What does it take for you to believe and have faith? Is it an answered prayer? A divine miracle?
Sinulog is a celebration of gratefulness and faith towards the Sto. Niño de Cebu. And, of course, we would like to hear a story or two of the miracles done by the child, Niño. For this Sugboanon Sinulog Special, let us share with you the story of how an aspiring teacher passed the LET by praying to Señor Sto. Niño— even if her religion was different.
Ms. Mary Jane Flores Pernites, or Teacher MJ, was already featured in Sugbo PH’s The Sugboanon for her inspiring story, which you can read here. But she was also able to share with us how Sr. Sto. Niño helped her pass the LET.
According to Teacher MJ, she grew up in a household with a different religious teaching than that of Catholics. This is why her faith was different growing up, and she didn’t pay too much attention to praying to relics. However, that soon changed.
The Storm Before the Miracle
Before the official day of the exam, Teacher MJ was still doing her LET review. However, different challenges surfaced, such as her sister being rushed to the hospital after getting into a vehicular accident. As the breadwinner of the family, she tried to find ways to settle her sister’s hospital bill while doing the review.
With no rest, sleep, and experiencing coughs and colds during the board exam, she was out of focus. She even accidentally tore off the 1-10 part of her answer sheet, which earned her a mouthful from the floor manager because she “wasn’t careful.”
Kidhat ni Sto. Niño
After LET, Teacher MJ was invited by one of her friends to visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño to light candles and pray that they pass the exam. Of course, because she didn’t grow up as a Catholic, Teacher MJ’s belief in it was not as high as her friends.
When they got to the Basilica, Teacher MJ was looking at the relic of Sr. Sto. Niño. As she was staring at the relic, she said, “”Sige daw, wa raba jud koy FAITH nimo maski gamay kay bato ra ka.”
“Og tinuod ka, imo pangitaan og paagi na masulod nong gisi na papel sa machine and 1 take ra ko, but if dili ko mupasar, di na jud ko mubalik og take og exam,” Teacher MJ continued.
After she said those words, she saw with her own eyes how Sto. Niño winked at her as if saying, “Challenge accepted.”
“Nakita jud nako ang mata ni Sto. Niño na murag ni kidhat sa akoa. Nanimbawt jud ko, naka atras ko,”shared Teacher MJ.
And as she turned her head, she saw a red balloon. She thought to herself that Sto. Niño was indeed still a child, and He only wanted a red balloon.
“Unsa man? ganahan ka magpapalit og balloon? Sige palitan ka nako bahalag gutom kaayo ko, dili nalang ko mu snack,”Teacher MJ told Sto. Niño.
Teacher MJ purchased the balloon and wrote her prayer on a piece of paper. Her friends joined in, except one who wanted to get home early. And guess what? The person who went home earlier than Teacher MJ and the others was the only one who did not pass the LET.
And with that encounter with Sr. Sto. Niño, Teacher MJ devoted her life to her faith. She converted to Catholicism and has been practicing the Catholic faith since then.
You know what they say, “Faith can move mountains.”
Each of us has our own idea of faith. For some, it’s going to church every Sunday; for others, it is more than that. Faith is believing and trusting that your prayers will be answered; you just need to wait.
Teacher MJ wanted to pass the LET to become a teacher and inspire her future students. Her story proves that if you have pure intentions in your prayers, you will be answered—moreover, her encounter with Sr. Sto. Niño is a nudge to the idea that faith is for everyone.
Faith can move mountains; all you have to do is trust. And for Cebuanos, Sr. Sto. Niño is always there to help, guide, and instill that pure intention in their hearts.
This Sinulog 2024, may we remember, recognize, and announce our faith, may it be through singing “Bato Balani sa Gugma,” going to novena masses, participating in a penitential walk, or yelling “Pit Senyor.”