Places of the heart |

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Gone are the days when I traveled to wonder at the perfect cone of Mt. Hakone . . .

People travel to wonder at the Height of the Mountains,
At the huge waves of the Seas,
At the long course of the Rivers,
At the vast compass of the Ocean,
At the circular motion of the Stars
And yet they pass by themselves without wondering….
—St. Augustine

Recently, I flew to Chicago for a five-day reunion of friends—the Girls Friday (GsF), lifelong friends of over 50 years. We were Student Catholic Action (Scan) leaders from different colleges and universities of the ’60s.

After that, I went to New York to visit high school classmates and a former student, and met longtime friends from Canada, in Syracuse, New York, halfway from Ottawa.

This was the fifth time since 2000 that our group of gorgeous friends has met. The first was in Evercrest, Nasugbu, Batangas, then we gathered in East Hampton, New York; Sorsogon, Bicol; Taipei, Taiwan; and this time, Chicago.

Every time we came together, after the hugs of welcome and after we sat and listened to our different stories of where we were in the river of life, after sharing the colorful memories of our youth and growing up years, after the eating filled with moments of laughter, after the museums visited, the river cruise featuring the architectural landscape of Chicago, the common feeling of closer bonding deepened and intensified.

. . . Or marveled at the powerful veil of waterfalls of the Iguazu, or Niagara or Victoria.

At the end of the five days, we realized that as we still shared the same hopes and dreams, the heart is the place to go. “The home is where the heart is,” where there is warmth, appreciation, gratitude. Going to Chicago was like going home to where our hearts were.

Together, we affirmed and recognized our place in one another’s hearts. We expressed why each one was important, why we valued each one’s uniqueness. How profoundly grateful we were for all our blessings through the years.

We parted with “effervescent energy,” with a grateful soul carrying a collection of memories: the laughter, the sharings, the prayers, the insights gained, the “joyful sounds of lasting friendship.” Our spiritual and psychological lives were truly enriched with a “deeper knowledge and acceptance of one another.”

It would be fitting to end with this quote: The most wonderful places to be in the world are: in someone’s thoughts, someone’s prayers and someone’s heart.

This gathering of friends, the original Girls Friday, GsF, has evolved into Gorgeous Friends, Generous Friends— what about Glorious Friends Forever?—CONTRIBUTED

. . . To go to the places in Egypt, Jordan, Israel, where Christ lived and walked.

Sr. Vicky Palanca, ICM; Lirio Covey; Claire Palma; Loida Nicolas; Ditas Rivera; Pilar Stark; Jean Lobell; Sonia Roco; Lily Ledesma;
Tina Palanca; Nita Burris

Sr. Vicky Palanca, ICM; Lirio Covey; Claire Palma; Loida Nicolas; Ditas Rivera; Pilar Stark; Jean Lobell; Sonia Roco; Lily Ledesma;
Tina Palanca; Nita Burris

The Field Museum, Chicago

London . . .

Cologne . . .

TheWelcome Cake

Paris . . .

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