Hace poco nos llegó una de esas cartas que nos sacan una sonrisa y nos demuestran que con un pequeño esfuerzo de cada uno de nosotros podemos cambiar completamente la vida de una persona.

Se trata de Francis Ferruci Cayao, uno de los muchachos que durante años y gracias a vosotros, se ha beneficiado de una beca para estudiar en St. Anthony’s Boys Village en Silang, Cavite, Filipinas, con el programa de Adopción a Distancia.

Como ya os hemos contado en posts anteriores, English Summer está comprometido con este programa y tiene varios alumnos a su cargo para ayudarles en sus estudios. Junto con algunos de vosotros, a lo largo de estos años, hemos llegado a completar la vida escolar y con estudios superiores a 36 alumnos, THANK YOU!

Aquí os dejamos con el relato real de Francis Ferruci, estas son sus palabras:

“I am Bro. Francis and I am the eldest among my siblings. I have a brother and a sister. My father used to be a farmer and a part-time construction worker until his death in 2009. My mother, on the other hand, works as a volunteer health worker up to the present. I knew my family was not so poor as we were able to eat thrice a day. Nevertheless, we had no electricity at home and we had to fetch water from a nearby spring, a task that I had to do both before going to school and upon coming back. We were a family despite the hardships: when my father had to leave for a long time in order to work; when my mother had to borrow rice or money from neighbors; when I would go to school walking since I had no money to pay for the fare, just to cite some. At a young age, my parents were already teaching us that our life would depend on the actions that we would do and so my father would often tell me: “Son, there is no other inheritance that I can give you but that you may finish your studies, find a good job and eventually have a better life, different from our situation.”

My teacher knew my situation very well and asked me if I want to continue studying. My mother jumped at the opportunity and set about working on the pre-selection process to enable me to be accepted. In case I would make it, it would be a great help not only for my family, but especially for me. It was a difficult process including Entrance Examination, a three-day orientation experience, and the family background checking. Those who were accepted would become residential students (interns). Before the new school year started, we received a notice: I MADE IT!

Exactly on June 2, 2002, I started my first year. It was difficult at first: to be separated from my family and to be able to see them once a month; to deal with other children; to observe the rules and regulations, and to speak in English all the time. But as time went by, things became easier for me. What I enjoyed most was learning how to play musical instruments and sports.

On weekdays, we would wake up at 6:00 in the morning, followed by showers and morning prayers consecutively. After breakfast, we would go to school and we would be back at around 4:00 in the afternoon. Weekday evenings were spent for personal studies and for accomplishing school requirements. On Saturday mornings, we would do manual work such as gardening and cleaning, while the afternoon was for musical lessons. Sundays were free. We would celebrate the Holy Mass in the morning before breakfast. We would play for longer periods and our parents could also pay us a visit. As for me, my parents could not afford to visit me since transportation was expensive.

Life in the village was never boring for me. There were a lot of learning activities including Computer Servicing, Gardening, Plumbing, etc. and all I am now and what I am able to do is thanks to the years I spent in SABV, and to the generous people who never hesitated to share their time and resources. In order to express our gratitude to the Lord and to the people who were helping us, we would celebrate mass on Tuesdays, for the intentions of the benefactors through the intercession of St. Anthony of Padua.

After my graduation in 2006, I entered the Rogationist Seminary and there I studied Bachelor of Arts Major in Philosophy. In 2010, I received my degree and continued with my seminary journey. In 2013, I professed my first religious vows and went for my theological studies. In 2015, I began my Practical Training as Assistant of the seminarians in Manila. A year later, I was transferred to the Saint Anthony´s Boys Village, the community that had been my home during my High School years. As assistant of the interns, I taught music and was available to anyone who wanted to learn musical instruments. I felt very happy and thankful to be given the opportunity to pay back the goodness the Lord had shown upon me.

Indeed, God is a God of surprises. He led me to SABV, which introduced me to the bigger world that there is; and to the road that led to a life that never entered my mind. Since 2002 up to the present, I am living in the Congregation of the Rogationists: 4 years as an intern and eleven years forming my life to be a Rogationist religious priest. He even surprised me more when I was assigned to Tarragona, Spain: a country where most help to the SABV comes from, whose people have been instrumental in giving me a brighter future, together with hundreds like me who have benefitted from Saint Anthony´s Boys Village.

I am now in the Sanctuary of Loreto in Tarragona, together with Fr. RG Cagbabanua to help and assist Fr. Mario in whatever is needed. I will also continue my theological studies and with God’s grace, be ordained in the near future.

Thank you for helping us in the Philippines and if any of you would like to contact me on fcayao@rcj.org, it would be my pleasure to answer you.”