The Slab Stone that Shattered a Dream and fortified Faith
“Diha gyud sa iyang ulo nabuak ang bato, unya deretso siya ug katumba ug sigeg agas iyang dugo,” (The slab of stone fall to pieces right on her head, then she fell down and started to bleed.) This is how Dante, a candle vendor, described what he saw that early afternoon.
It was on a first Friday, the 5th of June 2004. Sitting less than a meter away, Dante saw the victim and her companion passing by the bell tower near the entrance of the church along Osmeña Boulevard. They were avoiding a pool of rain water along the sidewalk when the accident happened. A piece of concrete – about 12 inches long and weighing more than a kilo – fell from the centuries-old Basilica de Santo Niño de Cebu bell tower and hit the churchgoer on her head.
The severely injured victim was Lolita “Lolit” Oroc, a twenty year old housemaid from the municipality of Ginatilan. A graduate of a two-year Computer Science course, she was hoping to find job through the help of her employer. She went to the Basilica together with the niece of her employer to hear mass that afternoon.
Thanks to the many people who went to church for the first Friday mass, Lolita received immediate help. She was quickly carried to a taxi and rushed to the Cebu Doctor’s Hospital. Nurses from the Cebu Doctors’ Hospital said the victim’s condition was serious and that she had to undergo immediate surgery.
Teodoro Oroc, Lolita’s father, still recalls how her eldest daughter looked like the morning after, a Saturday, during his visit at the ICU. Lolit’s head, all with swollen face, was fully bandaged. She was unconscious, but obviously trying to stand a fight against death. Desperate and feeling unable to do anything else, the Oroc couple entrusted their child’s condition to the Almighty. Tatay Teodoro knew then, that her daughter’s dream to go and work abroad has been shattered.
Ate Myrna, Oroc’s employer, said the Augustinian Fathers took care the needs of Lolita. When the victim was released from the hospital on the 16th of July, she was brought to the monastery, provided a private nurse taken care of. Up to now, Lolita still cherishes the goodness of Fathers Andy, Jun, Dennis, Ian, Ben, Andrew and the other Augustinian priests.
More than two years after, when asked how she feels towards God because of what happened to her, Lolita answered with teary eyes: “Wala baya ko moregret nga na ingon ani ko. Kay buot pa patay man gyud ko, apan gitagaan man ko Niya ug chance. Ug mituo ko nga kada usa duna gyud purpose, nga dunay gyud ni purpose. Apan wala ko kahibalo unsa.
Ug hinoon nakapaduol lini kanako sa Ginoo.” (I don’t regret what happened to me. I could have been dead, but He gave me a chance. And I believe that everyone has a purpose, that this (what happened to her) has a purpose. But I don’t know what. In that way, this has brought me closer to God.)
Lolit concluded, “…Milagro gyud to. Kay ang uban gibato gani, nadaut na gani. Unya, ako nga natagakan, akong panghunahuna, akong paminsar… wala mausab, normal. Nadawat nako ang nahitabo. Mas midako ang akong pagtuo sa Ginoo. Milagro ni sa Senyor sa akong kinabuhi.” (it was really a miracle. Other who have simply been stoned had suffered badly. But I, who had literally been hit, am still thinking, feeling, normal. I have already accepted what happened. My faith has even grown stronger. This is Señor’s miracle in my life.)
The experience of Lolit, and how she looks at what happened, has further strengthened the faith of the present-day believers. It has affirmed the miracle and kindness of the Little Lord.
Source: (Miracles of Santo Niño de Cebu, (Cebu: Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, 2007), 143.