By TYRONE A. VELEZ
DAVAO CITY– A congregation of women known for its “active Church work of evangelization” and transformative education by joining rallies and strike camps celebrated its feast day in a countdown to its 25th anniversary next year.
The Missionaries of the Assumption (ma), an apostolic society focused on education, celebrated their founding with a gathering on Thursday in the Assumption College of Davao gymnasium with faculty, alumni, priests and nuns, scholars from indigenous communities, and NGOs.
On April 1, 1989, 29 nuns from the Daughters of Mary of the Assumption (FMA) decided to form a new religious society to attune to contextualizing the Vatican’s preferential option for the poor.
Davao Diocese Bishop Romulo Valles was also present and led the opening mass Thursday. A short program showed videos and testimonies on the history of the congregation.
In the Assumption College’s website, it describes the Assumption’s separation from its former congregation in 1989 as “a kind of socio-political maturity… in all aspects of the school’s approach to Christian education as the twilight of the repressive dictatorial regime heralded its end and cries for social change was deafening throughout the land”
While teaching transformative education, the Assumption sisters also took to the streets joining rallies and strike camps against the Marcos dictatorship. They also visited political prisoners.
This continued after EDSA where farmers and activists needed protection from Cory Aquino’s total war policy in the country sides and from the military-created vigilante group Alsa Masa.
Outstanding Alumnus Francis Laminero, who graduated class valedictorian in 1987 and is now a development worker with InPeace Mindanao, remembered those times, “there was a lot of dying, and the school was a funeral parlor of sorts for martyrs during the Martial Law.” This referred to the killing of journalist Alex Orcullo in 1984 whose funeral was held in the school.
Laminero said the Assumption sisters’ “courage to be stirred and to live outside the comforts of the convent” made him realized “that being a student means trying to understand the world we are in.”
He was thankful for teachers and the Assumption sisters for explaining social realities in class, “which was clear to me as the light of day.”
The congregation has its ups and downs in its 25 years. But Sr. Flora Secuya said “what matters is to live the experience, especially our experience with the students.”
The school has opened extension schools to in Malabog, Paquibato District and San Luis, Agusan del Sur catering to indigenous children. They also opened a community in Malabang, Malawi, Lanao del Norte.
Laminero shared that this transformative education has thrived in the lives of others, including his batch which has lawyers and doctors along with development workers living not just with the “Assumption seal” but with “Assumption zeal.”
The school continues its thrust in social awareness by mobilizing for the No to Coal (Network Opposed to Coal) Davao, No to Junk Food campaign, and no to US Visiting Forces Agreement. (Tyrone A. Velez, davaotoday.com)Assumption College of Davao, Missionaries of the Assumption, transformative education