Sister M. Blanca Sepulveda
Blanca was born in San Mateo, Boyaca, on December 19, 1938. She entered our Congregation on November 11, 1955, a few months after our foundation in Colombia. She began her novitiate in Bogotá on May 30, 1958 and made her first profession on May 31, 1959, and his perpetual vows, also in Bogotá, on May 31, 1964.
Sister Blanca is not only the first Pious Disciple of Colombia, but she is for many the “mother”, the spiritual guide, the reference person known for her wise counsel. She has always had duties of responsibility. After her perpetual profession in 1965, for two years she studied Religious Studies in Regina Mundi (Rome) where she obtained a Diploma then, for three years, she was Junior Teacher in Venezuela.
She was also mistress of novices; and, at the same time, she was a councillor and regional secretary. She was the Regional Superior for two consecutive terms. She also spent a period in the community of Quito (Ecuador), assisting in various ways.
From a very young age, Sister Maria Bianca accepted God’s call with a generous and great heart. Like Isaiah, she was always available: “Here I am, send me”.
God revealed to her his plan for our Province, and as she became aware of this plan, she offered herself creatively and steadfastly in a service that consumed her life. She was accompanied by a constant love for God and for people, and this was an energy that enabled her to give life.
Through her service she became a blessing for each sister, she showed us the way, she was always in communion with the Church. Blessed in abundance, she became a blessing, she lived open to the love of God and in solidarity was deeply committed to her brothers and sisters.
She was always constant and persistent in prayer, encouraging the sisters, the growth of the apostolate, with a wide gaze that helped the progress and the development of the province. She possessed an energy whose secret was her assiduous prayer, a vitality proper to one who has its roots in God.
She left so much behind her … A legacy of service, dedication and tireless self-giving. She was of unconditional help to the sisters, promoted our apostolic development, she had an unshakable faith…
Her unwavering faith sustained her in God’s promise: “Endure faithfully, and you will receive a hundredfold and eternal life.” For this reason, she was always young-hearted. The secret of her eternal youth was her deep faith and hope in God.
Leading a community can be demanding and all-consuming, but she overcame this with great love and generosity in her service. She gave birth to us in pain and guiding our Province was for Sr Blanca an Easter experience of death and life.
This responsibility helped her to mature as a person. It also helped her to have a string and deep union with God.
We thank God because we have been gifted with a strong, clear, and courageous guide who has always helped us to go forward, she has supported us on the path of faith and freedom.
She suffered with each of us, but she also struggled and rejoiced with each of us.
No doubt, in this demanding service, she felt the weight of responsibility and the fatigue of service, but she always carried it out with the desire to help our Province progress.
Her strong point was prayer, not an isolated prayer, but a prayer committed to the struggles of the community, the Church and the brothers and sisters. It was a prayer that led us to see in her the Face of God for each one of us.
In the last period of her life, she faced a long illness, although this was not an impediment to her apostolic performance and concern for the sisters. She was Mistress of Juniors until the last moment, giving us an example of dedication even in her painfilled hours.
It was colon cancer with secondaries changed the course of her life and she needed constant treatment and check-ups. She welcomed her illness with dignity until her last days. The Sisters and members of the Pauline Family in Bogotá were close to her with affection, prayer, assistance, and care.
In her correspondence, in almost every letter, the call to pastoral care of vocations is constant:
“We are working hard for vocations, and we trust in the Lord’s help. We are visiting young people who have been in communication with us, those who have made a journey and we hope that some will decide their future next year” (to Mother Lucia Ricci, 1991).
“We are intensifying vocations ministry, through youth ministry. The process is a little slower, but we trust, with God’s help, to obtain the fruits; May the Lord grant that it may not be after a long time.” “Hopefully not so long-term.” (to Sister Paola Mancini 6.6.1997).
Each person has a greatness, but Sister Maria Bianca, was great for her tireless service, and her love for God and the Congregation.
Her greatness lies in her hope and optimism that led her to hope against all hope in God, waiting with faith for the impossible to become possible, and working hard to make it so. She conquered with the strength of God.
In the words of the Apostle Paul, she would tell us:
“Remain firm, remain rooted in Christ, faithfully guard the traditions that we teach you, may Christ himself animate you, give you inner consolation and make you progress in everything”.
Sister Maria Bianca was always united to the mission of Mary, and she constantly pronounced her fiat: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, may what has said be fulfilled in me according to your Word.”
Sister M. Blanca left an indelible mark on each of us, her testimony of life was characterized by her unconditional interest in people and the apostolate, her closeness and her maternal sense extended to all people. She was the only woman in her family, she was close to all our families, our suppliers, the benefactors, the co-operators of Jesus Master and finally to all those she knew. She was attentive and delicate and sensed the needs of each person and was always ready to help.
We all have been inspired by the joy of her dedication and great sense of belonging, she has been able to support us all in our vocation by exercising the charity in truth. To her we owe a heartfelt THANK YOU for the inspiration you have given, not only to our vocation, but also to all the apostolic expressions that have developed in our Province.
In her last years the Lord stripped her of everything, and she remained faithful, strong throughout her illness. She was present at everything that happened around her, until the last moment of her life, she gave us a great example of strength, integrity, faith, and trust in the Lord.
Sr. Blanca returned to the Father’s House May 13th, 2011, on the anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition in Fatima, in the community of Bogotá DM (Colombia).