50 Years: Fidela Adriano, SP
Sister Rosario Fideles
I was born April 24, 1932, at Malalos, Bulacan, Philippines. I am the youngest of four siblings and the last of the third generation of the Adriano family. Educated in local public schools, I graduated from North General Hospital School of Nursing in Manila and became a registered nurse at Quezon Institute, Quezon City.
I converted to Catholicism and was baptized October 27, 1957, Feast of Christ the King at Sta. Cruz Church in Manila. Father Leo Bourque, SSS, was the officiating priest. My aunt, Petra Witangcoy Valencia, was my godmother.
A year later, I decided I wanted to become a sister. I told Father Leo that I wanted to enter a religious community in the United States so my family would not be able to come and get me. However, Father Leo suggested that it would be better to enter in my native country.
Parents’ marriage an obstacle to initiation
Following his advice, I made inquiries. The congregations – four of them – turned me down because of canon laws. My parents were married outside the church, and their marriage could not be reconciled because my mother was deceased. Father Leo said I should forget about being a sister for a year and invited me to come and see him again if I still was interested.
A year later I returned to Father Leo. He told me he had heard about the Sisters of Providence and Providence Heights College and suggested applying there because the Americans are more lenient. I asked him to make the initial contact to explain the situation of my parents’ marriage. After two years of being in contact with Sister Lawrence of Jesus (Crowley), I got a letter of acceptance into the Sisters of Providence.
I took care of all my papers and all the requirements made by the sisters. Then I resigned at Quezon Institute after working there for nine years. I told my aunt about my decision. I gave another story to my father, telling him I was going to the United States in an exchange visitors’ program for nurses.
Came to States in 1961
On March 16, 1961, I left for the United States. Father Leo and my father, Sotero de Guzman Adriano, bid me goodbye at the airport. Sister Lawrence of Jesus and her companion picked me up in Spokane. I stayed overnight at the nurses’ dormitory and then went to Providence Hospital in Wallace, Idaho. I was there until my entrance to Providence Heights College on August 15, 1961.
I made final vows on August 15, 1968. Three months later, I went home to the Philippines to attend my father’s funeral. After eight years away, it was nice to see my sister, Miguela “Maggie,” my brothers Prudencio “Paul,” and Juan “Johnny,” and my uncles Luis and Eladio.
When I returned to the United States, Sister Mary Bede helped me get reciprocity as a registered nurse in the State of Washington. I took a refresher course for six months at Washington State University Extension in Spokane.
My first mission was at St. Joseph Nursing Home in Spokane. I also served in Missoula, Mont., and at St. Mary’s Hospital in Walla Walla, Wash. Next I took clinical pastoral education (CPE) at St. Joseph Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., and then I returned to St. Mary’s in the Pastoral Care Department. Next I moved to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, doing chaplaincy work.
One of five chosen to establish Filipino community
In 1989, 15 sisters participated in the discernment process for starting a community in the Philippines. I was one of the five sisters selected, along with Sisters Linda Jo Reynolds, Renate Hayum (now deceased), Clarella Lois Mae Fink and Felina “Lina” Afinidad. We went to Holy Angels Province for orientation. Sister Gloria Keylor was our administrator in the Philippine Sector.
On October 14, 1989, we went to the Philippines. We stayed with the Augustinian Sisters for a month until we were able to rent a house in Manila. We rotated in community leadership roles for a three-year term and also did volunteer work. I volunteered doing pastoral visitation at Philippine Heart Center and Eastern Medical Center.
In October 2002, I came back to the United States to retire and resided at Emilie Court in Spokane. I visited residents at St. Joseph Care Center for two hours, three times a week, until 2007.
I returned to the Philippines in September 2009 to stay with the sisters of Our Lady of Providence Vice Province for six months. Following that, I came back to Mount St. Joseph in Spokane. Since September 2011 I have been in Yakima, Wash., as companion to Sister Josie Ramac. I expect to be here for a year or so.
I have worked five years or more in every mission I have been in except for St. Joseph Nursing Home. I have learned that in spite of pain and suffering, and death for some, “all things do work for our good” (Romans 8:28) because God is present and active in all our experiences.
Now I am 80 years old and have been a woman religious for 50 of those years. I still have to learn to keep loving, for that is the ultimate purpose of our lives.