As noted previously, Fr. Bernie Rosinski is in the Philippines teaching English. We are grateful that while he is there he continues to write reflections for our province blog:
Hospitality comes in various forms. This blogger wrote earlier in these pages about his treatment by the SCJs of the Manila community and their kindness in showing him the beauties of Tagaytay and the mountain lake of Taal. His hosts, this time, were the SCJs of the Aluba community on the island of Mindanao, about 600 miles distant as the crow files. Their hospitality, too, was greatly appreciated but it took a more subtle form.
Imagine, if you can, a climate which is very humid and the daily temperature unvaryingly ranges between 85° and 95°, particularly if you come from a geographic area in which the four seasons prevail. Electric fans are always operating here in an attempt to moderate conditions and they work well so long as there are no power ‘brown-outs’ and the community can afford the electric bills. Airy building construction with many windows and doors open to the outdoors allow ocean breezes free access to baking bodies. I am sure that with time one can become accommodated and comfortable. Visitors to the Philippines, however, often do not have the time to acclimatize.
Then think what your feelings might be when you are led to a room which is to be your residence for the next six weeks and it turns out to be equipped with a Konin room ‘aircon’ (Filipino for air conditioner). You can just ‘taste’ the relief you will experience when you shut the door and turn the unit on.
What will your feelings be when, additionally, you discover that there are only three rooms in the entire seminary complex equipped with aircon and that your room is the only air-conditioned one for personal use? Is that not real hospitality and consideration? And I have experienced it.
Hospitality here extends itself even further in adding certain foods to the common table. Americans especially should know that a simple thing like peanut butter is hard to come by in a foreign land. I found it on our table! And it can sometimes be a welcome substitute for a fish meal with the fish’s eyes staring at the consumer. This blogger’s preferred daily whisky ration is Scotch; it too can considerately be found in the liquor larder.
Now anyone that dislikes moralizing can skip these final words. The Filipino SCJ community is very considerate of visitors from other lands and strives to ameliorate the elements that foreigners might find most troublesome: climate, food, drink. It is this consideration that speaks very loudly of their desire to be hospitable. For our part as visitors, it is one great reason for repeating visits to this country, especially for service to the region: retreats, conferences, instruction and teaching. When the helper is made to feel welcome, help is immediately forthcoming.