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We Came a Long Distance to find God in the Pots and Pans

By Cherry Mae Dacawe

More often, we don’t know what we want in life. In fact, I didn’t even look for the best culinary schools in the Philippines. Let alone know what “culinary arts” mean. So, when a group of administrators from MICARS came all the way from Manila to our mountainous hometown, I knew there is something special about the school. And culinary arts is just one of them. There was something more. That was the beginning of my new discovery.

Photo Courtesy of https://www.pinterest.com/stjosemaria/st-josemaria-escriva/

There were five of us who passed the entrance examination in May 2012. We became lucky recipients of the scholarship granted by the Congressman in our province of Ifugao. After finishing the two-year Culinary Arts and Institutional Services certificate course at MICARS, I pursued higher studies at the Philippine Women’s University where I’m currently taking up BS Nutrition and Dietetics.

Although I believe that life is a continuous process of learning, this knowledge has been reinforced after I learned the teaching of St. Josemaria Escriva who said “If you are to serve God with your mind, to study is a grave obligation for you.” I picked that up from his book, The Way, in the course of my readings. It did not take long for me to find out that St. Josemaria is the inspiration behind the founding of MICARS.

Amidst the intense culinary arts training, I find myself learning much more during moments when I actually paused to reflect on the meaning of my tasks and considered things in the presence of God. As students, we studied because we wanted to be successful. But at MICARS, I learned that our mundane tasks can also be turned into prayer if done with love and dedication, and in always thinking of the good that such our service can do to the recipients of our work.

I was not able to meet St Josemaria personally, but I felt I have already encountered him through his teachings which I saw were manifested in the fun get-togethers during breaks and from the encouraging example of my supervisors. From St Josemaria, I learned how one can be content with a simple lifestyle and that there is joy in giving oneself for a higher good.

Sanctity, I learned, is not only for me, or for some, but for everyone. So, at the university, I make friends and share with them the things I relished in MICARS. These are not only the skills at baking, housekeeping, culinary nutrition, and food and beverage training, but also the Christian values which improved my life since then.

Thank you MICARS and may you be able to form more young women who will follow a path that leads to a more professional, prestigious life.