CECILIA MANGUERRA BRAINARD: PHILIPPINE AMERICAN WRITER CALIFORNIA CEBU
What a fascinating collection of colegialas’ memories!
It is interesting to note the nuances of language, the cultural forces, the
forms of discipline, the passions and issues, that defined each generation of
colegialas––from Mila Enage of prewar Holy Ghost College to Eunice
Noelle Lucero of post-People Power St. Scholastica’s. So different one
from the other, and yet, in essence, so unchanging from one generation to the
next. Whether or not we want to admit it, much of what we convent-school alumnae
have become can be credited to––or blamed on––the American,
Belgian, German, Dutch, and Filipino religious women who formed us. That is
the happy––or bitter––truth.
Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, writer and 16 years a colegiala
The stories in this book will give readers an inkling of how and why the colegiala women think, speak and act as they do. The nuns have definitely put their stamp on our psyche - for good and for not so good. But most of all, they taught us how to live and how to overcome.
Loida Nicolas, Chair and CEO, TLC Beatrice Foods Philippines & China
The allure of exclusivism lives on in the desire to join and perpetuate the colegiala network. Once the strict domain of a few upper-class ninas, the all-girls convent school has now found diverse middle-class variants with differing degrees of attention to what distinguished it from coeducational public schools: etiquette and elegance. Certainly not bred to be street-wise, the colegiala however has made her mark as political activist, astute public servant, charity leader, art patron, environmental vanguard, and gender crusader despite the socialite stigma. Behind the Walls sneaks a peek at what makes the convent-school grad succeed or flop in the real world after she discovers that nuns do have locks beneath their veils and sins to confess despite devotion to a prayerful life.
Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, writer, columnist
This collection of essays has long been overdue, and
should fit very nicely into that special niche of Filipiniana that uncovers
the mystique behind a Filipina.
What influence and reach these “colegialas” or “convent-bred” ladies have had, and continue to exercise, on the Philippine societal landscape! Our two lady presidents thus far have been products of that special, privileged education that took place “behind the walls.” And it is likely that the next will also come from an exclusive Catholic girls’ school. Beyond the elitist tradition of education under foreign nuns and their successors is that continuum of poise and grace, good manners and right conduct, knowledge and moral strength that has come to characterize our women of substance. May the tradition live on!
Krip Yuson, writer, columnist
Photo courtesy of Anvil, taken at the Manila Book launching of Behind the Walls, in Mag:Net, Makati, Saturday, March 6, 2005. Picture: clockwise (l-r, starting with left foreground): Milagros Enage, Angelina Goloy, Leah Sia, Linda Villanueva, Cecilia Brainard, Marily Orosa, Linda Panlilio, Eunice Lucero, Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz, Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Gina Ylaya
Photo courtesy of Krip Yuson. l-r: Marienne Pimentel, Editors Marily Orosa and Cecilia Brainard
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Copyright © 2007 Cecilia Manguerra Brainard