I have a beautiful experience which I shared with a few friends, friends who I believe will take my story as true, until one morning while reading the Candle Light I came across the invitation to share stories showing how a wish or wishes were granted through the intercession of Our Lady of Candles. The invitation prompted me to write my painful but beautiful experience which I will never forget for the rest of my life and which I now want the whole world to know.
On the New Year of 1994, my sister-in-law and I went for the Eucharistic Celebration to one of the Catholic churches in Australia. After the Mass we went home and I found out that I had a blister on my right foot, but I know the shoes I wore were not that tight. Then, I remembered that before we went for the Eucharistic Celebration, I could hardly stand and walk because my legs were swelling, thus I wore my old shoes and forgot the discomfort telling myself that I was just due to the cold weather. Then I did my regular routine but to my surprise, afternoon came and I discovered that on the other side of my right foot a blister also appeared. The following day I was shocked seeing blisters on my left foot. I was in great pain and my sister-in-law brought me to the doctor. When the doctor saw my feet he said, “I’m not happy with your situation, you must go to the hospital right now. I give recommendation but first you must have an x-ray.” So, I had my feet x-rayed but the finding was negative. He ordered me to submit to a blood test and the result was, my blood sugar was high. Thus he gave me antibiotic and medicine for diabetes. Thank god, my blisters disappeared. Two weeks after I went back the doctor for my feet were again swollen. When he saw my big red legs he said, “I can’t do anything.” So, I asked his opinion. “How about going home overseas (to the Philippines)? He responded, “That’s good.”
When I told my brother of my decision of coming home to the Philippines, we had a heated argument, but because I wanted to be home with my other brothers and sisters, I left Australia.
Here in Jaro, I didn’t see a doctor thinking that my legs will be amputated and I cannot imagine myself on a wheel chair. Instead I frequented the Jaro Cathedral praying to our Lady of Candles to help me in my undetermined sickness. Persevering the pain and discomfort my legs caused me I tried not to miss the First Friday and Sunday Masses. In the Mass I fervently prayed: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. It was to her I poured out all my anxieties in tears.
September 1994 came, that’s nine months after the blisters on my right foot appeared. I was participating in the Sunday Mass at the Jaro Cathedral when the beautiful experience or I may call it a miracle happened. During the “Our Father” I struggled to stand in pain and while fervently praying, I felt somewhat a “ball of cold wind” touched my red swollen legs. My first human reaction was look down below my skirt and I saw that my legs were back to normal, the pains were gone, in short I was instantly cured. As the prayer continued, I was shedding tears of joy, I believe it was a miracle and I am certain that Our Lady of Candles cannot be displeased by her Son, as Mary cannot also say “No” to me, her daughter who devotedly trusts her.
Yes, I was totally healed from my painful swelling legs more than seventeen years ago, but every time I go back to Australis, I always tell my sisters here in the Philippines that if ever I die there I want my body blessed at the Jaro Cathedral and later have my bones be placed at the ossuary behind it.
To my dear co-faithful of Jaro, I believe that whatever problem we have, be it spiritual, physical and even financial, magdangup gid kita kay Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria kay nagapamati kag nagasabat gid sia sang aton mga ginapangayo sa iya, kun maayo lang ang aton ginabuhat para sa aton isigkataw. But most of all we must also be “Marylike”, loving, devoted and concerned child to her and a brother or sister to Jesus, for sure the Father will not say “no” to the supplications of Mary. Good Luck!
To our dear Lord Jesus and our Lady of Candles, thank you so much for the many graces and blessings I received. I wish I could help those who are sick for the rest of my life.
By Betty Diasnes
(In the words of Ching Aquilo)
A MOTHER’S CRY
She goes by the name of Lorela Guion Torillo married to Eusebio Torillo of Barangay Benedicto, Jaro. They have 6 children, namely, Mark, Mclin, Michael, Menard, Mico and her only daughter Phoebe, 2 years of age, whom the family lovingly doted on, affectionately calling her “Bebs”. It was to be an ordinary day about to end, the 3rd of December, when after supper at around 7 in the evening, the lure and exciting noises emanating from the “carnival” in the plaza of Jaro beaconed. Mclin together with an aunt excitedly brought Bebs to the plaza, her first ever, in a carnival she would one day grow up to hate I speak from experience.). But for now, with her age and innocence, the sounds, the lights, the rides and the possible thrill was just too overwhelming to ignore and one that a child could not simply let pass. The delight was all around: imagine a ferris wheel in the eyes of a child, or the kaleidoscope produced by the ever spinning roulette, or the carousel with its jumping horses, or the roll of a roller coaster though it may have seen better days. In the eyes of the child these are wonders to behold.
Then it happened. Bebs got lost. Mclin and her aunt became frantic the moment they realized it, but with people milling all around and kiosks sprouting everywhere like trees, the search for Bebs in that plaza was a search in a forest, if not for a needle in the haystack. The search became next to impossible, but search they must. She is, after all, an innocent child, a sister, a niece, the only daughter. She is their adorable Bebs!
The emotional trauma of losing someone you love in this manner is more devastating than holding the dead body of the one you love. When someone you truly love dies, you know that this is the way of all flesh, your faith consoles you as to where she has gone to, and after a month or two life for you moves on. Death ends with a period.
But losing someone you love in the manner of Bebs is devastating, a continuous torture that haunts and hurts you even in your dreams. It is a pain one cannot let go. The pain of losing and the hope of seeing intermingle in an endless expectation that can make hope bitter and the waiting a torment more agonizing than the losing itself. It ends, if ever it does, with a question mark or even an ellipsis . . . but never with a period.
Every news is listened to, every panawagan, every piece and bit of gossip and hearsay, even the most gullible, are entertained and analyzed. And this is what Lorela felt and this is what she did – no radio station, no local newspaper, no public authority, not even the priests in the cathedral were spared of a mother’s cry and plea.
She has scoured every nook and corner of every mall and their every stall. When everybody was up and about shopping for Christmas searching for the best gift and looking for the most sumptuous noche buena, this mother was searching for a gift and a delight no money can buy, no store can sell. If eyes can see intentions and the heart can sense what other hearts feel, you could have stopped and consoled her. But that is not the way things are. Alone in her search and alone in her longing, she went about seeking what many would like to believe to be lost forever.
The waiting and searching continued everyday for an agonizing 60 days. Every time Lorella hears her name called, she was up and about thinking that the caller would have something that would boost her hope in finding Bebs or better still end her misery. Every knock on her door was accompanied with the thought of her daughter coming in. Every ring of her telephone, every text message was opened with the hope of good news. But as quickly as these made her heart beat faster they always ended up with another bout of frustration that now verges on despair.
At the end of the day Lorella would find herself in the Adoration Chapel of the Cathedral praying, most often crying, sometimes sleeping in complete exhaustion for a search that provided her no clues, no leads . . . nothing. Not really a devout catholic and untrained so to speak in the art of approaching God, she did what every Jareño would reflexively do – go to the Mother and plead her case before the Candelaria.
Though the image may look detached and distant, her eyes gazing in an expression that could be described as aloof and “other worldly”, yet in her presence one can immediately sense a “feeling” image, something or someone who can sense the longing of hearts. To her Lorella went, almost every day.
Then it happened. It was January 31. She was just passing by after praying at the Adoration Chapel. Lorella looked up and she saw what could have been an ordinary scene – cathedral personnel cleaning the urna of the Seora. But it was not ordinary for her. She immediately felt a pull. This is her opportunity and it was happening just as she was passing by. She ran to the stairs with only one thought in mind: I have to touch her, she said, I have to embraced her if only her feet.
Having climbed her way to the top she humbly asked if she could touch her. They told her yes, she can. And she did – She remembered herself pleading with her – “give me back my daughter as a gift, a gift, a gift from you on the occasion of your fiesta, give her back to me as a gift.”
Then, Lorella went home.
In the morning, February 1, she returned early to the shrine. She bought two perdon and lighted them with a prayer she may have repeated a hundred thousand times already. She was on her way to Bacolod to continue her search.
As the sun began its descent that day and as the parish prepared for the start of the feast of the Candelaria at vespers, at around 2:30 in the afternoon, Lorella received a call. They found her daughter.
They found Bebs!
I met Bebs casually after the 3:00 o’clock mass with her mother, Lorella. She is a cute little girl in the arms of one of our parishioners. They presented her to me to be blessed. I did. Then they told me the story.
I feel I have to tell it to you too.
Viva la Virgen! Viva la Virgen de la Candelaria!!!
Fr. Andy (for Candlelight)