The story behind the letter
The beautifully framed letter (and an estampita) to Dr. Raul G. Fores from then Mother Teresa of Calcutta

The story behind the letter

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - July 2, 2019 - 12:00am

In the obit for Dr. Raul G. Fores (who died on June 20 at 88) published in The STAR the other day, he was described as “a visionary with a heart for the poor…known by many as an accomplished surgeon who welcomed patients from all walks of all”…”a medical icon who was the youngest member of the founding members of Makati Medical Center, the slogan of which  — ‘the hospital with a heart’ — was coined during his term as President, CEO and Medical Director.”

And more: The beloved doctor also advocated to give back to the community by opening MakatiMed’s doors to the sick and underprivileged. Those who were seriously ill and with rare diseases in Manila were brought in by St. Teresa of Calcutta’s group, Missionaries of Charity, to MakatiMed and were taken in by Dr. Fores who took to heart the mission to cater to the medical needs of the poor.

Before the good doctor’s remains were brought to MakatiMed, our barkada attended the wake at Babay na Puti (White House) in Quezon City. On display at a table were mementoes, among them a letter dated 9-29-90 to Dr. Fores from St. Teresa (who was then Mother Teresa of Calcutta), handwritten on a stationery of (as printed on the upper right side) MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY, 54A Acharya J. Chandra Bose, Calcutta 700016, India.

The beautifully framed letter also shows a picture of Dr. Fores and then Mother Teresa as if in a deep conversation, and above it the drawing (estampita) of a “waving” hand with the face of baby on it and these words: See! I will not forget you…I have carved you on My hand…I have called you by your name…You are mine…You are precious to Me…I love you. – Isaiah

Before I tell you the interesting story behind it, let’s read what then Mother Teresa wrote to Dr. Fores, as is:

Dear Dr. R. g. Fores,

I am very grateful to you for accepting Dr. Bardhan to come to Manila — He is very happy and looking forward.

I also want to thank you for all the help you give to our Sisters and their Poor.

We will be able to arrange for Doctor to stay with our Brothers — if you think this will help — I am anxious to give Doctor all the help I can for what he has done for me and are ready to do for our Poor.

My gratitude to you is my prayer for you and your family.

God bless you

M. Teresa mc

According to Veana Fores, one of Dr. Fores’ children, their father was a devotee of the Missionaries Of Charity (MOC) which is based in Tayuman, Tondo, Manila. The nuns from MOC would bring the sick to Dr. Fores’ clinic in MakatiMed for free treatment.

“Our dad had been treating the the sick until he died,” noted Veana. “With him gone, doctors at Makati Med headed by Dr. Henson will continue the mission.”

The picture of Dr. Fores and then Mother Teresa was taken when the now St. Teresa visited the MOC in Tayuman. That was in the early ‘90s after she wrote the letter to Dr. Fores. I presume that that was also the time Ronald Constantino and I saw Mother Teresa, her chin resting on the window of a Ford Fiera from the airport.

Recalled Ronald, “Manay Gina (de Venecia) sent an air-con limousine to fetch Mother Teresa and company at the airport but Mother Teresa opted to ride with her missionaries in the Ford Fiera na walang air-con.”

The Ford Fiera and our car (going in the opposite direction) were caught side by side in the traffic jam, divided only by a concrete island. Upon seeing Mother Teresa, Ronald and I shouted, “Hi, Mother Teresa!” She responded with a friendly sweet smile and waved back. She would be canonized as saint barely two decades later. That’s how Ronald and I saw a “living saint” (aside from St. Pope John Paul II whom I saw at the Papal Palace Castel Gandolfo south of Rome in the summer of 1978, waving at the crowd from the balcony).    

The remains of Dr. Fores were interred beside the graves of his parents at Manila Memorial Park last June 29. During the commemoration of the 40th day after Dr. Fores’ death, the Fores family plans to give away copies of the precious letter as souvenir.

Pepe and Pilar growing up fast

Korina Sanchez-Roxas (front row, to the right of Your Funfarer) with some members of the barkada, from left): Dolor Guevarra and daughter Anes Victorino, Shirley Kuan (holding Pilar), JP Victorino (holding Pepe), Eric Quizon, Veana Fores, Malou Choa-Fagar and Danny Dolor. Little girl in glasses is Dolor’s granddaughter.

From the Bahay na Puti, we made a brief stopover at the adjacent home of former DILG Sec. Mar Roxas and his wife Korina Sanchez who showed us their twins Pepe and Pilar.

But first, Korina “blessed” each one of us with powdery salt, a Filipino custom (maybe to ward off “bad” spirit), before we were allowed to crowd around the twins.

The twins and their Ilongga nannies.

Barely four months old, Pepe and Pilar are growing fast, with the girl more lively than the boy (who has a birth mark above his left eye).

After a photo op with the celebrity twins, we bade the couple goodbye. 

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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