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Sr. M. Josephine Sumobay, faithful disciple of Jesus Divine Master, left this earth for the heavenly abode last November 12, 2011. Here is the eulogy I delivered during her funeral rites last November 14.

Dear Sr. M Josephine
Since I learned of your progressive decline through the text message sent by Sr. Gabriella last Nov. 6 while I was waiting for my return flight from Taiwan to Manila, you have never been far from my thoughts and prayers. My main question then was “when” – when exactly will the Lord come to take you with him? I wondered if he would still give us our last Christmas celebration together? I got the answer 6 days after.


So we reach this threshold and now, the next question is “what” – what lessons does the Master want us to learn from your life and person?
Firstly, we thank you for your evangelical faith lived in the spirit of the Secret of Success, Blessed Alberione’s favorite prayer. As you once wrote in your letter to Madre Lucia, you were very much aware of your incapacity and weaknesses and yet you courageously accepted every responsibility assigned to you, trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in the prayers of our sisters. Hence in accepting life’s challenges, you were able to discover your gifts and bring them to fruition for the glory of God and for the good of souls, especially of our brothers in the Society of St. Paul whom you served with much love and dedication.


Secondly, in these last three months of our on and off meeting, you have truly helped me and I believe all of us, your sisters, to contemplate the value of patient acceptance of the cross – your particular cross, the cross of your rare sickness. I read St. Paul’s words written in your whole body: “I have been co-crucified with Christ”. And this “crucifixion” so to say, you have accepted without complaint, without fuzz. You bore everything in perfect silence. As I shared with some sisters during our formative meetings last October, there were times when I saw you and your condition as a personification of our Lord’s Eucharistic presence. Whenever I saw you being fed by your faithful Dayang, I would be touched to the core of my being. It was as if, I was witnessing some kind of “Eucharistic scene” of bodies being associated to the paschal sacrifice of our Lord. I almost wanted to fall down on my knees and bow down in adoration.


Lastly, Sr. Josephine, receive our gratitude, our thanksgiving from all your sisters and brothers for your fearless confrontation with death. When I asked you two months ago if you were afraid to die, your answer was a resounding NO. And you witnessed to this up to the last moment of your peaceful “passing over” to the next life. Thank you, Sr. M. Josephine, because this last lesson is the most important of all. Even our young ones in formation told me that it was such a beautiful experience. They were so happy to be beside you as you were being transported to the next life. Death is not a frightening thing but a celebration of entry to the real life, eternal life. Hence, while it is painful to be separated from each other because we have truly shared, loved, lived, sung, laughed and cried together in this earthly life, yet we need to let you go.


“Where”: this is the last question I had in mind as I contemplate your life. Where are you now? I have no doubt that you are in Jesus Master’s embrace. He has confirmed your life offering in this Jubilee Year of your religious life. And hence received a great plenary indulgence! Brava, Sr M Josephine! And Bravissimo, Jesus Master! Dear Sr. M. Josephine, there is no doubt you are in the best place you could ever be – the loving embrace of our Master, Friend and Spouse – the perfect place!


We your sisters, brothers, family and friends, ask you to please remember us, intercede for us, and whisper to our Master each of our names to grant us the grace to follow him faithfully, fearlessly, lovingly, as you have done!

While preparing for the funeral rites, I looked into some of her journals and found this beautiful piece among her treasured notes. May this be a precious inheritance from her.
A love letter from Jesus
I love you! I shed my own blood for you to make you clean. You are new! Believe me, it is true!
You are lovely in my eyes and I created you to be just as you are. Do not criticize yourself or be discouraged for not being perfect in your own eyes. This leads only to frustration. I want you to trust ME. One step, one day at a time.
Dwell in my power and love. Be free. Be yourself. Don’t allow other people to ruin you. I will guide you if you let me. Be aware of my presence in everything. I give you love, joy, peace. Look to me. I am your Shepherd and will lead you. Follow me only. Listen and I will tell you my will.
I love you, I love you! Let it flow from you – spill over to all you touch. Be not concerned with yourself. You are my responsibility. I will change you. You are to love yourself and love others simply because I love you. Take your eyes off yourself. Look only at Me! I lead, I change, I make, but not when you are trying. I won’t fight your efforts.
You are mine. Let me have the joy of making you like me. Let me love you! Let me give you joy, peace and kindness. No one else can. Do you see? You are not your own. You have been bought with blood and now you belong to me. It is not your concern how I deal with you. Your only command is to look to me alone. Never to yourself and never to others.
I love you. Do not struggle. Relax in my love. I know what is best and will do it with you, in you and through you. My will is perfect. My love is sufficient. I will supply all your needs. Look to Me.

I love you,
Jesus

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