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Batac: Remains of Ilocano teen up for sainthood draw crowds in Sarrat church

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The remains of Niña Ruiz Abad, 13, a candidate for sainthood in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, has been transferred from the municipal public cemetery to the Santa Monica Church.

The transfer was made on April 7 and has been drawing visitors since then.

In a church advisory posted on Facebook on April 8, the Diocese of Laoag, led by Bishop Renato Mayugba, is calling on parishioners to report encounters with Ruiz, who is dubbed “Servant of God.”

“The process before Abad can be declared a saint is lengthy, including the verification of any miracles attributed to her,” Mayugba said.

“We have to go through a long process and we do not know what would be the conclusion. Nonetheless, we are praying for God’s will to be done,” he added.

Based on testimonies, Mayugba said Abad’s life was characterized by prayer, adoration and an intimate relationship with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Abad was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 1989 and suffered from a heart attack while in school.

She died on Aug. 16, 1993.

If successful, she will be the youngest and first female saint from the Philippines.

”My gratitude to God for choosing me as the mother of Niña, who just became the servant of God,” lawyer Corazon Ruiz Abad said in a separate interview.

To date, the Philippines has produced two saints — St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod, who were canonized in 1987 and 2012, respectively.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz, who was born in Binondo, Manila to a Chinese father and Filipino mother on Nov. 28, 1594, was executed in Nagasaki, Japan at the age of 42 in 1637 during the Tokugawa Shogunate’s persecution of Japanese Christians.

He was in Japan as a missionary.

On the other hand, St. Pedro Calungsod was a sacristan and missionary catechist who suffered persecution when he was in Guam.

He was born on July 21, 1654 in Ginatilan, Cebu and was killed at the age of 17 by an angry former Christian in Guam, where he volunteered with Jesuit missionaries.

Marietta Yap, school principal of the Sarrat National High School, said she was in college when Abad was studying at the Mariano Marcos State University Laboratory School.

“She was different as she often wore white with a rosary around her neck. There were times before that we shared the same public ride and you could see her devotion to God. Perhaps, it is because her family in Sarrat are devotees,” she said.

One of the youngest visitors recently spotted at Abad’s tomb was identified was two-year-old Kiefer from Metro Manila.

The boy’s parents said they are praying that Kiefer will become a priest.

“At his age, he already knows how to pray and he looks so happy inside the church,” Cornelio Maluyo, a church volunteer, narrated when he saw the boy.

Through the continuing mass distribution of a book on the life of Abad, church leaders and believers are hopeful that her story will continue to inspire others to always put God first above all else. (Leilanie Adriano)

(Source: Philippine News Agency)

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