ALUMNI… WHO ARE WE?

When I was elected President of the Sacred Heart College-Lucena Alumni Association Inc on August, 2017 my first question was: “ Lord, what do you want me to do? “ I stopped for a while and recalled the many happy memories, relationships, struggles, challenges, dreams, joys, the legacy and heritage that I received from my Alma Mater.

As an Alumna, I realized I have the BIG responsibility to continue and share the legacy of our Alma Mater. In the words of Sr. Teresa Mueda, (then Provincial Visitatrix of the Daughters of Charity now __________) in her message to Alumni on April 29, 2009, a “LEGACY is not a well-defined and static object like money or a land title or name or uniform that one Cordian hands over to another… a HERITAGE is a composite of events and experiences, of learnings, lessons and realizations, of discoveries and relationships, of meanings and values that shape our lives, mark us and forever define who we are. It is neither time- bound nor limited to a specific space and person. HERITAGE and LEGACY becomes a reality only when it is LIVED and made VISIBLE by WITNESS and by EXAMPLE. “

As a result of our experiences, in and out of Sacred Heart College, what have we made of ourselves? Are we better persons, better parishioners, better employees, better members of our families, communities, country or better citizens of the world? Are people happy because we are around? Do they see in us, the legacy of our Alma Mater, founded by Hermana Fausta Labrador and owned and managed by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac? Allow me to share with you the five (5) seeds, named by Sister Mueda, DC ( Message to the Alumni, 2009) which are our distinctive qualities that sprung from Hermana Fausta:


1. RESOLUTENESS
Dreams and visions need a brave, persistent heart. Sacred Heart College was born because one woman dreamt… wanted MORE and gave all she had to make her dream HAPPEN. This tenacity and determination transform words and dreams into real things that can be seen, touched and experienced. Resoluteness, or unyielding determination is a quality that does not depend on acceptability or the changing winds of public approval. It is built on the bedrock of faith.


2. ENDURANCE
The gentleness of Hermana Fausta hid a core of steel deep inside her, facing endless and painful change with fortitude: she taught you to bend with the storms but not break… in your personal lives, you have experienced what it is to be down, to be so broken there seems to be no pieces to pick up… you have been taught how to pray. Sacred Heart College is not only a school of life, it is also a school of faith, and early on you have been introduced to a God who NEVER FAILS you; you were led into a love for Mary that enabled you to become the women and men you are now… among ourselves, you have created circles of friendships, solidarity and support that you can always fall back on… somehow or other, inexplicably, you are sure that there is always someone there for you.


3. HEART-PRESENCE: ATTENTIVENESS ---
to what has MEANING, to what has true value beyond the glitter of wrappings and the seductions of false and easy values. Through your many seasons of successes and failures, of serenity and turmoil, of acceptance and rejection, of losses and gains, SACRED HEART COLLEGE and CORDIANS have somehow managed to CHOOSE to be REAL and AUTHENTIC: qualities that are not always acceptable and practical in a world grown used to pretenses, dishonesty.


4. INTEGRITY
Everything that went into the hours, days, weeks, months and years that you spent in Sacred Heart College were meant to prepare you to live life with integrity and authenticity: what have you received were not only textbook lessons… you were taught excellence in big and small things; you grew in wisdom and trust through every challenge, circumstances and event. You were given opportunities to learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty and to live with hearts full of unanswered questions: you were mentored into facing adversity, to be re-shaped by your mistakes and encouraged always to be more in spite of your failures and learned how to turn seasons of misfortune into moments of grace. We were mentored into a spirituality that shines brightest when in darkness and carries on in hope when carrying on seems futile and foolish. And through it all, you were encouraged to maintain humor, to sing your pains, to dance your wounds into healing.


5. SERVICE that DOES NOT COUNT the COST
This is the distinguishing mark of every Vincentian education. Outreach activities for the poor were as essential as classroom attendance. Beneath the academic excellence you pursued was the ever-present consciousness of persons who are poor- of solidarity with them, of action for them, of visiting, helping and serving them. Sacred Heart College was and is a sacred ground – a place of encounter between Cordians and the poor. This is the other face of Sacred Heart College’s education that gave birth to many vocations to priesthood and consecrated life. This way of being servant to persons who are poor have brought many Cordians to unexpected encounters with the face of God unveiled in their anguish and misery – encounters have led to choices that forever change their lives.

I dare say that these “5 SEEDS are the family traits of Cordians… your legacy. They neither make you better nor more special than others… but they make you DIFFERENT… and they impel you to make a DIFFERENCE!!! .” As we celebrate the 135th Founding Anniversary of SHC and the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the Sacred Heart College Alumni Association, both in 2019, fellow Alumni, fellow Cordians, we have a MISSION… a LEGACY to share!


Josefina M. Parentela, Ed. D.
President, SHC-LAAI, 2017-2019