Sharing in Her Story and Mission: A Tribute to Sr. Ma. Lourdes S. Versoza, Daughter of Charity (1933-2019)

27 01 2019

*This was read during the memorial service organized by the CSCJ Alumni Association in honsr.lourdesor of Sr. Ma. Lourdes S. Verzosa, Daughter of Charity, who served Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus for 27 years, as teacher, school president and administrator, and adviser of the alumni association.

I think I am one of those present here, who was not around when Sr. Lourdes was assigned here in Sagrado. During her first appointment, from 1963 to 1977, I was not born yet.  I entered Sagrado as a Kinder 1 pupil in 1982. In her second time, staying from 1999 to 2009, I already graduated from high school. Nevertheless, in those years being away from Sagrado, I have heard some stories about her from fellow alumni and former teachers— her propensity for unadulterated excellence, her exemplary leadership styles, and her immense love for the arts and theater. The third time she came, in 2015, it was the time when Sagrado was preparing for its Centennial. It was one of those alumni board meetings where she found me and asked me to meet her in her office. She told me that I was recommended by former teachers, when she asked around who she can tap for Centennial projects. And there, she blurted her dream of coming up with the Centennial book (which we later titled “One Heart in a Hundred Years”) featuring the stories of alumni and the DC sisters, with me taking the lead. With all the big words she used while explaining the project, it was overwhelming. I was thinking of the difficulties of finding and convincing alumni across generations since 1914, to write and submit their Sagrado stories; the strains of editing; the time-consuming and strenuous press work, plus the zero-to-meager resources that we have. But how can I say no? How can one say no to Sr. Lourdes? It is not because of her authority or seniority why I gave my “yes” to the project. It was because, more than her charisma, rare can I find a person who have such unwavering passion and steadfast determination, the constant will and the drive to make things happen for her beloved Sagrado, and for the less-privileged who will be the recipients of the proceeds of the Centennial book. And I, at that time, would like to partake from that passion, and be of service to our beloved Sagrado. More meetings happened, exchange of emails and text messages, telephone calls, trips to the printing press. She knew all too well the travails of coming up with a book, moreso an anthology of stories coming from 100 alumni and Sisters. She, together with Ma’am Celia, had been there to guide me for the fulfillment of this project. Even those times when she was hospitalized, and the deadline was fast approaching, she continued communicating with me, making follow ups, answering my queries, catching up after the early morning mass at Sta. Maria, motivating, inspiring, and praying. She was with me all the way, until the book launching, until the selling of the books, even beyond—- always near, and I, never abandoned.

Dear fellow alumni and friends, God has given us a gift— a gift of person, a gift that is Sr. Lourdes. We, whose lives were touched by her, our hearts, the heart of a Sagradista, is partly formed by her— a heart that serves with compassion, a heart for excellence, a heart that recognizes God-given talents, a heart full of gratitude, a joyful and prayerful heart.

Let us live her legacy. As she aptly puts it in her story describing her love affair with Sagrado, the 100th story in the Centennial book, and I quote, “But we have a legacy, a mission to promote and live by: LOVE AND SERVICE TOWARDS EVERYBODY, BUT ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO HAVE LESS IN LIFE.”

Thank you, Sr. Lourdes. We share in your story. We share in your mission. Rest with your models, St. Vincent and St. Louise. Rest with your Savior in His Most Sacred Heart. Rest, for yours was a life well-lived.


One Heart in a Hundred Years

14 01 2018

Thirty-five years ago, I left home half-hearted.

I can still vividly remember, when I was five years old my father brought me to the hallways of Sagrado for the first day of class. As we entered the kindergarten classroom, I tightly held his left hand, not wanting him to leave. And he didn’t. With permission from Ms. Sadsad, our kindergarten teacher, he stayed with me in the classroom for a week. Then a week later, with the progress I made, he was asked to stay outside within viewing distance from our room. A few more weeks later, as I began to enjoy the company of other 5-year-olds and the motherly care of the teachers and the DC sisters, I asked my father to just drop me in school and leave.

The twelve years of my student life (and so were the student life of my three elder sisters), with “her spires pointing heavenward” as glistening witnesses, were spent in Sagrado. Those wonderful and challenged-filled pre-school, grade and high school days were opportunities for growth and learning. I was also given a chance to hone my leadership skills and most of all, to be of service to the deprived and the less-privileged. Like every Sagradista, I relished the shade of the kalachuchi tree, received my first holy communion at this chapel and read the First Reading on the 8th of December  1985 . I played ins and piko at the quadrangle, and mingled with the children in the neighboring barangays and hospital wards.  I was formed in mind, body, and spirit in a place I can call home.

Indeed, Sagrado is home. It has been a home since the time my father brought me here 35 years ago. It is home for all Sagradistas, the DC sisters, the teachers, and personnel. Most especially, in the last one hundred years, it has been home for the poor in our midst and in the peripheries. It is with fervent hope that Sagrado will continue to be a home for other five-year-olds and the next generations of Vincentian learners who shall leave her portals not half-hearted but with hearts fully marked by Sagrado’s distinctive charism.

And now, on the occasion of her 100th foundation anniversary, I, together with fellow Sagradistas from around the world and across generations, return with grateful and joyful hearts. We write our stories for we are forever grateful for the legacy of quality education and unwavering commitment to excellence. We share our memories because we are forever joyful for being instilled with the burning passion to be a person for others as “the charity of the Christ crucified urges us”.

This is a homecoming. This is a reunion of hearts beating as one. For this ONE HEART, forged in the anvil of Sagrado’s ideals, pays tribute to a century-great Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus.


The above article is Story #1 of the Sagrado’s Centennial book, Amoris Victima: One Heart in a Hundred Years (JL Belanio, anthologist and managing editor; C. Fuentes-Parcon, language editor; Sr. ML Verzosa, DC, consultant). Copies of the book are available on sale at the CSCJ Bookstore or can be ordered by email:

Out of Sense

24 01 2017


I am out of my senses.

The sky looks grand in royal blue, with scattered sunbeams adding to its glory, and yet I see dark heavy clouds lurking the vacuous space.

Flowers blossom bountifully in the garden, with its scent filling the formless air, and yet I smell decaying rubbish in a moist stretch of land.

The random vibrations of the strings of the harp reverberate in every corner of the room, filling it with serenity, and yet I hear redundant voices and clashing cymbals, leaving disillusionment and chaos.

No grain of sugar is left unpoured, no procedure is left undone, and yet I taste nothing but bitterness, everything but sweetness.

The warmth is evident, the gesture is genuine, and yet I feel the persisting chill and the sudden scratches.

Every moment is an opportunity for me to see the sky, to smell the flowers, to hear the music, to taste the icing and to feel the warmth. I must have been preoccupied with the world and everything on it that I failed to see, I ignored the smell, I refused to hear, I declined to taste, and I forgot to keep in touch.

All is bright and beautiful. To be out of my senses and not see, smell, hear, taste and touch everything that is bright and anything that is beautiful does not make a sense out of my life.

I should regain my senses. Unless I choose to live without sense.

——————–Photo credit:

The Travails of Remembering, the Googles of Communicating

18 01 2017


I cannot remember on which part of my almost two scores of existence I started to communicate and how I was able to convey it. I really cannot. It might be because the search keyword I associated with communication was too weak or too vague that it did not found a good hit when I googled it in my memory.

Nowadays, communication evolved to become more of a technological term. It is equated with sharing of information across different forms of media. To communicate is to send or forward a message via SMS, email, Messenger or Viber, like or react in your friend’s FB post, or click a selfie for Snapchat. This, I think, makes our understanding of communication shallow. It is like judging a book by its cover, or appreciating the packaging of the gift than the thought of giving.

Communication is not merely talking at the other end of a telephone line. It is not merely sending to all in the e-mail address book a chain e-letter. It is not merely messenging the other when a need arises. It is not merely based on verbosity, frequency, or sophistication.

Communication is knowing that at the other end is a person you can make or unmake through your words. Communication is letting the other sense the warmth of a sincere hello, a heartfelt empathy or a releasing goodbye. Communication is spending quality time amidst the tension of this fast-paced world. Communication is permitting the sentiments of the inside to affect positive change in the diversity of the outside. Communication is talking less, judging less, hurting less. For it is in communicating that we feel more, understand more, love more.

So the next time I intend to communicate, I’ll communicate for real. Then maybe, when I google my memory, I will feel lucky1.


1Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button takes you straight to the most relevant website that Google found for your query. For example, if you’re looking for the Stanford University homepage, just enter Stanford and click “I’m Feeling Lucky” instead of the Google Search button. Google will take you directly to “” ( )

Photo credit:

#Throwback #Sagrado High School Batch 1994: Returning with a Grateful and Joyful Heart

10 09 2014
Sagrado HS Batch 1994 Graduation Group Pic

Graduation Picture, HS Batch 1994

It has been 20 years since we left the portals of our beloved Alma Mater, and yet, we are still mighty proud to be recipient of Sagrado’s wholistic formation.

As a Sagradista, the less-privileged are our masters…

A Sagradista’s life is not complete without partnership and collaboration with others for the common good and transformation of communities. Our after-class afternoons on Wednesdays or Thursdays, or Saturdays were spent for community outreach activities— visiting the sick in public hospitals bringing them the joy of our smiles and our home-cooked arroz caldo; organize rummage sales; and making home visits to the Asilo and slum areas surrounding Sagrado, as we sing with the children and the aged, impart to them our little gifts and personal talents, and integrate ourselves with them through heartfelt conversations. Yes, we learn from our classrooms, but we learn more about life and being a Christian in our interactions with our less-privileged brothers and sisters.


Grade X – Fortitude, with adviser, Ms. May Ann Ticao

A Sagradista is formed in mind, body and spirit…

Studying is a virtue and a serious matter. The classroom became our second home and our classmates, our siblings. Our teachers never fail to become our second parents and mentors— nurturing and on the lookout for what is best for us.

We also recall our various leadership trainings and students activities that complement our classroom learning. The Talents In, LitMus, Linggo ng we all enjoyed that. The Sportsfest and our participation in PRISAA were activities we always look forward to. Add to that our annual PE culminating activity where we flex our muscles and do the dance moves with grace and in unison.


Grade X-Temperance, with adviser, Ms. Jessica Garcia-Latade

We devote ourselves to the Eucharist. As one Sagrado family, first Friday masses in honor of the Sacred Heart and feast days were held in Our Lady’s Hall or in Our Lady’s Quadrangle. We prayed the rosary before we start our class day, and the Living Rosary during October. We spent quality time with God and ourselves through retreats and recollections which were conducted annually. Indeed, we were formed in spirit to transform ourselves to be leaven in the society where we live.

And we return…

Twenty years ago, on 26 March 1994, on the occasion of the 50th Graduation Exercises, we reaped the fruit of our toils as we receive our awards and diplomas. On that day, we celebrated a milestone of our lives as high school graduates. We gave honor to our parents and we glorified God for His boundless blessings.


Grade X-Understanding, with adviser, Ms. Ma. Luz Isiderio

And now, twenty years later, we return to the institution that molded us. We return to the institution that imbibed us Christian and Vincentian values. We return to SAGRADO. And we return with a grateful and joyful heart.

 #LongLiveSagrado! HS Batch 1994 had spoken and shall continue to speak of your ideals!

First Semester 2011 in Conclusion

15 10 2011

The First Semester of AY 2011-2012 officially ended today, October 15. T’was a great semester, I really enjoyed it. All the best to my IT 101 (2nd year BS Management and MGT 286 (Master of Management II) students as I solve their grades.

For the meantime, a peek of our classroom photoshoot…

IT 101 Section 1 Students

IT 101 Section 2 Students

IT 101 Section 4 Students

MGT 286 Students (MM II)

Of Easel, Brushes, Canvas, Emulsion and Linseed Oil

26 07 2011

Our Sundays used to be so ordinary. And when I say ordinary, I mean doing the usual stuff expected to do on a Sunday—wake up late, having brunch, go to Church, bond with family and friends, stroll in the mall, long siesta, and preparing yourself for another work week.

Then during one of our long weekend getaway in the scenic Guisi Lighthouse and Heritage Cottage in the spectacular island of Guimaras, Jing Torrecampo, our Master, in one of our conversations, passionately shared with us how she discovered her creative side by joining a painting class helmed by the Supreme Master Jhone and her involvement with the Alla Prima Art Circle in Bacolod City.

We were amazed of how Jing appreciated the Guimaras Bay unset peeking through the antiquated windows of the age-old Guisi Lighthouse, and declared that it is an excellent subject for a seascape. We were also stunned when Jing, while we were swimming and boating would talk about the rhythm of the waves, the spectrum of the sunlight, the texture of the sand, and the varying intensities of the colors of coral reefs, sea grasses and clown fishes. Surely, we all thought, that this woman named Jing, who breaths and dreams of easel, brushes, canvas, emulsion and linseed oil seems to express herself fully in the most creative and liberating way.

And so we told her, “Master Jing, bring us to the light!”.

And she boldly answered us, “Sure, how about seeing all of you next Sunday!”

Then our Sundays are never the same again.

The first Cre8 Iloilo painting workshop, with the module based on the Story of the Seven Days of Creation, had its humble beginnings in the mushrooms of UP Visayas on the second Sunday of July 2010. The original students were Carol, Beth, Duvince and Ro. When Carol and the rest posted in FB their workshop pictures at work and posing with their first creations, it created quite a buzz that it attracted other wannabe-artists. The FB postings was so viral that in the next Sundays, the number of students increased, old, a bit old, young and very young alike— the Firmeza siblings Celine and Justin, Gracious, BG, Jay, myself, Jill and the Luison siblings, Jell, Raf and Pao, in that order. Because of the increase in the number of students, the workshop was moved to a bigger venue. From UPV, the next Sunday sessions was then held at the waiting sheds at West. We need to use our charm and befriend the security guards to allow us to enter the school campus on the weekend.

We have seen our creative talents in painting soar. From 9 x 12 canvasses, we migrated to bigger canvases. We went beyond acrylic paint and tried oil. We painted abstract, seascapes, trees, still life, fishes, birds, land animals, portraits—-just about anything that goes with the movement of the brushes in our hands and the dictations of the beating of our hearts. Indeed, God has created this world a lovely place and that’s more than enough reason for us to appreciate it, cherish it, and paint a picture of it.

It has been almost a year since that first Sunday of Cre8 Iloilo, and here we are, presenting our first creations.

We can now confidently say, like our master Jing, we now breath the same air and dream in the same wavelength— we breath and dream of easel, brushes, canvas, emulsion and linseed oil.

May the works of our little hands and the reflections of our inmost beings depicted in our works will make this moment extraordinary for you, as it had made ours extraordinary many, many Sundays ago.