Cory’s rosary, and why she died on Saturday

Ralph’s Note: I’d like to share with everyone my commentary on the late President Corazon Aquino, which was published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer today, August 3, 2009 (Page A9).  I’d like to personally thank the Inquirer and Inquirer.net for publishing the commentary.  I also thank everyone who has read it.  I am pleased to know that the article has been marked as “most read”.  With this, I am glad that everyone is able to read about the piety of the former president.

Of course, PDI needed to edit the article because of space.  You may wish to click on “more” at the end of the published article to read the unedited version.

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Cory’s rosary, and why she died on Saturday

By Ralph Pascual Guzman
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:03:00 08/03/2009

MANILA, Philippines—It is God who has the final say when and where a person will be taken from this earth to be with Him.

As we mourn Cory Aquino’s death, we praise God for giving us a true icon of democracy. The nation also praises Him for giving us a modern-day icon of piety for politicians and ordinary citizens to follow.

Cory lived an extraordinary life for this country, and it only seems fitting that God chose a special time to welcome her to Heaven.

What is special about Aug. 1, 2009?

It is the first Saturday of the month, a day dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Cory had a special relationship with Mother Mary.

She fervently prayed to Our Lady of Fatima, who became the patroness of Edsa 1. She also entrusted the country to Her throughout her term, acknowledging that she and the country were able to survive seven coup attempts because of Our Lady’s intercession

What helped Cory pray? A special hand-made rosary given to her by Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the children who witnessed the miracle at Fatima.

Speculation about Mary

There was even speculation that the Blessed Virgin had blessed the rosary Herself, as Sister Lucia revealed to the Vatican before she died, during a visit paid her by the Mother of God in her later years.

“Sister Lucia sent me this rosary which she herself made, with the message that I would be supported and protected in my presidency,” Cory told Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ, her spiritual adviser. “Sister Lucia added that more sufferings would come my way,” she said.

“I know now that it was a prophetic message, as I had to fight back seven coup attempts to save my administration from power grabbers in uniform,” Cory told Father Arevalo. “With Our Lady’s protection, I stood my ground and never left Malacañang, even when it was being attacked.”

Cory herself has spread devotion to the rosary to many Filipinos, especially during times when all hope seemed lost. She has shown her piety by example and by praying during very critical times, like during the declaration of a state of national emergency in 2006.

She also spread the devotion by lending her rosary to those who needed it. Cory lent the rosary to Fernando Poe Jr. when he suffered a stroke in 2004. The same rosary was said to be instrumental in the recovery of young actor Vandolph Quizon, who met a serious vehicular accident in 2002.

3 lessons for conversion

The nation has seen Cory’s heroism in her inner life, which she also attributes to the lessons she learned by reflecting on Fatima. She shares with the world three lessons that led to her conversion and that of Ninoy: 1) The power of prayer, particularly the rosary; 2) The acceptance of God’s plan in our lives and entrusting our lives to Mary; and 3) The offering of sacrifices to God.

The former president lived a life of spirituality, humility and acceptance. She fought the good fight and kept the faith in her battle against colon cancer. In several interviews, journalists often asked Cory if she had met her quota of suffering. To these questions, she said she would look up to Jesus Christ, who suffered Himself and died to fulfill His mission.

“Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things—with resignation, yes, but above all with blazing, serene hope,” she said.

Proven piety

Cory’s piety is further proven by prayers that she herself had written and published. These include several prayers of thanksgiving, and her “Prayer for A Happy Death.”

It is for these reasons that I believe in the special timing of Cory’s death. Pope John Paul II, who also had a special devotion to Fatima and is regarded as the subject of the third secret of Fatima, died on the first Saturday of April in 2005.

(The author, a former television news reporter, used to cover then President Aquino. He is now a management consultant).

Click Here to Read the Article on inquirer.net

Click below to read the unedited article.

Cory Aquino and God’s Beautiful Timing
Commentary by Ralph Pascual Guzman

It is God who has the final say when and where a person will be taken from this earth to be with Him. As we now mourn Cory Aquino’s death, we praise God for giving us a true icon of democracy. The nation also praises Him for giving us a modern-day icon of piety for politicians and ordinary citizens to follow. Cory lived an extraordinary life for this country, and it only seems fitting as well that God chose a special time to welcome her to Heaven.

What is special about August 1, 2009? It is the first Saturday of the month, a day usually dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And Cory Aquino had a special relationship with Mother Mary. The former president’s spiritual adviser, Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S.J. has testified and has even documented Cory’s piety and devotion to her.

Cory fervently prayed to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, who became the patroness of EDSA 1. She also entrusted the country to her intercession throughout her term. And with her faith, the former president acknowledged that she and the country were able survived seven coup attempts.

What helped Cory pray? A special hand-made rosary given to her by Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the children who witnessed the miracle at Fatima. The former president shared her sentiments on this legendary rosary, which Fr. Arevalo had shared in his writings.

It is even speculated that the Blessed Virgin blessed it herself, as Sister Lucia would admit to the Vatican before she died that the Blessed Virgin visited her during her later years.

“Sister Lucia sent me this rosary which she herself made, with the message that I would be supported and protected in my presidency. She added, however, that more suffering would come my way. I now know that it was a prophetic message, as I had to fight back seven coup attempts to save my administration from power-grabbers in uniform. With Our Lady’s protection, I stood my ground and never left Malacañang, even when it was being attacked, “ the former president told Fr. Arevalo.

Notice that the former president herself has spread the devotion to the holy rosary to many Filipinos. This is something we should not overlook, especially during times when all hope seems to have been lost. She has shown her piety by example, voicing out her prayer during very critical times. An image I am reminded of was the former President praying the rosary at the height of the state of national emergency in 2006.

She has also spread the devotion to the rosary by lending her own legendary rosary to those who needed it. Cory lent the rosary to Fernando Poe Jr. and his family when he suffered a stroke in 2004. This same rosary is said to be instrumental in the recovery of artist Vandolph, who met a serious vehicular accident in 2002.

The nation has seen the heroism in President Aquino’s interior life, which she also attributes to the lessons she learned by reflecting on Fatima. She shares with the world three lessons that led to her conversion and that of Ninoy’s: 1) the power of prayer, particularly the rosary; 2) the acceptance of God’s plan in our lives and entrusting our lives to Mary; and 3) the offering of sacrifice to God.

The former president lived a life of spiritual docility, of humility, and acceptance. She fought the good fight and kept the faith in her 16-month battle against colon cancer. In several interviews, journalists would often ask Cory if she has already met her quota of suffering. To these questions, the former President would quote and look up to Jesus Christ, who suffered himself and died to fulfill His mission.

Cory has said, “Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things – with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.”

Cory’s authentic piety is further proven by prayers that she herself had written and published them. These include several prayers of thanksgiving, as well as “Prayer for A Happy Death”, which was prayed upon her death.

Let us also not forget that it was her leadership that made possible the construction the EDSA Shrine.

And of course, we cannot forget the very miracle that was the EDSA Revolution, which became possible with her help as well.

On top of all of these, the nation celebrates Cory’s humility and simplicity. She certainly did use the presidency to enrich herself. She lived a life of simplicity after her term.

It is for these reasons that I believe in the special timing of Cory’s death. Pope John Paul II, who also had a special devotion to Fatima and is regarded as the subject of the third secret of Fatima, died on the first Saturday of April 2005.

A similar parallelism is the demise of Sen. Robert Barbers, who died in 2005. It was his relatives who raised the special timing when I interviewed them back then. It is no secret that Barbers was an ardent devotee of the Sto. Niño. He joined our Creator on December 25, the birthday of the Child Jesus.

Could all of these be mere coincidence? Perhaps. But God also shows his very own humility in these “hidden” miracles.

In remembering former President Aquino, let us not only remember the icon of people power. Let us also remember the image of a pious Christian praying the rosary, kneeling in humble prayer. Let us remember the heroic example of prayer worth emulating.

I now wonder if these would be enough merits to make Cory a saint later on. She will not be the first head of state or public servant to be canonized saint. A prominent example is France’s King Louis IX, who is a canonized saint. There is also St. Thomas More. Who knows? And if she is able to meet the stringent requirements of the Church, why not?

5 thoughts on “Cory’s rosary, and why she died on Saturday

  1. Beautifully written, Ralph. Reflective of your fondness for an icon irreplaceable in Philippine politics and society, and the love of the Virgin Mary. I am proud to be able to call you a batchmate in UP.

  2. Got a glimpse of your commentary of our late Pres. Cory Aquino. After the day Cory died , I said I will wait for a miracle from her. One or two if one doubts she is blessed. Embracing the rosary is embracing God , being faithful and being dependent until the last moment, has given her and us a sign of miracle from heaven. Knowing she has only strength coming from God has embraced us as a nation to the very last moment is already a miracle. thanks, ralph

  3. Pingback: My Favorite Posts (Part 1) — Commentaries and Ask Ralph | RatedRalph.com

  4. Pingback: Babang Luksa: Cory’s 1st Death Anniversary | RALPH GUZMAN

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