THERE IS STILL TIME FOR REJOICING
AND PLANTING TREESDate: June 28, 2021Posted by: Marionette Martinez
On the same day, we also celebrated the 311th Death Anniversary of our holy founder, Fr. Louis Chauvet. This is the day our Superior General chose to hold the congregational tree planting project, dubbed “325 Trees for 325 Years,” to commemorate the 325 years of mission and service of the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in the world.
As the text of the commemorative plaque says, the tree “parallels the spiritual journey of our congregation from the tiny seed of Levesville, germinating in the heart of Fr. Louis Chauvet, our founder, to a tree widespread and far-flung to various continents—teaching, healing, and touching lives. A symbol of grace, growth, and hope, this tree affirms God’s power to create, redeem, and sustain all of Creation.”
At the tree planting ceremony in SPU Manila, Sr. Evangeline gave this interesting rationale for the choice of the Golden Shower as the school’s tree:
We in St. Paul University Manila feel so fortunate and delighted to have chosen to plant the Golden Shower, one of the beautiful and brightly colored flowering trees in our country. Our choice is, in fact, serendipitous because of the many parallels and symbolisms between the tree and the congregation.
First. The Golden Shower tree, or Cassia Fistula, also called April Shower, is an erect, medium-sized tree, which sheds its leaves every year. Its special feature is its fragrant and bright yellow flowers, which, when in bloom, give the tree a majestic look. These characteristics are much like the paschal spirituality of the SPC Sisters, who pass through difficulties and tribulations—like the yearly shedding of the tree’s leaves—but hold on to their faith and hope, and having overcome the challenges and trials, exude joy and love—like the bright yellow flowers of the Golden Shower.
Second. Just as this tree is found not only all over the Philippines but also in the Southeast Asian region and in other countries around the world, the SPC Sisters are found all over the country, from northern Luzon to Mindanao, and in different parts of the globe, making interculturality a part of our life.
Third. Aside from its decorative beauty, the Golden Shower is also highly regarded as one of the most important medicinal plants, having anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-allergic, anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial properties, and many more. Due to its many medicinal uses, the Golden Shower is known in India as aragvadha, meaning “disease killer.” In a world wounded by division and physical, emotional, and moral maladies, the medicinal property of the Golden shower symbolizes the SPC Sisters’ earnest desire and zealous endeavor to be “healers” and “peacemakers.”
Fourth. Just as the golden flowers of the tree attract a lot of honey bees and are beneficial hosts to butterflies, it is our prayer that many more young ladies be attracted to join our Congregation and that many more learners of all ages find in our schools a place of safety, where they can become the best persons that they are called to be.
We, indeed, made the right choice to plant the Golden Shower Tree. Let us plant this tree with joy and thanksgiving; let us nurture it with water and sunshine and watch it grow and flourish—as our congregation and our school also grow and flourish, with the water of God’s grace and the sunshine of His everlasting Love.