Friday, July 11, 2014

DR. ELLEN CARAG: A Loving Wife, A Superior Mother, A Community Leader, An Excellent Counselor and A Freedom Fighter

Two weeks ago, Tina Manglapus Maynigo, Ria Manglapus and I traveled to Stafford, Virginia amidst heavy traffic to attend the "Healing Mass" for a longtime friend Dr. Ellen Carag.  During the Mass, she offered prayers for my recently departed sister Mila Maynigo Denton Goldberg who died on May 26, 2014. 
Ellen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She was convinced as I was that she would live much longer. Tina and I know of friends who indeed enjoyed years more and were able to do the things that they always wanted to do.  There are also enough "precedents" showing the miraculous recovery of seemingly incurable sick people performed not only by Jesus but also by Saints and priests.

After the Mass, Ellen asked us (including Tina and Ria) to join her for a picture-taking. She wanted me to sit beside her as she was telling me about her foundation which is now led by her daughter Abigail.  We did not get to discuss the details but she requested me to help. Deferring further discussions until we attend the next Healing Mass which was to be held on her birthday, July 17, 2014, we said goodbye.
Two days ago we heard the sad news that she passed away joining our Lord in Heaven. Last night, Tina, and I joined other friends of Ellen to say prayers (Rosary and Novena) for her soul. It was held at the residence of Judy Francia Reyes and Wally Reyes. Judy led the prayers. Like the late Ellen, Judy offered prayers for my sister Mila and requested others to do the same. I really appreciated the gesture.

There are many reasons why Ellen Carag will forever be immortalized not only in our conscious minds but also in our endearing hearts. First, with some assistance from her husband Vic, she raised great, beautiful, and smart children. Second, she was a loyal, strong, and courageous supportive wife. Third, she was a freedom fighter risking her life for her children's future and her countrymen who were suffering from the evils of a dictatorship. Fourth, she was an effective community leader who cared for others especially the elderly, the uninsured, and those who have less in life.

Major Vic Carag was one of the first three military officers who defected from the Marcos dictatorship. I remember him standing before the halls of Congress as he and the other two announced their defection to join the Movement for a Free Philippines led by Former Senator and Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul S. Manglapus. This was in 1984 when Marcos was still in full control of the military and the country.  In 1986 then General Fidel Ramos and Defense Secretary Enrile defected because Marcos and General Ver already ordered their men to go after the former. They had no choice. The people at EDSA saved them.

Major Carag and company defected because they believed in the cause of freedom and democracy. Vic, more particularly, sourced his moral courage, strong convictions, and fearless commitment from his loving wife, Ellen. We saw this in the challenges and uncertainties facing the day-to-day lives of exiles in the United States during that period. Unperturbed, Ellen led the way; her family followed, and undoubtedly earned a resounding victory.  In this victory, she carried her community.

I always knew that Dr. Ellen Carag cared for people. You could see it in her undying devotion to her husband Vic, her children, patients, relatives, and to the community she lived in.
I was not surprised that she started the ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN COUNSELORS ON ETHNIC ELDERCARE SERVICES (AACEES), INC. She was always a passionate advocate for services benefiting the elderly, especially Filipino veterans of  World War II.

Instead of flowers, Tina and I will be sending a donation to AACEES.

DR. ELLEN CARAG: A Loving Wife, A Superior Mother, An Effective Doctor, An Excellent Counselor, A Community Leader, and A Freedom Fighter with Strong Moral Convictions.  She helped move not only human hearts but human minds; not only human minds but communities; not only communities but a whole nation.


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