THE JOY OF LOVING AND BEING LOVED
by Sr. Editha Lani Dellosa,tc
Deep in every person is the need and longing to love and be loved. It is a need that has to be satisfied to find true peace and joy in one’s life. It is a love that accepts the preciousness and peculiarity of a person who has her/his own strengths and weaknesses, a love that recognizes the giftedness of the person and the many possibilities that she/he can explore given the opportunity and motivation, a love that heals wounds and brokenness and restores one’s wholeness and dignity, a love that guides and corrects and a love that brings the person back to the source and giver of her/his life.
Holy Family Home Makati Foundation Inc. (HFHMFI) was founded by the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters of the Holy Family for this mission handed on to us by our Father Founder Venerable Father Luis Amigo: to share the joy of loving and being loved. As collaborators/helpers (zagales) of the Good Shepherd who had experienced first the love, care, and compassion of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, we are sent to do likewise especially to the marginalized in the society.
Aside from providing shelter and protection to the indigent, neglected, abandoned, orphaned, and street girls and youth from the manipulative and corruptive environment of the streets, Holy Family Home offers a family environment that leads to spiritual and personal growth as well as a healthy social co-existence and prepares them to return to their families and to society. It focuses on the personal, educational, and social companionship of the youth in an atmosphere of freedom, responsibility, and trust.
Most of the girls and youth who arrived in Holy Family Home were plying the streets of major cities in Metro Manila due to poverty and usually large families, limited access to basic social services, breakdown of family structures, and the shift from traditional values that tend to be consumeristic and materialistic. When they experience family problems, hunger, neglect, and domestic violence, they escape from their homes and live part-time or even full-time on the streets. To survive, they resort to begging, scavenging, petty theft, etc. They are very vulnerable to maltreatment, sexual abuse, and exploitation.
When they arrived in Holy Family Home, they were generally malnourished and anemic, many of them physically and intellectually stunted. Some suffer psychologically from undue family pressures, abuses, and neglect. Very often they have low self-esteem. They are usually aloof, distrustful, and “fighters”, accustomed to bullying and being bullied. Many have not received the sacraments of initiation and have no knowledge about religion.
It is a big challenge for the Sisters and the staff to let them feel that they are welcomed and accepted. Each has to be known in her individuality, knowledge by way of the heart. It is only in an atmosphere of personal approach, confidence, and security that the girl or youth show her real face, open up about her real feelings, fears, difficulties, and problems. The attitude of listening is very important, where the girl does not feel judged or condemned but understood and loved despite what happened to her or in whatever circumstances she is in. She is given an opportune time to be healed and to move on especially as she is introduced to a God who is love and whose presence is manifested by the faith and witness of the people around her. She is encouraged to dream and aspire not necessarily for material wealth or power or fame but to be a woman of dignity and values. The process has no short cut but every manifestation of accompaniment with dedication and love leaves an indelible mark in the life of the girl and youth.
Love can move mountains… it can generate growth and transformation in a person. When you experience being truly loved, you cannot remain merely a recipient but also a giver… a generous and joyful one.