect, to reminisce, to re-unite to discuss, maybe further activities, and to enjoy the company of each other.

I FELT PROUD OF YOU. And how can you continue to make me proud of you?
Life is a series of births and deaths, and in between are joys and sorrows, friends and enemies, health and sickness, successes and failures, rain and shine, yes and no, beginnings and ends. In the long run, it is always, HOW DID I USE THEM? Life is not just holding good cards in your hand, but how did I play them?

Much of your success is due to your personality, your ability to communicate, to form plans of action, to negotiate and to lead, to encourage and to implement. Fine if you have the know-how and the knowledge, , good if you have the experience, but best if you can be trusted.

To have the ability to experience and overcome stress, to be able to cope in stressful situations, which can defeat high blood pressure, this goes a long way to getting you through life. One can hardly think of a person with more stress than Queen Elizabeth II of England , this year celebrating her 60th year reign over England ….the incidents in her life which were stressful, unexpected and emotionally painful and distressing. But in this her Diamond Jubilee celebration as throughout her life, she exemplified and maintained a steady dignified, calm unflappability, worthy and “fit for a queen”. These are qualities to emulate, and put into our own lives.

4. Intellectually
One of the main deterrence in the progress of family life and life in general could be ignorance… a lack of education. This should not present such an obstacle in the life of High School or College Graduates. But as was mentioned, it is not the cards you hold in your hands, but how you play them.

You all know of the IQ, the Intelligence Quotient. Now-a-days it is said that high IQ does not guarantee that you will stand out as brilliant.

There is also the EQ, the Emotional Quotient, the MQ the Moral Quotient and BQ the Body Quotient. Of these the Emotional Quotient is the most well known , and is concerning awareness of your own feelings, and those of others, regulating these feelings, using emotions which appropriate to situations, self-motivation and building relationships, developing coping techniques which can effectively and quickly reduce stress in volatile situations.

The MQ or Moral Quotient deals with integrity, responsibility, sympathy and forgiveness. Keeping commitments, maintaining respect for others, and being honest, accepting and tolerant of other people’s shortcomings, not hurting, envying, nor jealous of others. Not constant volatile, aggressive competition. Like indicated by the sign in a Chinese Pet Shop: BUY ONE DOG, GET ONE FLEA. Not vicious, cut throat greedy competition, just friendly rivalry. Love, help, compassionate.

As Henri Nouwen says, not just pity which implies distance, a certain condescendence between persons. Compassion means to be close to the one who suffers, to suffer with another. Show love.. show compassion, be willing to become vulnerable.. The BQ or Body Quotient, how you feel about and care for your body. Do you ignore the signals your body is constantly giving you? Do you get enough rest, exercise, food, care? These will determine your feeling, thoughts, state of mind and energy levels. Others, think of others first. One of the basic differences between God and human is: God gives, gives and forgives. Human gets and forgets. Jesus gave his life that we might live. We must also take up the challenge and do something in return by using the weapons of diligence, distrust of self, confidence in God, remembrance of the Passion, mindfulness of our own death, and remembrance of God’s glory.

We live in a world of stress. Integrity is hard to come by. It is each person for himself, what is yours is mine and what is mine is my own. How can I make the world a better place? They say family is like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts. There are times when you get exasperated trying to teach the children that no matter how much Jell-o you put in a swimming pool, you can’t walk on water. Where raising teenagers is like nailing jello to a tree. People often don’t have time for others. Have you ever thought that you are a miracle just waiting to be revealed to the world. Who you are is God’s gift to you. Who you become if your gift to God. Our world needs otherness. And perhaps if we developed the habit of thinking of others more, of making others feel loved, appreciated and special, this could relieve some of the stress which tears away at our feelings so destructively.

Like all the snowflakes which fall from the heavens we are all different, but just as the earth accepts every snowflake, we can accept others with all, their quirks, differences and idiosyncracies; not merely endure them, tolerate them, but accept them. To be able to listen to others, to share their ideas and thoughts and interests. In order to do this, we must develop a genuineness, a sincerity and honesty which in this day and age is so lacking in our society. As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true”, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man.” Truth, honesty, openness, frankness, are all ingredients which go to bake the best cake for human consumption.

Try to use good logic. Not “Nobody is perfect. I am a nobody. So I am perfect.” Don’t fool yourself.! Your focus as your Health Fair was EMPOWERMENT. Some of you might remember when I taught you, I used to say, “When you get to be a Doctor, try to find a cure for cancer.”

In the time of Moses when the Israelites worshipped the golden calf, they were stricken with illness until they looked upon the cross with a serpent on it. In the time of Noah, when the people were eating and drinking to their hearts content, they were flooded out. The people’s evil resulted in the fire and brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrah .

Now as I depart, and as you are mature and no longer High School students, but Young, Middle Age, Approaching Golden Age, I challenge you to add another category to Physical, Emotional, Mental, Psychological and Moral Empowerment… Spiritual. In order to localize our efforts and goals so that they can be most effective, most far-reaching, we can add to EQ Emotional Quotient, MG Moral Quotient, BQ Body Quotient, the dimension of SQ, a Spiritual Quotient. Not that you do not have this Spiritual Dimension in your lives already. What did Mt. Alvernia and others do for you?

Spiritually ; So many of you are in Health Care , Health and Wellness, Social Welfare and Programs relating to the Betterment (Empowerment) of peoples, Consider in Sickness – to impart not only the medicines, injections, physical amenities, but …… give hope, acceptance, care, comfort, patience, tender loving care.

For the Depressed- Give Wisdom in words and example, advice, light-hearted words, laughing (which is really jogging on the inside) listening with attention and interest

ToThe Wrong Doer – those in drugs, corruption, cheating, stealing, lying, alcohol …… teach integrity, honesty, sincerity, keeping commitments, promises, the Commandments and Sacraments. To the Rejected, Abandoned, Surrendered – Shower down love, affection, T.L.C. God’s Presence and Providence . My dear alumnae, eventually you will get old, and you feel you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
NOW IS THE TIME TO IMPART YOUR KNOWLEDGE, even if you are not a teacher… Go teach all nations.

Andrea Marzouca’s last step to Wellness is well taken: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. And you know the ten ways to love … from Scriptures; Listen without interrupting, listen without accusing, give without sparing, pray without ceasing, answer without arguing share without pretending, enjoy without complaining, trust without wavering, forgive without punishing, promise without forgetting.

Remember the story of the man who stood before God, his heart breaking from the pain and injustice in the world. DEAR GOD,” he cried out, “LOOK AT ALL THE SUFFERING AND ANGUISH, AND DISTRESS IN YOUR WORLD. WHY DON’T YOU SEND HELP?”

And God responded, as I do to you today, dear Alumnae, “I DID SEND HELP … I SENT YOU!”


 
 

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