Thursday, March 29, 2007


IN MEMORIAM (1993-2006)

"I will be their security and refuge during life, and above all, in death."
This 4th Promise of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was fulfilled in the story of Justine Louise Vergel De Dios Bengzon, as witnessed and narrated by Fr. Catalino G. Arevalo, S.J.

Let me tell you about a true story of which happened last May 2006. Dr. Alran Bengzon, the former Philippine Health Secretary and also President of Medical City, called me one day and asked if I could say Mass in the hospital for his 13-year old granddaughter, who had a very serious heart condition.

Justine was first brought to the hospital on May 3, 2006. She had complained to her father about the "heaviness" in her chest. After several tests, doctors discovered that the heaviness was due to fluid retention in her heart. The doctors drained the fluid from her heart. After this procedure, she seemed to have recovered.

On Friday May 5, I was asked by the family to celebrate a Thanksgiving Mass for the quick recovery of Justine. Just before the Mass, her grandmother asked me to bless a gold scapular that she had given her. It was at that Mass that Justine first wore that necklace and her family prayed the Consecration to the Sacred Heart together.

On May 7, Justine was discharged from the hospital. She had about three good days of health when she was able to send messages to her friends. By May 11, she had started to slide again. On the early hours of Friday May 12, Justine woke up her Mom to say that she was in terrible pain. Her mother gave her medicine and she fell asleep instantly.

On the afternoon of May 13, while Justine was watching a movie with her Mom, she suddenly related a story: "Mom, do you remember when I woke you up the other time to tell you I was in pain? Then you gave me medicine and I instantly felt relieved. You know every time I feel pain, I put my medal on my heart like this but that time I couldn't put the medal on my heart because Jesus' hand was there. So I just put my medal on my right chest."

She had sent text messages to her friends about this experience saying "Jesus came to me at 2 AM and placed His hand on my heart."

On Monday, May 15, 2006, I got a call saying that the girl was being sent to the operating room and they were inviting me to anoint her again. So I went. We prayed for her. She was calm and very peaceful, though the doctors knew that she was in great terrible pain.

When I went home at nine o'clock, I got a call inviting me again to the hospital because Justine's heart had ceased to beat. They found out that it was lymphatic cancer which had caused the heart area to be filled with water. The consolation of the parents was that Jesus called her. The members of the whole family are ardent devotees of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Indeed Jesus was there as her safe refuge during her last and final hour. This is the 4th Promise of the Sacred Heart which Jesus fulfills to all who faithfully exercise His Devotion to the Sacred Heart. Begin to offer your faithful love and devotion of His Sacred Heart and I assure you, truly your heart will not be forsaken.

Fr. Catalino G. Arevalo, S.J.

San Juan, Metro Manila, July 29, 2006

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