Sr. Trinidad Castrillo, fmm
Born: August 2, 1927
Entered: June 13, 1954
First Vows: June 13, 1957
Final Vows: June 13, 1960
Born to Eternal Life: 12,18.2013
Trinidad was the 3rd daughter born in Baguad, Abra, Philippines to devout parents, Jose and Luisa Castrillo. All of the girls in the family learned how to live righteously from the example given by their parents. Their father, a doctor, served and loved the poor caring for them at all hours. He died at an early age of pneumonia in the course of his duties. Thus, at the age of 28, her mother was a widow with 5 children. Her mother was a valiant woman, with deep faith in God. She instilled in her children deep values that provided a solid foundation for what awaited Trinidad in life. Life was difficult during the war. The people suffered from continuous fear, hunger and other trying situations. All during this painful time, their mother was confident that they would survive the challenges, trials and difficulties of the war. After the war, she and her family had to begin anew with studies and a new home as all had been lost..
Just before finishing her studies, God’s call came when she remembered a promise made many years ago. Her mother had given each of her daughters a gold ring. At once, Trinidad went to the tabernacle in her parish church and there inserted the ring in the space under the tabernacle saying “I am giving you this ring as a pledge that I shall belong to you forever.” Later, she had to retrieve the ring when her mother noticed that it was gone.
She did not think any more of her promise until this moment when she realized she could not delay longer in fulfilling her pledge. Thus began her search for the right community. Thanks to her sister, Minda, (also an FMM), she was directed to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. She entered June 11, 1954 in the FMM Novitiate in Tagaytay and on June 13, 1955, took the habit. After pronouncing her first vows, June 13, 1957, she was sent in mission to Sariaya, Quezon, Philippines an inland municipality of Quezon Province. Although not a teacher she overcame the challenges and “learned the ropes.”
She was sent on mission to Indonesia, as a young Religious.
In Indonesia, Trinidad faced more challenges as she was asked by Mother Chrysanthe , provincial, to teach some subjects in the National School. Bahasa Indonesian was the language. Not knowing more than 10 words in Bahasa Indonesian, Trinidad memorized verbatim the lessons she had to teach. She was gifted in language and after perseverance in reading materials in Indonesian, plus the help of a good dictionary, she was able to speak, write, and teach in Indonesian language fluently. She was even able to translate! She spoke English, Tagalog, & Indonesian. She understood Spanish and French.
June 13, 1960, she pronounced her final vows in Bogor. Ever disponible, Trinidad was sent in mission to several other communities in Indonesia fulfilling whatever ministries she was given until1 1980 when all foreign missionaries had to leave the country.
Returning to the Philippines was a big adjustment.
Returning to the Philippines was a big adjustment. It was not easy as her “heart” would often fly to Indonesia. God has gifted the Filipinos with the ability to adjust and to adapt so she was able to feel home in her own country.
The experiences which followed were varied and enriching: dormitory apostolate with college students ,a very brief stint in the infirmary, then back to translations, secretarial work and taking care of documents/papers needed by sisters who came to stay in the Philippines or who had to travel abroad.
In 1992, she was sent to the U.S. Province where she was asked to help in the Finance Office in Fruit Hill. She told her provincial that she had no knowledge of accounting work. Once again, when faced with a new challenge she was told not to worry. She said that Sr. Elaine Nazareth would teach her. As in all her past ministries, she proved to be a quick and apt learner.
After two years, she was sent to Manhattan to do the finances. Her next ministry was serving in the Province Finance Office in the Bronx. As she remarked “There are many things to learn, each day and challenges too, but I enjoy my work. Every experience in life is precious and makes one grow.” Throughout her life she rose to every new challenge presented to her.
Declining health necessitated her being sent in mission to the FMM Assisted Living Residence in North Providence, RI and then to St. Antoine’s Residence.
She died peacefully with her sister, Minda with her.