A father in its bishops
by Rev. Fr. Roman C. Sagun, Jr.

Appointed Bishop of Cebu on July 17, 1903, Bishop Thomas A. Hendrick was the first American prelate to administer the diocese. Here were some impressions of the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres:

While the Bishop was preparing all these for us, Sister Josephine suddenly felt someone pulling her apron. She turned around, but could not see anyone, so, she continued to chat with her neighbor. Again she felt some tugs at her apron, this time, more violent ones. Turning around again, she saw a small monkey sitting behind, mischievously making faces at her. He had been there for some time and, seeing that no one was minding him, he had found this clever way of attracting our attention.

Continuing to treat us like spoiled children, the Bishop invited us to visit the apartment, his bedroom, opening cabinets and showing us his treasures and explaining their origin. He also made us visit the chapel and served us refreshments. Then he told us that he had a sister who had joined the Religious of the Sacred Heart. She had died, but in her memory, he had asked for some Sisters of the Sacred Heart for his diocese. However, he also wanted to have some Sisters of St. Paul whom he would install at the other end of his immense diocese, so that they would not be disturbed, saying, “The people in Dumaguete are very good. Surely, you will be well received. But if, perchance, they do not treat you well, come to Cebu where you will find a father in its Bishop. Besides, you are partly in my diocese, half in Iloilo and half in Cebu.” He told us again not to worry at all about the boat, for his secretary and the Vicar General of Iloilo would take charge of everything. We took leave of the Bishop, overwhelmed with gratitude, having received the assurance that he would come to visit us.

An ovation was waiting for us on the street: the children of the college first, then the orphans of the printing-office, surrounded us, trying to make us understand that they liked our habit and that they already loved us. They kissed our hands respectfully and several told us that they would like to follow us to Dumaguete. But we had to hurry. We had time only for dinner before going back to the ship.

We were eight going back, for we brought with us our first postulant, a small Maria, a very nice girl who would be of great help to us, for she spoke the language. The Bishop’s secretary came in a car to fetch us, extending his kindness as far as accompanying us to the ship.

The short drill of the stairs, the launches, and the planks was repeated as night came on. It was 7:30 p. m. At last, everyone was on board. Ten more sailing hours and we would be in Dumaguete. It really was time that we arrived, for we were half dead; we were going to board a ship for the third time. We jumped into bed after a brief prayer. We would be arriving at 7:00 the next morning.

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