Sr. Anita, the only Filipina Comboni Missionary Sister, shares some significant moments of her vocation.
My name is Sr. Anita C. Concepcion from Binmaley, Pangasinan. I am the only Comboni Missionary Sister from the Philippines. I believed God began to fashion and slowly plant seeds in my heart to enter religious life long before I was aware of it. Since primary school, I was attracted by the beauty of the church and the singing of choirs. I joined the Children of Mary, then the Legion of Mary in my Parish.
After I became a midwife, I applied for work in the United Arab Emirates in 1989, first in Abu Dhabi, then in Ras Al Khaimah. The latter is about 115 km. from Dubai where the community of Comboni Missionary Sisters is located. I was happy working abroad and helping my family but I felt something was still missing in my life.
A friend who wanted to become a Comboni Sister invited me to accompany her to the convent of the Comboni Missionary Sisters. I cannot forget the peace and joy I felt the moment I entered the convent for the first time. While I was waiting for my friend, a Sister gave me a book about the experiences of the Comboni Sisters in Sudan during the Islamic Fundamentalist Mahdia uprising. I was touched by the fidelity of the Sisters in that difficult situation. The book also inspired me to learn more about God’s merciful love and the desire to dedicate my life to the mission.
I left my work as a midwife after my experience of discernment. I was sent to Jerusalem to do my first year of religious formation then to Rome for the second year. I continued my Novitiate for two years in Brescia (Italy) and made my first religious profession on 14th September 2003.
My first mission was in Amman (Jordan), Virginia (USA) then to Uganda, Africa from 2008 to February 2021. I worked as a Health Tutor at the Matany School of Nursing and Midwifery in Karamoja (Uganda). I felt fortunate to train future optimal health care staff. Through these years, I have come to believe that my call to religious life is a gift that calls me to be more open to the mission. Saying “yes” to God is not always easy but with His Grace everything is possible. With this awareness, I look towards the future with a willing spirit, believing that God will always be with me especially in my new assignment as I go back to the Middle East.