Mornese: A Place to Pray

February 26, 2008 - Leave a Response


Something peculiar happened this morning.  I was awakened by sounds quite unfamiliar to that of Tungawan.  I hardly realized I was in Mornese for our Pre-ordination retreat.  Though I felt like not getting up, I nevertheless managed to peep through the window.  There I saw waving leaves of palm trees over an immense green panorama.  I rushed to the porch for a closer look and beautiful scenery greeted my early morning meditation.  It’s amazing how nature paints such an irresistibly beholding sight.  There were fogs hovering above the mountaintop and birds frolicked into the trees.  A little later, I could see the horizon clearing and the mountain appears as though it kisses the heavens.  The sun beamed its early morning rays bringing warmth to earth’s moisten face …far across, a great shaft of light majestically over the retreat house beneath it.  Mornese is simply captivating, humming an ambiance of serenity typical to Asian lands.  The earth breathes vitality and the air perfumed with sweet floral scents.  Indeed, a perfect place for a retreat …  a place where one could sing praises to God for the wonders He has made in creation, a spiritual refuge where one finds strength from Him who never tires of giving, of nourishing and of blessing.  At the beginning of our retreat, Mornese placed us into the sacred realm where God speaks to us through creation, in our solitude and in the silence of our prayer.  Being in Mornese means finding oneself to a lonely place to pray.


         Rev. Efren Limpo Lo,  CMF


(Source:  Lifeline December 2007)




On the UST Retreats

February 26, 2008 - Leave a Response


Among the group of retreanants that filled MCS – Pansol during the first month of 2007 were the graduating students from the University of Sto. Tomas –  College of Commerce. They came in three batches on separate dates for the retreat conducted by Sr. Tess Saludares on the theme       “Towards Becoming Fully Human”. The retreat of the last batch on February 2-4 was co-facilitated by Miss Sabsy Palanca, the group’s professor in their major project- Entrepreneurship. In her talks she developed the topic “Spirituality in the workplace” At moment during the retreat the niece of Miss Sabsy Palanca,  Sharon, a young business woman gave a very inspiring talk on how one can transform his/ her very workplace as a venue of genuine service to the Lord. She charged everything to her personal experience as she talked to the group’s delight.  The UST students have been our clients for two years now. Four groups of graduating students all from the College of Commerce had their retreat also with Sr. Tess.According to Miss Alice Santiago, this year’s Retreat Coordinator, the choice for Mornese was inspired by the feedback she gathered from last year’s retreatants. (Source:  Lifeline May 2007) 


Retreat of Supermodels

February 25, 2008 - Leave a Response


A group of young people from Calcarrie’s International Models Philippines Inc. spent a two-day retreat with Sr. Tess Saludares as facilitator on Dec. 20-22 last year at Pansol.

            This group of supermodels and office staff, who are busily engaged in the world of fashion and entertainment, find time to go for spiritual retreat twice a year as part of their formation program.  A retreat twice a year is encouraged by the Company manager,  Mr. Joey Espino, who believes in the value of prayer in a person’s life.  This group is made up of persons who are achievers and success-oriented and Sir Joey constantly inspires them to hold on the conviction that “achievement without God is an empty victory.

            He shared with Sr. Tess in his letter that he wants all in his group to acquire a deep Christian spirituality so that they become God-fearing and persons of integrity in their field of work.  Having this kind of spirituality will keep their equilibrium even at the workplace.

  (Source:  Lifeline May 2006)

Maisog Family Retreat

February 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

It was Sunday, November 27, 2005 when our family went off to a resort in Los Baños, Laguna for  bonding.  On our way, my daughter, a senior student at Don Bosco School Manila, suggested that we take a look at the new retreat house where they held school  spiritual retreats and recollections.  Curiosity pushed us to visit Mornese Center of Spirituality located on top of the mountain overlooking Laguna de Bay.   A Salesian sister was pleased to welcome us and toured us to different areas of the retreat house.  As we conversed, thoughts of family retreat came into our minds, so we asked her if there are groups holding — family retreat where we can join.  No group ever  initiated such kind of retreat where all members of the family are involved.  It is easy to invite husband and wife for a marriage encounter and a son/daughter-parent encounter but never a family. It is really our dream as parents to have an encounter with the Lord in a form of a family retreat with every member involved when our kids were still young. Our visit to Mornese Center of  Spirituality led us to realize our dream since our children could now express their opinions, thinking and reasoning!  My eldest is Jeramae, 17 years old, a senior student of Don Bosco School Manila; Jetromar, 16 years old, a junior student; and Joachim, 10 years old, a grade four pupil both of Don Bosco  Technical College  Mandaluyong.   Our relocation to Sydney, Australia in the near futureis the main reason why we really need this kind of activity knowing that we are going to a country unfamiliar to us due to its different culture, people and religion.  We are a close-knit family and we want to bring up our children to be  good persons by passing on to them good values in life.  We go to church together on Sundays, pray together before meal times, pray daily the rosary, bible study and prayer meetings, and join the choir and other church activities believing in the saying that “The family that prays together, stays together.” The Salesians have contributed a lot to the spiritual development of  our kids. We know that our children need continuous formation to values of faith and this retreat  we thought would help.   Sr. Cathy Urgello was introduced to us by Sr. Lei who according to her, has expertise in family life.  Thank God she accommodated us and we immediately booked for December 16-18, 2005.  Notwithstanding our busy schedule at the office (Christmas has lots of gathering), we turned down many invitations and gave this family retreat a priority.  It was a wise decision for us all. Experience shows that whenever we have spiritual activities to undergo, there is always something that hinders whatever activities for the Lord it may be.   December 16, 2005 was our first day of  family retreat at Mornese House of Spirituality.  It was a very busy day for us all because a lot of things were needed to be accomplished before we enter the retreat.  I participated at the Holy Mass at The Divine Mercy Shrine to offer our activities for this day.  Something unusual happened; when I received the Holy Eucharist by hand and was about to pick it up, it slipped and dropped to the floor. I immediately picked it up and consumed it.  I was confused and asked the Lord what message He wanted to give me.  I prayed hard and offered every action our family had to undergo for that day;  really a day our family experienced a lot of stress, fear and disappointment.   We were trapped in the elevator for 15 minutes at St. Luke’s Hospital Extension Clinic while having our family medical examination.  My daughter had a problem in her medical exam and the result was delayed.  Spending a lot of time waiting for results is uncomfortable for all of us knowing that it is our first day of  retreat and we are expected at 6 pm. Besides, my daughter was feverish which also added to our worries. We needed to look for a drug store and it was already  late.  Stuck-up in traffic at SLEX  added to our apprehension.   Anticipating all of these obstacles,  we resorted to the power of prayer and truly God responded. We were relieved when we arrived at Mornese at almost 8 pm.  Reflecting on these  experiences taught us a lot of lessons in life.  Everyone had something to say about it.  God allowed it to happen for a purpose;  to make our retreat more significant.  After our dinner on our first night at Mornese, we were able to start even though we were all exhausted.  Our uneasiness  was replaced by a lot of expectations and excitement because this family retreat is for us extraordinary and unusual.  We were so happy and  amazed the way our children responded.  They participated well  in every discussion, expressed their opinions, shared their experiences and cooperated in all activities we underwent.  We never had  dull moments.  We were delighted in what we were doing and we had lots of fun that everyone enjoyed.  We also discovered more about our children and knew them better.  The best part of the retreat was during the dialogue between father and son, mother and daughter, husband and wife, and vice versa. Somehow there was a realization of how each of us in the family feel at times when we seem to disagree with one another. The feeling was so strong that now we appreciate better the presence  and importance of each one in the family. Helping and supporting each other are the values that we want to practice always. We told our children our experiences and how we were able to overcome obstacles.  We are so thankful to God for giving us Sr. Cathy Urgello who helped us and exerted a lot of effort to make this retreat a success.  Her approach was cool that even the younger ones could relate.  We learned a lot from her,  a truly good facilitator.  We will never forget the friendly and accommodating Sisters and staff of Mornese who now seem to be part of our family.    Leaving the retreat house on the last day was the saddest part.  Our feet seemed too heavy  because we know that we were heading for the reality of life, one full of challenges and tests.  Heavy … but we feel Jesus so close to us … His love … His presence…. heaven-like feeling… overwhelming…. happy…. worry-free etc.  We want  these feelings to remain.  Jesus Himself underwent a retreat. He came down from deserted place  to do His Father’s will.  We are  reminded that after  our re-charging, we have a mission to accomplish, to carry on… not only for our  family, but to the big family where everyone of us belong. As a family, we already have our mission-vision.  Since we are both accountants, our mission-vision was based on an accountant’s point of view:  “To build assets in heaven and on earth.”  Very brief but so meaningful. We let our children define their interpretations among themselves.  Building assets in heaven pertains to the spiritual side of life — following the will of God and His teachings, good works, etc. Building assets on earth is material — success in career, studies, occupation, etc.  Before the end of the year our family will be going to a place where we can  hold our family meeting  for assessment on what  we have done for the past year and plan for the coming year.  Our point of reflection will be our accomplishments both spiritual and material. It will be good bonding for us all.   By:  Rene & Cora Maisog

(Source:  Lifeline May 2006)

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February 25, 2008 - One Response

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