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University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery opened limited face-to- face classes for the Medical Clerks

Photo from Michael Cuevas

 

The University of Santo Tomas welcomed back the clinical clerks of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery last  June 9, 2021. They were allowed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to have limited face-to-face classes.

Dr. Ma. Lourdes Maglinao, Dean of Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, in an interview, believes that there is an essential need to open the skills laboratory to expose the graduating class on the actual hospital setting and hone their practical skills as future doctors and frontliners.

Last February 3,2021 Manila city Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso also approved UST’s proposal to resume limited face- to- face classes after visiting the campus and discussed the protocols on how the classes would be conducted. The discussion was also joined by Vice Mayor Honey Lacuña, an alumna of UST in her premed course, representatives from the Commission of Higher Education (CHEd), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The face- to- face classes were supposed to start last March, however, due to the surge of new cases of Covid-19, it was rescheduled.

Strict health protocols are being implemented in this limited face- to- face classes. All clerks are required to be fully vaccinated and are grouped into small classes, students who are not scheduled for their shift are not permitted to come in the buildings to discourage loitering and ensure social distancing among the students. The University also requires the students and staff to update their health status using the StaySafe.ph application.

Students were also required to have their parents’ consent and vulnerable students can opt not to attend their onsite classes.

The five graduating students of the Regent’s Scholarship Program are part of the limited face- to- face classes.

Charles Latorre, one of the Regent’s scholars, said that it was very difficult to adjust at first, but they understand and appreciate the protocols set by the University. They are also very excited for their hands- on classes.

The limited face- to- face classes will end on July 10, 2021.

 

 

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The Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Celebrates its 150 years

From Left to Right: Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P , Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Dean Ma. Lourdes Maglinao

 

Last May 28,2021, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery had the Inaugural Ceremonies for its Sesquicentennial Anniversary celebration at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion. This year-long observance started with the Eucharistic celebration concelebrated by UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., Vice Rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P., Medicine Regent Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P. and Prior Provincial Fr. Filemon dela Cruz, O.P.

Fr. Ang paid tribute to the past generations of UST FMS alumni who paved the way for future UST doctors. He also stressed the importance of preserving this legacy and honoring their sacrifices by forging a clear vision for the next 150 years.

The inaugural celebration was attended by around 200 guests. The Dean, Dr. Ma. Lourdes Maglinao, led in welcoming the guests. Notable keynote speakers, namely, Rev. Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, O.P., Master of the Order of the Preachers, and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III joined the festivities. The feeling of pride and gratitude filled the air among the Thomasian doctors and faculty members during the ceremony.

The historical marker was also unveiled during the inaugural celebration and a second one was unveiled at the Plaza Santo Tomas in Intramuros, the original site of the University of Santo Tomas, last May 29,2021.

The Marker reads:

“Established on May 28, 1871, by Decree of the Superior Gobierno de Filipinas, the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Santo Tomas is the oldest school of medicine in the Philippines. Known then as the Facultad de Medicina y Cirugia, it was originally located in Intramuros and was transferred to its present location in Sampaloc in 1945.

150 years on, the Faculty has grown into the biggest institution of higher learning in medicine in the country. True to its Christian mandates, it reaffirms its commitment to foster the growth of men and women of science and medicine, educating them in reason and strengthening them in faith, branding them with humility, courage, industry, and brilliance.

In commemoration of the history, fortitude, and legacy of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery on its Sesquicentennial Founding Anniversary”

 

The FMS Thomasian community has lined up yearlong activities to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary by organizing events such as the USTMED 150 Webinar series which started last March 23,2021. They also had the Sesqui Tele- Med Mission and online medical mission that run last May 24-28, 2021, and The FMS Community Pantry last May 28 and 29,2021 that provided groceries for around 400 members of the internal and external public as some beneficiaries were from the UST service units and from the Intramuros community.

The Sesquicentennial celebration of the Faculty of Surgery and Medicine is a monumental milestone. In the Dean’s speech, she cited, that in the near- future, the Saints Cosmas and Damian Simulation and Research Center will soon rise to develop the next generation of doctors and be the symbol of Philippine medical excellence led by the University of Santo Tomas.

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“The Sesquicentennial of Thomasian Medical Education: A Celebration of Grit, Gratitude, and Glory”

Ma. Lourdes P. Domingo-Maglinao, MD

Dean, UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

 

 

 

Greetings in the name of Saints Cosmas and Damian!

 

The year 2021 marks a pivotal time in the history of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, a time envisioned to be the beginning of a new chapter in the illustrious history of the oldest existing Catholic University in the Philippines.

 

“Legacy is not about leaving something behind for people, it is about leaving something in them. Legacy is more than about being exalted, it is about being remembered.”

 

One hundred fifty (150) years of a story told and retold. The commemoration of our Alma Mater’s 150th year of existence is not only a tribute to its rich heritage but a proclamation of how it has evolved through time.

 

A story of men and women imbued with the desire to heal and inspired by a calling to serve and decorate the colorful pages of our Alma Mater’s history.

 

A narrative culled by men and women who after being blessed with a medical education decided to change their lives by changing the lives of others using a mindset anchored on competence, commitment and compassion.

 

This year, we will tell the world of the Thomasian legacy being lived more than the legacy being left.

 

The continuing saga of modern day Thomasian medical education is truly an interesting story to be told. The legacy of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery lives in every excellence exemplified, proof of which is the stream of highly successful Thomasian medical graduates conquering the world and bringing honor to the Thomasian medical community.

 

As we brave through the challenges of coexisting with a pandemic, we draw inspiration from the twists and turns of our very own history, searching for anchors of faith, holding on to handles of hope and basking in stories of charity that brought the best in and out of the Thomasian medical community.

 

“Geography does not necessarily change genealogy. Where we are, should not change who we are. “

 

Our story is proof that through our Thomasian heritage, every Thomasian physician who thrived in a place under the sun, has in fact, helped change the geography of the place destiny gave them to cultivate.

 

Our story is a living testament that the Thomasian imprint has contributed to the improvement of the demography and the betterment of the communities every Thomasian physician has chosen to serve.

 

Our Thomasian DNA is a template created by the great men and women who came before us and who live within each one of us whether we are aware of it or not.

 

This year, we celebrate that lineage of greatness in Thomasian medical education by looking back and moving forward.

 

Unshaken by challenges posed by the pandemic, we shall find innovative ways and means to be united in solidarity as we celebrate this once in a lifetime event.

 

We will find a way and we will make this memory happen.

 

“The core of humanity is one’s identity. We need to be ourselves, because everyone else is taken. “

 

Being faithful to who we are is an important source of strength, in fact, we must make our identity, our strength.

 

We must arm ourselves with who we truly are so that our identity will never be our weakness and will never be used to hurt us.

Our history is not perfect, but it prides itself with having survived the rigors of time and having navigated itself safely through the turbulence of change.

 

Our history is not problem-free, but it beams with accomplishments that stood the tests of rivalry and remained grounded as solid contributions to modern day science and medicine.

 

We were there FIRST and the rest followed.

 

We blazed trails and carved paths for the journey of others.

 

We took risks and rolled with the punches to prove our resilience, agility and flexibility.

 

We stood our ground and proved that destiny is both a holy blessing and a human undertaking.

 

We were there when only darkness prevailed such that when we ignited the glare of light, the rest discovered who they were and how bright they can become.

 

We were there when walls were plain and blank such that the instance we started writing and experimenting with the meaning of science and medicine, the rest understood what medical education should be about.

 

We celebrate the story of our alma mater. The luster of its name, the splendidness of its stature and the pride it has given every one of us who had the fortune to be a true “Thomasian physician”.

 

This year, we pay tribute to that glorious Thomasian identity which has broken physical boundaries and conquered places beyond what the eyes could see.

 

This year, we pay homage to the great Thomasian physicians who made our Alma Mater the “Cradle of Philippine Medicine and the birthplace of Filipino physician-heroes.”

 

“The sesquicentennial of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery is a celebration of Thomasian grit, gratitude, and glory. It is a renewal of a lifelong quest to be the biggest, the brightest, and the best in medical education.”

 

Allow me to thank the Order of Preachers, the Dominican heritage of leadership and governance which from the very beginning was the foundation of this institution's history. One hundred fifty (150) years of nurturing a community that has changed the landscape of science and medicine not only in the Philippines but in the world. The Dominican commitment to education has remained both a seed of an unending quest for excellence and a beacon of Christ-centered learning that has illuminated and captivated the minds and hearts of its Thomasian citizens. This formidable institution of higher learning in science and medicine became, become and will always be the gift of the Dominican community to mankind.

 

Truly imbued with unending grace for a promise will soon be realized. The Saints Cosmas and Damian Simulation and Research Building will rise very soon.

 

The contribution of every Thomasian physician who walked the halls of the St. Martin de Porres Building, who went on duty at the San Juan de Dios Hospital and UST Hospital and who hurdled the Revalida deserves to be acknowledged during this celebration.

 

All Thomasian physicians from the past one hundred (150) years perpetuated the Thomasian insigne of excellence and planted the seeds of the Thomasian medical mind set in every nook and corner of the world.

 

Allow me to express our heartfelt gratitude to our dearest Thomasian medical alumni in America for being steadfast in their commitment, sharing their lifelong blessings,  unfaltering in their support and magnanimity  for the advancement and furtherance of Thomasian medical education with the goal to keep us at par with the world’s best. Forever indebted to  the Anargyroi founders for putting up a foundation that exclusively and solely supports the projects and initiatives of the FMS, putting forth immense endowment that will sustain our medical scholarship program in perpetuity, thus, assures us that there will be a Thomasian doctor in all and every generation to come.

 

Profound gratitude to our dear Thomasian medical alumnae in the more than 7,100 islands of the Philippines, who in great ways, became part of our Alma Mater’s evolution as a formidable institution of higher learning in medicine. You are our modern day heroes and one of our greatest contributions to present history.

 

Allow me to thank the Past Deans, Regents and Administrators of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, who with courage and character, held the fort and allowed our Alma Mater to be where it is today.

 

Appreciation to our faculty then and now for being role model and inspiration, served as guide and compass in honing and giving the future Thomasian physicians limitless opportunities for learning.

 

Our support staff for making sure that the environment for learning remains conducive and contributive to all Thomasian medical learners.

 

To our current 1,883 medical students and the future medical learners, your dreams are valid. There is the promise of tomorrow for every single dreamer and achiever that there is in the halls of the St. Martin de Porres Building. That is your tomorrow as future torchbearers of the medical school, a future that is bright with opportunities to be captains of your ships, masters of your crafts, makers of your dreams and navigators of your own lives.

 

This year is a memorable year, and making it as such, is both a personal and communal experience.

 

We celebrate the grit that brought us here, how tough times did not last and how tough Thomasian physicians did.

 

We celebrate the gratitude that continues to bind us, making sure we give love as we get love.

 

We celebrate the glory that is the Thomasian physician, reminiscing the past, basking in the present and hoping in a future that will only bring us to loftier dreams and greater achievements.

 

And today, I invite you to stand by our side, as I try to sustain the momentum of our collective efforts to remain entrenched on top, to help me continue our deliberate steps to leave a legacy that will not only last but will eventually change the course of our history to one that will make us relevant and resilient through time.

 

Remember, as I always say …the UST FMS will live beyond us ... beyond all of us... in every corner of the world and for every successful Thomasian doctor is a reflection of the Thomasian spirit that made us a breed of our own. In the end, the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery will continue to live as long as a Thomasian physician is there to keep its ideals living and burning.

 

As human existence is pre-determined and we all have a cut-off date, the goal therefore, is for us not to live forever but to create something that will. This is the essence of the sesquicentennial spirit we must all take into heart.  Let our initiatives usher and herald us to a future that will perpetuate the Thomasian brand of excellence in Medicine in the next 150 years.

 

Cheers to 150 years and beyond! MABUHAY ANG TOMASINONG MANGGAGAMOT!

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Conclusion of the Article of Fr. Lucio Gutierrez, O.P. (Part 4)

Hospital of San Gabriel in Binondo (1598)

 

In the Provincial Chapter of 1596, as we can see from the Acts of the Chapter, the Dominicans approved the plan to build a house in Binondo, separated from the main house of Santo Domingo in Intramuros. The name of the house would be San Gabriel and the superior, Domingo de Nieva. Nothing was done at the moment, for in the next provincial chapter the house was accepted again as a new house.

With the transfer of the Chinese from the Parian, near Santo Domingo, outside the walls of Manila, to Binondo, the Dominicans also transferred the Hospital of San Gabriel to the other side of the Pasig River, the north side, not far from Tondo. Tondo was a big center of native Filipinos. These had been administered spiritually from the very beginning by the Augustinian friars. There, they had established the well-known church of Santo Nino de Tondo. In fact, the native Filipinos objected to the concession of Don Luis Perez Dasmariñas of the ‘island’ of Binondo to the Chinese, for these Filipinos thought Binondo was part and parcel of Tondo. Binondo was to become the cultural, financial, and religious center of the Chinese in the Philippines. A new chapter for the Chinese and for the Dominicans started in the Philippines and so also a new chapter for the Hospital of San Gabriel. The location of the Hospital also changed.

The Dominicans, then, transferred San Gabriel to Binondo. The religious house was finished in the new site of Binondo by May 24, 1598. On this very day, the Dominican provincial chapter separates the house of San Gabriel of Binondo from the jurisdiction of the convent of Santo Domingo in Intramuros. Fr. Pedro de Ledesma, Fr. Domingo de Nieva, Fr. Pedro de San Jacinto and Brother Pedro Rodriguez, with their superior Fr. Pedro de San Vicente, lived in the new house.

By 1599, the Hospital, built of wood and which could accommodate 80 beds, was already finished. Unfortunately, it was brought down by another fire in 1604. In the same year, they started to build another hospital made of stone. By 1625, it was finished. It had two big wards, capable of accommodating seventy beds. In 1634, Father Domingo Gonzalez had a third ward built, because the number of sick people kept increasing, particularly during the season when the ships would arrive from China.

In 1645, still another misfortune struck the city of Manila. The famed earthquakes, called the tremors of San Andres, hit Manila for a month and brought to naught the whole structure of the Hospital. Once again, the friars had to go out to seek alms for a new hospital and once again, it was built, this time to last for many years. It was only in the years 1730 and 1738,that the church and convent had to be repaired because they were close to falling apart.

Francisco Montilla, a Franciscan of renown, mentions also the construction of the Hospital of Binondo by the Dominicans. He writes:

“The Chinese Christians bought from the natives of Tondo a very big piece of marsh land. There, the Chinese are building their houses. The Fathers have built in stone some very good wards of a hospital where they personally treat the native Chinese, Christians and non-Christians, without any distinction. Through this means, they win many souls for they are baptized when they are very sick. Once they regain their health, they marry native Christian women. These Chinese stayed behind to live among the Christians, cutting off their long hair and changing the way of dressing in China. The Fathers have already almost 800 families…”

 

Maintenance of Hospital of San Gabriel

Some of us may be wondering how the Hospital survived. What were the means of maintenance for the building and for the care of patients for almost 200 years?

There was a need for money for the building maintenance of the Hospital’s physical structure and the up-keep of its patients. Pure charity was enough at the beginning, but when the needs of the Hospital grew, the administrators had to look for more permanent means of maintenance.

Arcilla and Fernandez have published some documents about San Gabriel that enable us to see how the hospital was sustained through various means. At its early stage, 0the Spanish authorities came to its rescue. In 1588, the Governor General of the Philippines, Don Santiago de Vera, granted an annual subsidy of 200 fanegas of rice and 100 blankets of Ilocos, from the royal almacenes. The subsequent governors, Gomez Perez Dasmarinas, father, and Luis Perez Dasmarinas, son, confirmed the same privilege in view of the great service rendered to the Sangleyes in the Hospital of San Gabriel.

Don Luis Perez Dasmarinas, who always favored the Hospital, granted in 1593 the collection of the passage of ferry between Binondo/Tondo and Manila. It amounted to almost two thousand pesos per year. But this great help ceased in1629, when a solid stone bridge was built and inaugurated by Governor Tabora Nino. To make up for the loss of this income, the Sangleyes, that very year of 1629, granted the same amount of 2000 pesos from the Treasury of their Community Fund. It was so small amount, but it was not the only one. There were other donations and rentals from property owned by the Hospital and the Dominicans that allowed the maintenance of the Hospital for its normal expenses.

A man called Gaspar Alvarez, the secretary of the government, gave 700 pesos and Captain Nicolas de Luzuriaga another 1000 pesos. The Hospital has certain lands in Santa Ana, a town then near Manila and donations allowed the hospital to take care of the needs of the patients.

As we go over the documents published by Arcilla-Fernandez, the maintenance of the Hospital depended radically on the contributions of the Dominican Province of the Holy Rosary in the Philippines. Apart from the natural enemies – fire, earthquakes, typhoons, there is the natural wear of everything. The buildings of the Hospital and the adjacent convent where the friars engaged in the service of the hospital lived, and the church that was part of the hospital, by the middle of the eighteenth century were in a very poor situation. The Dominicans spent a huge amount to rebuild and reconstruct the buildings and made them strong and functional. By 1730, they had built totally new the church and the convent. By 1738, they had finished the repairs of the Hospital. All expenses were charged to the Dominicans and taken from the donations obtained from charitable and generous people.

 

Conclusion

The History of Hospital San Gabriel is indissolubly united to the history of the Chinese in the Philippines and the history of Manila at large. The Hospital was established for the Chinese. It was born and it continued because of them and due to circumstances connected with them, it came to an end.

In the middle of the 18th century, there began an atmosphere unfavorable to the non-Christian Chinese in the Philippines. The government, looking upon them as threats to the state, seriously considered their expulsion. And the Chinese, instead of helping to improve the situation, made it worse by siding with the British in the invasion of 1762. This provoked King Charles III, and shortly after the peace treaty with England, the King decreed, in his Real Cedula of April 17,1766, and enforced in Manila in 1769, the expulsion of the Chinese who were unfaithful either to God or to their adopted country.

The Hospital of San Gabriel that depended so much on the Chinese, and was, in fact, founded for them, was ordered closed by the Real Audiencia, on the 20th of October of 1774.

But this was not to be the end of history of the Hospital. Although it was closed as a hospital, the church attached to it was to continue its service as a parish church for the Chinese of the Parian from 1791 onward, after the city engineer had ordered the demolition of the former parish church for reasons of strategy. The Dominicans housed the secular parish priest of the Chinese of the Parian, in the former hospital until year 1843.

When the Dominicans were convinced that their project for the Hospital of San Gabriel could no longer be realized, they converted the buildings into apartments and rented them out (1841), and they continued to until the 20th century when they came to be known as the “block of San Gabriel.” In the 20s, they were bought by the Hongkong-Shanghai Bank, which later occupied the area once used by the Hospital of San Gabriel.

Thus we bring to an end of the history of Hospital San Gabriel and the great social and medical service it rendered to the Chinese in the Philippines. In the mind of the early Dominican missionaries, it was a means to bring the gifted and cultured Chinese into the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. Their essential vision was to help the as sick people, love them as brothers and sisters, and enable them to come to eternal life.

 

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A message from Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P.

Ecclesiasticus 38:1-16; Luke 10: 25-37

Compassion.

There is a discipline of the religious life that explains the longevity of institutions like the Dominican Order (800 years), the University of Santo Tomas (410 years), the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (150). It is by obedience that the commonality can be kept in the midst of differences, and the vision of the founders can be sustained despite the conflicts of times.

I am here by virtue of obedience. Of course, obedience is not arbitrary. Both in Greek and in Latin (upakuo; obedire) it means to listen, to hearken, to give ear. One has to trust the good judgment of the superiors and the voice of the Holy Spirit.

I thank our rector, Fr. Richard for giving me this opportunity to express my gratitude, our gratitude to our doctors of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

In the first reading, we have heard the advice of Ben Sira which is engraved on the façade of the Medicine building,

Treat the doctor with the honor that is his due, in consideration of his services, for he too has been created by the Lord.

In the gospel, we have heard the parable of the Good Samaritan which  aptly describes the services of the doctors: Doctors are good Samaritans.

A lawyer asked Jesus about his neighbor. Who is my neighbor? We know who our neighbor is; the lawyer also knew it. So, - you may say, why did he ask? Did he want to trap Jesus? No. The lawyer was faced with the same dilemma that we, priests, doctors, all of us find ourselves when we try to put compassion into practice. Up to where? -Until it hurts, -we answer. But seldom do we go that far, do we? With the example of a Samaritan, an alien, an enemy of the Jews, Jesus shows to the lawyer, and consequently to us who are not, how far one can go in helping others.

This is a lesson in compassion. Compassion is the third component in the University equation of values: Competence, Commitment, Compassion.

Dean, Dra. Maria Lourdes Maglinao, will talk about the first two. As a Regent, it is my duty to focus on the third.

But before I do it, I have to ask myself.

Am I compassionate? O, Yes, You are passionate, some will answer.

To be passionate is one thing, to be compassionate, is something else.

Personally, I must admit that I see myself better represented by the priest and the Levite of the story than by the Samaritan. I find myself wanting in compassion.

What is compassion?

Compassion is not a simple feeling as when we are moved to tears by a television drama or by the growing numbers of people infected by the COVID, or of the Palestinian children killed in Gaza by  Israel’s bombs.

That is sentimentalism.

Compassion is not to exonerate a medical student from the demands of a career he has freely chosen and whose challenges he has been properly informed about.

That would be unctuousness, not to say corrupt.

True compassion is to suffer with, to take others’ sorrows on ourselves. To assume all our personal responsibilities. To humbly own our failures.

Saint Thomas says that compassion is the last interior effect of charity in the soul of the individual, a grief which impels man to help those in distress…

And Pope Francis asks this question:

Do I feel compassion toward these people, toward the people who are close to me? Am I capable of suffering with them, or do I look the other way, or do I say: they can fend for themselves?

Perhaps some examples will better illustrate it:

  1. Miguel de Benavides.

Many marvelous things have been said about the founder of our university, Miguel de Benavides. (He learned Chinese, he was passionate for justice and peace, and he took care of the sick immigrants in the hospital).

On the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Santo Tomas, this last detail is very revealing: He took care of the sick immigrants in the hospital. What hospital?

Upon their arrival in the Islands in 1587 the Dominicans set up a small hospital, first in the Parian, where the General Post Office is now. Later it was transferred to Binondo, with the name of San Gabriel. This hospital lasted 200 years, but it disappeared in the 18th century, long before the foundation of the Faculty of  Medicine and Surgery.

We read in the Chronicles of the times:

Fr. Miguel de Benavidez, who later became archbishop of Manila and Fr. Juan Cobo, his companion, transferred to a small nipa house and noticing that some of them were sick, started to bring them to their house. And I heard  Fr. Cobo say: “now that Fr. Miguel has gone to Spain we can say the following, that having in his room the sick, he lay on the floor and placed the Chinese on his bed. Seeing that many people came to them, the said Fathers built a  small hospital. (This is the testimony of Fr. Pedro Rodriguez who was assigned to minister to the Chinese in the Parian).

To a cursory reader, these words may look irrelevant. But in the context of what we are commemorating today, they have a tremendous importance.

The Faculty of Medicine was established in 1871. Many things have taken place between the foundation of the University in 1611 and the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine in 1871. But, believing as one does that God writes straight in crooked lines, one can find a thread that connects Benavides with USTFMS. Compassion.

The same compassion that Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order showed to the people of his own time. There is a thread that weaves the tissue of historical institutions like our University. Without compassion, I am afraid, UST would not be what it was intended to be. (Yesterday, they were Spanish Dominicans. Today, they are Filipino Dominicans. Those distinctions count little in God’s eyes. A Dominican without compassion, be Spanish, American, Japanese, Filipino, Chinese … is not a true Dominican.)

Saint Dominic, Benavides, following the steps of Jesus, teach me, a Dominican, teach us Dominicans a lesson in compassion.

  1. Dr. Antonio S. Galleta, UST Medicine Class ‘64.

It is interesting to note, writes the late Dr. Norberto de Ramos, the University Chronicler for 40  years, that the idea of establishing the Medical Missions, Inc. had been born in the mind of Antonio Galleta, an American, then a third year medical student, in a trip he made in April 1961, to Kiangan in Ifugao to view the rice terraces.

He offered his medical services to the Saint Joseph’s Infirmary and Rest House, a charity clinic. Back to UST, he recruited a medical team to go to Kiangan in the coming semestral vacation. The UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery -the UST Medical Association to be exact -responded favorably, and the incorporation papers were prepared.

I recall, it was Fr. Guillermo Tejon, Dr. Antonio Gisbert, and others, who brought the document to me for notarization. It was registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 9, 1962. (Dr. Norberto V. de Ramos in his book, I walked with Twelve UST Doctors).

The rest is history: 58 years of medical services throughout  all the corners of the Philippine Archipelago. I have been blessed to participate in several of these missions and can testify to their immense service to the poorest of the poor. Salamat UST Medical Missions! (Doctors, Nurses, assistants, etc.). Yours has been a practical lesson in compassion.

  1. Dr. Simon Lao (not his real name).

-          What can we do for our Alma Mater? -Dr. Simon asked Dr. Ivan.

-          Aware of Simon’s generosity and financial capabilities, Ivan answered, “Give back.”

This dialogue took place a few years ago between former classmates of the Faculty of Medicine. The proverbial mustard seed was planted in rich soil. As of today, it has already supported 20 financially challenged students: a scholarship covering all their expenses, fees, food, transportation, housing, pocket money. The first five are graduating this June: Patricia, Charles, Cloie Ann, Carmela, Jochebed,   Congratulations!

What moved Simon and Ivan to help their Alma Mater? Simon says that he was a beneficiary of the University. The compassion of his Alma Mater motivated him. He has never forgotten.

But he is not the only one. Many others are beneficiaries of the generosity of their Alma Mater, the USTFMS.

Miguel de Benavides, Antonio Galleta, Simón Lao, Ivan Rodríguez… are true Samaritans. They have stretched themselves to reach to the other side of the road, they have stopped on their way to approach the man lying at the side, they have compassion, a tremendous compassion.

Do not get me wrong, though. These are not the only ones before whom I bow in reverence.

I have learned compassion from my Dominican brothers. Despite my original reluctance, former Rector, Fr. Herminio Dagohoy O.P., trusted me to serve in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. I did not know what for.

Through the years, I have discovered it. Here I have seen at close the compassion of the doctors. There are many good Samaritans in our midst.  Compassion cannot be measured; it is not countable. It is felt even though it is not seen.

Anywhere I have been, in and out of UST campus, when people know that I am connected with the Faculty of Medicine I hear of the uniqueness of Thomasian Doctors.

-          What is it? -I ask.

-          Something special,-people answer.

-          Is it compassion?

Thomasian doctors look at Jesus, the Great Physician.

Jesus is the true Samaritan. He got down to succor humanity that had been badly wounded (by sin); He cured our wounds with soothing oil (patience), and wine (meaning love); He bandaged them, confided us to the innkeeper to take care in His absence, and departed for His business, promising to come back and pay the expenses.

Brothers and sisters, one does not know how far he/she can go in sharing compassion. Like the lawyer of the parable we ask, who is my neighbor? Jesus tells us: You’ll find him on your way, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.

Once more, the present pandemic has shown that Doctors are Good Samaritans.

I heard somebody crying (by Raul Zurita, Chilean Poet)

Where is God?

My god does not wake up.

My god doesn’t feel.

My god does not bleed.

My god does not come

My god does not exist.

Thomasian Doctors!

You show the whole world the face of God!

-          150 years of existence,

-          Close to 40,000 medical graduates

-          The cradle of health education in the Philippines

-          The mother of a large tribe of Samaritans

-          The Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Santo Tomas has earned a gesture of gratitude from our fellow Filipinos.

Dear Father Rector:

-          With uttermost humility, yes, but with genuine dignity, you can carry the flag of UST anywhere in the land and in the world.

-          We are here today not to collect a debt, not to distribute dividends.

-          We are here to thank God for the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

-          We implore Him to continue showering us with

HIS UNENDING GRACE.

Dear Thomasian Doctors, make yours the sesquicentennial motto:

 

Continue, Challenge, Conquer with compassion.