By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, Philippines – While the Catholic world applauded Sunday over Pope Francis’ official proclamation and canonization of the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a “Saint”, to be known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, many millennial Filipinos do not know that then Mother Teresa had visited the Philippines a few times in the periods between 1984- 1994.
William “Bill” Applegate and his Bicolana wife, Conchita “Chit” Natividad – Applegate, had the privilege of accompanying Mother Teresa in her Manila visit.
That time in 1984-85, Applegate was then director of the Joint Voluntary Agency- International Catholic MIgration Commission (JVA-ICMC) which had processed the relocation of 300,000 plus Vietnamese and Indo-Chinese refugees based in Morong, Bataan for final resettlement in the US and Europe.
“We feel honored and privileged for being known personally by Mother Teresa,” said Chit, upon knowing Sunday that Mother Teresa is officially proclaimed as “Saint” by Pope Francis after a lengthy canonization process.
The Applegates are now living in retirement in San Francisco, California.
Mother Teresa’s visits were limited in the slum areas of Tondo, Manila where she had a charity mission.
Not yet world-famous as the “Living Saint”, Mother Teresa had kept silent over her mission in Tondo helping the poor, the street children, orphans and abandoned children and distressed mothers.
That time in 1984-85 during Mother Teresa’s visits. Manila was at the peak of “politically instability and chaos” when thousands of anti-Marcos protesters had been regularly marching on Manila streets demanding the ouster of then dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, who later fled away from Malacanang with his family and cronies to Hawaii during the People Power uprising in February 25, 1986. [BicolToday.com]