Goodbye, Sr. Florence!
by : Sr. Lourdes S. Panganiban, sfic
“Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you
have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation”
On September 14, 2015, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross,
Sr. Florence Guiwo passed away at 12:45 in the afternoon while
putting her health and life in the hands of God, our heavenly
Father, ready to answer joyfully when her name was called. She
died of cardiopulmonary arrest.
Sr. Florence Guiwo , who was baptized Rosario, was born to
Bonifacio Guiwo and Soledad Pataueg on November 16,
1934 in Angandanan, Isabela. She entered the Congregation
on November 8, 1957. She was initiated into the Novitiate on
May 9, 1958. She made her first profession of vows on May
10, 1960 and her final vows on May 10, 1965. She was our
loving co-Sister for 58 years.
Sr. Florence is best remembered for her simple and humble
service to the communities where she was assigned: Baguio,
Ilagan, Aurora, Isabela, San Antonio, San Narciso, Subic,
Matain, Zambales, Manaog and Cardona. She rendered her
loving and dedicated services as Community Leader of Ilagan,
Aurora, Isabela. She shared with so much enthusiasm and
commitment her talents and skills as a Home Economics
Teacher, Librarian and Dormitory Supervisor.
Her ministry was imbued with the spirituality of sharing the
joy of the Gospel and communion with others, especially
those entrusted to her care. Her baptismal name, Rosario,
which means Rosary, a devotional prayer honoring Mary, our
Blessed Mother, looks into the eyes of the crucified Lord with
love. Very much part of praying the Holy Rosary is making
the sign of the cross, not only to commemorate an old battle
that was won, or to recall a past that no longer exists, but in
order to reflect more deeply on the word “victory” for
Christian faith. To honor the cross, in the life of Sr.Florence,
is to raise it up, to sing of Christ’s victory …in spite of
everything, the cross is still elevated, exalted and triumphant.
Christ Himself offered us the answer: “If any man will come
after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and
follow me “(Lk. 9:23). In her baptismal name, “Rosario”
Sr. Florence embodied her constant praise of God, in spite of
her pain and suffering before she breathed her last. Nourished
by God’s love, her simplicity and “holy innocence” as
described by one of her group mates, made her a splendid
sign of the triumph of the Cross of Christ in her life “for
the love of God”. The point of taking up her own cross is
not simply self-sacrifice; in doing so, she united herself to the
sacrifice of Christ on His Cross. “In all, the love of the
Crucified Lord triumphs as He gazes into our hearts and we
dare to look into his”(Year of the Poor 2015, CBCP
Thank you very much, Sr. Florence for sharing the beauty
of your person with us. Like “Florence Nightingale” whose
endless supply of compassion for the people she ministered
to, moved them to call her “The Lady with a lamp.” Keep
your lamp burning with delight as we send you off with our
love and prayers. Be our intercessor during this “Year of
Consecrated Life and Year of the Poor,” challenging us “to
be more human and just, a sign and anticipation of the world
to come, in which the Lord, humble and glorified, poor and
exalted, will be the full and lasting joy for us and for our
brothers and sisters, together with the Father and the Holy
Spirit “ (Vita Consecrata, p. 198). Help us to take the
challenge of becoming more radiant people of mercy and
compassion … “ recognizing the face of Christ, who became,
like us in all things, and to rejoice in the knowledge that we
are being conformed to Him who, out of love for us, did not
refuse the suffering of the cross” (Apostolic Letter of Pope
Francis to all Consecrated People on the Year of Consecrated
Life, II, p. 4).
Goodbye for now, till we meet a gain, Sr. Florence, in the
bosom of the Triune God. May Mother Teresia van Miert,
St. Francis and St. Clare usher you into the banquet of God’s
We celebrate with you the fullness of life as we proclaim
with St. Francis: “Praised be You, my Lord, through our
Sister Bodily Death, from whom no one can escape ... Most
high, all –powerful good Lord, Yours is the praise, the
glory, honor, and blessing!” (Canticle of Creatures).
On behalf of Sr. Julie Saguibo, the Provincial Superior,
Sr. Lourdes Panganiban gave the introduction in the
La Verna 1 Chapel
Gen. Ordonez, Marikina Heights
This Paschal Candle burning brightly
is a symbol of our Lord’s Resurrection.
Sr. Florence is now in God’s glory.
Mrs. Eva Aquino, Sr. Florence's sister with her daughter
Siony, her nieces, Ren-ren and Cha-cha and nephew Jumban
were in deep grief.
Ronnie Guiwo, one of her nephews was also in profound sorrow.
Sr. Lucy who lived with Sr. Florence in four communities sang
"The Wind Beneath My Wings" as she recalled the love
and support accorded to her when they were together.
Gratitude will be treasured in the heart forever.
Sr. Tess Babaran also recalled how Sr. Florence has been
a family to her. She mentioned that she was close to her
late father, Manolo. They will see each other in heaven.
Ren-ren, one of her nieces represented the family in giving
tribute to her Aunt. She recounted the goodness, love and
concern for each one. Such a very touching message!
Mrs. Leonima Ballesteros represented the community of Ilagan
for the tribute. She gave an account of the pleasant
experiences they have had with Sr. Florence when she was
young and active in the ministry. Grateful for all that
Sr. Florence has been with the people of Ilagan, Nima was
not able to control her tears as she bade her last farewell.
Vangie, a close friend of the family remembered all the good
deeds experienced by her from Sr. Florence.
Sr. Naty Parin was the Psalmist. Together with her group
mates, Sr. Immaculee Pagalilauan and Sr. Thersina Estalilia,
they were there for the last moments of Sr. Florence. The
tribute that night ended with their solemn song for the
Blessed Virgin Mary.
Mrs. Eva Aquino expressed her gratitude to the Congregation
on behalf of the Guiwo family. It is a blessing that she came
home ( she was on vacation in the States ) before
Sr. Florence passed away. That Saturday visit before Sister
left was their last bonding time with each other.
Ren - ren did the First Reading in the Resurrection Mass.
Cha - cha and Jumban, niece and nephew of Sr. Florence were
the Offerers in the Mass.
Sr. Josefina Miguel, the Superior of La Verna 1 Community
affirmed Sr. Leonie Tamba who took good care of Sr. Florence.
She also thanked the family and all those who in one way or
another expressed their condolences and support in such
moments of pain due to the loss of a love one.
This is the saddest moment of departure from the last
temporary house of Sr. Florence. Sisters and her relatives
gave the last blessing.
This coaster was one of the vehicles used by the Sisters to
bring Sr. Florence to her resting place at Loyola, Marikina.
Sr. Stephanie Quiban, Sr. Josephti Gadiano, Sr. Mary Francis
Borje, Mrs. Leonima Ballesteros, Ms. Elvira Lucas, Ms. Jocie
Claravall (from Ilagan) and other sisters joined the graveside
The Final Goodbye!
Sr. Florence, we will miss you!
Please be our intercessor now in
heaven.May the good Lord bless
you and keep you forever in his