Message from the Chairman

Post by Jerwin M. Lasin | Date: 9/9/2011 11:25:10 AM

Rafael Serafin was born on the 12th of October, 1937 to Mariano Donato and Carmen Rivero. He was seventh of nine children, and I was fourth.

On October 16, 1956, Br. Rafael Serafin Donato FSC accepted the Holy Habit and consecrated himself as a young De La Salle Brother, committed to be a full-time religious educator, as inspired by the example of St. John Baptiste de La Salle. On Nov. 18 of the same year, I got married to my husband, Alejandro T. de Castro, and from then on, a special bonding started between the two of us…

Fifty years later, on Oct. 16, 2006, Rafe renewed his consecration in the presence of Brothers, family, friends and colleagues at the De La Salle Greenhills. On Nov. 18, 2006, Alex and I likewise celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary at the convent of the Pink Sisters in Baguio City . We painstakingly planned it together, with him as my homilist and mentor… yet, to my great disappointment and grief, he left us before the big date.

Luckily, prior to his untimely death, we had the opportunity to go on a trip to Beijing and Shanghai with my family to celebrate both our Golden Anniversaries. Suffice it to say that this was one of our best trips together and little did I know that this was to be our last bonding… forever.

I have many memories of the La Salle brothers because of Rafe. I have visited the Brothers' homes in Rome , in Chicago , near the Wisconsin Dells, and in Jerusalem during trips with Raffy. In one of our pilgrimages to Lourdes , we also stayed in the Brothers' home in Irun , Spain . One very memorable one was when we sojourned to the south of Spain to trace our family roots in Huelva , and of course we stayed in the Brothers' residences in Seville and in Cordova, where even up to today, I can still smell the aromatic coffee from their refectory!

Looking back, I vividly recall the many birthdays he celebrated in our home in Loyola Heights , where I personally cooked and baked for the young brothers. He would ask me to prepare for 20 Brothers, and yet on the day itself, his guests would number 50-60 “hungry” boys and men. Now, I am delighted to see those very young brothers then, to be heads and presidents of the different Universities of La Salle today. I literally saw them grow up from young vocations to now very dignified and influential men in our country today …

My last meal with Raffy was equally memorable. He spent Sunday lunch with my family 2 days before I got a call from Bro. Felipe that he was missing. That Sunday, he devoured my punta y pecho with all its fat con gusto…

The idea of heading FSLE came as a total surprise to me. I am not very young anymore and the huge responsibility of taking care of scholars and sponsors did not appeal to me at all, initially. However, just as Rafe always got his way with me, I take this as a call from him, to continue our bonding as it were before. To me, my involvement with FSLE is Raffy calling on me, as he always did, to be a part of the De La Salle Community, making my home and my office available always to his activities and endeavors.

Rafe, now I am happy that through your FSLE, our bonding lives on …

Hasta la vista!

Salud Guadalupe Donato de Castro