THE NUN AND THE REBEL – based on a true story

THE NUN AND THE REBEL – based on a true story
By Bernie V. Lopez
A drop of love in an ocean of hate.
Excerpt from the book – Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer.
Names have been changed, except Sister Josephine, dialogue reconstructed.
if you judge people
you have no more time to love them
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Early 70s. Zamboanga del Sur. The town of Dimataling was a “no man’s land” after Christian soldiers and Moro rebels had been killing each other for a decade. Sister Josephine of the Medical Mission Sisters stayed on to service the health needs of the few brave Christians and Muslims who dared to stay. She clung like oyster to a tiny bamboo chapel and a clinic, her paradise in no-man’s-land. One evening, without warning, the war knocked at her door.
In the dead of night, Sr. Jo was awakened by gun shots from afar. She ignored them and went back to sleep. She was used to it, as it happened so often. Later, someone banged at the door. Three rebels were carrying their Commander Usman, mortally wounded, bleeding profusely on the left shoulder. No questions asked, no words exchanged. Immediately Sister Jo went to work. It took her one hour to remove the bullet, and clean and bandage the wound. Then she fed the rebels.
CMDR. USMAN – I am deeply grateful, Sister.
SR. JO – Think nothing of it. That is my work. I am a medical mission sister. Our mission is to heal.
CMDR. USMAN – You did not hesitate to help me. I am amazed how you can help your enemy. You even feed the enemy. The soldiers will not like that.
SR. JO – What enemy? I don’t see enemies. I see only a wounded man. The soldiers can think what they want. They cannot touch me.
CMDR. USMAN – Soldiers are known to rape and abuse even Christians, am I right, Sister?
SR. JO – Extremely right, Commander.
CMDR. USMAN – The name is Commander Usman. I have great respect for you. If the soldiers abuse you, I want you to send a messenger to the Muslim side. I will protect you from them.
SR. JO – That’s very nice of you, Commander Usman, but I can handle them better than you, believe me. I don’t use bullets, just my habit (She flicks her sleeve.).
CMDR. USMAN – The offer stands anyway, just in case there are crazy drunk soldiers around.
SR. JO – My gratitude, Commander. I am deeply honored. I will remember your offer.
Suddenly five soldiers barged in. Soldiers and rebels were face to face. They cocked their guns and pointed them at each other. Sr. Jo quickly went to the middle.
SR. JO – Oh no, not in my house. Keep your war outside my house. My house is a medical mission for all who are hurt, Muslims or Christians.
There was a long uneasy silence. Lt. Reyes was bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound in the upper right thigh. They kept guns pointed at each other.
SR. JO – (With absolute authority). Lt. Reyes, Commander Usman, I order you to respect my home. If you cannot, then kill me first before you shoot each other down.
There was a long uneasy silence. Cmdr. Usman was the first to order his men to put down their guns. Lt. Reyes followed.
CMDR. USMAN – I think it is time for us to go.
SR. JO – Yes, Commander, go. Lt. Reyes, promise me you will not pursue them.
LT. REYES – How can we, when I am wounded?
CMDR. USMAN – Sister, please remember my promise. Thank you for everything.
SR. JO – I will remember. Thank you for your kindness.
The rebels quietly and calmly filed out. Sister helped Lt. Reyes to a seat and began to tend to his wound as his men lingered around. Lt. Reyes was about to speak.
SR. JO – Not a word, lieutenant. I know what you want to say. I have no war in my heart. Can you not understand that? You cannot force your world of bullets into my world of love. This is one tiny space in this large island full of wars where there is no hate or vengeance. It is my space. Can we keep it that way?
LT. REYES – Yes, Sister. I understand. But I want you to send a messenger to me if the rebels come to disturb you. I will protect you.
SR. JO – Sounds familiar.
LT. REYES – What’s that again, Sister?
SR. JO – Nothing, lieutenant. I just said we are one big family.
in the oceans of war and hatred
there exist tiny islands
of peace and understanding that persist
they are flickers of a candle light
it takes one tiny candle
to destroy total darkness
imagine a thousand candles
mimicking the sunrise
ushering in hope and reconciliation
imagine a world of love
dominating a world of hate
coexistence conquering conflict
only each one of us together
can mimic that sunrise
we have that power if we know it
Lord, that we may be
instruments of Your love and peace
in a world on a tailspin


To inquire about or order the book, email the author.
The book has a collection of 49 inspiring anecdotes, mostly true to life. Send the book as a Christmas gift for only PHP500, courier cost included, to friends anywhere in the Philippines. Quick, no fuss, no shopping, remote control from your keyboard, cheap, a gift of priceless spiritual value.


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