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© Dominus Est Philippines 2019

Sr. CHRISTINE PINTO, OSB

She listened with the ear of her heart.

by April S. Campeña

Leading the school for the Lord’s service, Sr. Christine Pinto, OSB, is the 20th President of St. Scholastica’s College Manila. Approaching her 10 years as a Benedictine sister, she has embodied the aura of serenity, humility, conviction and steadfast leadership.


TRUE BLUE SCHOLASTICAN
A true blue Scholastican and Benedictine child, she spent her kinder to high school years in St. Scholastica’s College Manila. She was an active student and showed early on her passion for service when she became a Girl Scout.

In 1993, she became a moderator for the Girl Scouts in the high school unit of SSC Manila. Her active participation and experience in scouting equipped her to be the moderator for the Girl Scouts of the Philippines until 1999.

She was also working as part-time faculty in the college unit while working as a full-time lawyer at the Court of Appeals.

Having a heart who is always on a mission, she did volunteer work for Santissima Trinidad Parish. After the World Youth Day in 1995, together with other parish volunteers, she became one of the core youth leaders who organized the youth ministries in the Ecclesiastical District Youth of Manila.


THE CALL
In 1994, she joined her 4th year college students - her graduating class - for a synthesis retreat. After a long time of not attending any retreats since her college years, only then did she get to contemplate. She asked the Lord, “What can I give you in return?”

She was involved with so many things at the time – she was a lawyer, a teacher and a volunteer in the youth ministry. And the voice that she heard was, “Be a sister. Be a religious.”

Five years later, she answered that call.


BENEDICTINE FORMATION
Sr. Christine began her journey towards becoming a nun in 1999 by entering in the Benedictine formation. She took her first profession in 2001 after three years in postulancy and novitiate. After 5 years in juniorate, she decided to leave in 2005. She felt that she had not been faithful to the life expected of a Benedictine sister.

Seeing that she got easily affected by those who would leave the program also made her think about her decision. For her, it felt like half of herself was in the convent and the other half on the outside.

At that time, she was not yet ready to go home. The Manila priory, under sub prioress Sr. Lumen Gloria, looked for a job for her so she was sent to Daughters of Charity at Sacred Heart College, Lucena City. She worked at their Human Resource Department for a year due to her legal background.

Sr. Christine began her journey towards becoming a nun in 1999 by entering in the Benedictine formation.

AFRICAN MISSION
Having a heart of service for others, she was given an opportunity to be on a foreign mission to Windhoek, Namibia in Southern Africa. She was assigned to one of the local congregations – Alliance of International Monasticism – an organization that helps mostly Benedictine congregations in Africa or in places where they would need more assistance. She helped in the Benedictine formation by teaching the Rule of St. Benedict and travelled to different communities to hold English classes for the Namibian sisters.

After a year of missionary work in Africa, she was still unsure whether she should go back to her law practice. But she was determined to fulfill her lay mission.

This gave her a few months to reflect on what she should do next.

She met with Mother Adelaida Ygrubay, her juniorate directress, who asked if she was planning to go back to religious life. She discerned again and went back in May of 2008.


READY FOR RELIGIOUS LIFE
Once in the convent, she re-discovered herself and made peace with the things she was struggling with. She understood herself better and realized that she really cannot run from herself. When she finally made her decision to go back to novitiate in the formation house in Marikina, she knew that she was ready for the religious life.

Re-entering the formation once again, she made her 1st profession for the second time in 2008. In 2010, she made her final profession with the ring.

This year, she celebrates her 10th anniversary as a Benedictine sister, continuing her service for others, with certainty and conviction.


RELIGIOUS FAMILY
Sr. Christine grew up with religious people in her family.

It was not new to her nor to them for someone in the family to become part of any of the religious orders. She has a first cousin who is a priest of the Archdiocese of Palo, Leyte. Her mother’s cousin, Sr. Agneta Lauzon, belonged to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Mother of God (SFIC). She has an aunt whom she fondly calls “Tia Madre” who belonged to the Order of Augustinian Recollects and was Mother General for 12 years.

Remembering the details of all her experiences, she knows she has fully given herself to the mission. She accepts the life where she is now and the people in it.

SUPREME COURT LAWYER
Sr. Christine graduated law school from University of the Philippines in 1990. She had her practicum in the Office of Legal Aid, which handled mostly labor cases.

She took the bar exam in October 1990 but even before passing the bar, she already applied for a job at the Supreme Court. She got accepted and worked with Justice Teodoro Padilla. She practiced her profession for almost 9 years, doing legal research for the cases to be penned by Justice Padilla.


TIA MADRE
Out of all the members in her family, she was the least expected to follow in this path. Realizing that she has this calling, she consulted with “tia-madre” about entering the vocation. She was advised by her aunt to visit the novitiate of the Augustinian Recollects. But because she was already teaching at St. Scholastica’s College Manila in 1994, she was shown a search-in form from the same institution by Ms. Weng Sayas, who was the secretary of Dr. Gil at that time. She filled out the form and got a follow up from Sr. Lumen, since then she started to participate in their activities like their prayers and lauds.

This unexpected decision may have brought about some concerns in the family but in the end, her mother’s wish for her to be happy is the blessing that she cherished before she had her aspirancy in February of 1999, held in St. Alphonsus Catholic School in Lapu – Lapu City, Cebu.

Despite being exposed to different religious orders, as she was a Scholastican since her primary years and exposed to the Benedicitne ways and the charism of the Benedictine Spirituality, it felt like home for Sr. Christine to be in the Order of St. Benedict.


MISSION
Looking back at all her accomplishments and decisions, Sr. Christine faithfully believes that this is how God has shown His generosity.

From the time she had her mission work in Lucena and Namibia, God continued to provide and protect her while doing her work.

Remembering the details of all her experiences, she knows she has fully given herself to the mission. She accepts the life where she is now and the people in it.


PRESIDENT
While we all see her as the President of St. Scholastica’s College Manila, in her humility, she recognizes that she is God’s partner and this is all God’s work.

Her years as a lawyer helped her in understanding legal issues, especially now that she is in an administrative position.

She considers the people she works with blessings. She trusts the people that she has been graced with because of their brilliant minds. They make her work and commitment to God’s mission easy.

The sisters in the community, although with different minds and ways of doing things, have a shared calling and mission.

She admits that when people start having expectations, it can be tiring. But she does what she can manage. For what she cannot do, she seeks the help of others - just like St. Benedict, who taught us to “seek counsel” (RB Chapter 3).

She believes that God has His ways of revealing things and working things out, but in all the decisions that she make and take responsibility for, everything must be done in prayer – ora et labora.

And in prayer, just like in the Prologue in the Rule of St. Benedict, she listens with the ear of her heart.

She admits that when people start having expectations, it can be tiring. But she does what she can manage. For what she cannot do, she seeks the help of others - just like St. Benedict, who taught us to “seek counsel.”