It was in mid June of this year that Sr. Catalina Ruiz was brought to the Motherhouse for the necessary treatment for cancer of the lungs. For the last four months, Sr. Catalina Ruiz, AR endured the toxic treatment in silence and resignation.
Sr. Catalina Solio Ruiz was born Pacita Solio Ruiz on January 11, 1938 at Manapla, Negros Occidental. She was the sixth child of seven children of Felip Ruiz and Filomena Solio. For unknown reasons, the family moved to Banga, South Cotabato and settled in Barrio 8. She went to Banga Central Elementary School and Notre Dame of Banga for high school.
At the age of 21, Pacita left home to join the congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters. She had her first profession of vows on November 6, 1952 and was given the name Catalina. She made her perpetual profession of vows in 1972.
Her places of assignments included St. Rita Dormitory, Sta. Monica Academy in Pinanmungajan, St. Michael Academy in Argao, all in the province of Cebu. Then, to St. Augustine Academy in Bay, Laguna, St. Rita College in Parañaque. She went back to Cebu in St. Paul Academy in Bantayan, to Colegio de Sta. Rita in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, then in Colegio de la Medalla Milagrosa, in Jagna, Bohol, where she taught our class (CMM Batch 81) Morality and the Christian Life. Back then, she would always chide my classmates who had crushes with a fake smirk and would remind us not to entertain suitors yet until we are done with college. When she had us, that was her first year in CMM and she went on to stay for another 4 years, enough for my batch to finish our chosen courses. It would have been nice if we went back to visit her to remind her that we can already have steadies because we’re finally done with tertiary school! I bet Sr. Cata, as we fondly called her, would be happy to give her consent.
In 2001, she had a knee surgery due to Ostio arthritis on both knees. Although it was successful, it prevented her to move around without feeling any discomfort. From Jagna, she moved to St. Joseph College in Cavite City, then back to Bohol in Blessed Trinity College in Talibon, where she developed love for the pastoral ministry with Bishop Vicente Noel as her “big boss”. Ronda, Laoang, Banga, Balayan, Toledo and Guindulman were a few more places who experienced her generous self-giving before coming over to Manila in the Motherhouse community to allow the sisters to take good care of her in her final days.
The doctor’s diagnosis of stage 4 cancer of the lungs called for her complete physical rest and a more intense practice of interiority through her special participation in the suffering of Christ. All throughout her ordeal, Sr. Cata maintained her composure, silent and never fussy even when the disease metastasized to her bones and thyroid. The only evident sign of pain were tears streaming from her eyes.
Sr. Cata finally breathed her last in the early hours of October 26. Sr. Cata, may the choirs of angels come greet you and to speed you to paradise. We ask you to pray for the living members of the congregation for strength and love in these challenging times. We ask you too, to inspire other young men and women to join the Recollect family to continue its mission. Thank you Sister for your gift of self to God through the congregation.
In behalf of Mother General and the entire congregation, we are grateful to the family, relatives and friends of Sr. Cata. We deeply appreciate your presence today. To our Recollect Fathers, thank you for celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrifice. To our own AR sisters from neighboring communities, thank you for your support. Thank you for your love. Thanks everyone for coming. May God bless us all.