My family and I, immigrants from the Philippines, arrived in San Francisco in August 1945. We had just finished living through World War II, so San Francisco was a magical place but we knew no one. The Dominican Sisters at ICA ... among them Mother Pius, Sister Mary Thomas, Sister Clarice ... changed that with their warm welcome and understanding that I remember to this day. Sister Clarice became my mentor and our friendship continued until she died. The students, full of questions, became our friends. I graduated in 1947 feeling more at home in our new country and grateful for God's blessings.
What followed was a search for a career: San Francisco College for Women, Lone Mt. (BA philosophy and history); Marquette University (MA philosophy); Stanford University (Secondary Teacher's credential) while I worked as director of the freshman dormitory. After I got my Secondary's Teacher's credential, I taught at Menlo-Atherton High School for three years. After being in the classroom, I realized I wanted to work with students individually, so I was happy to get a grant to UCLA where I got a Psychometrist Credential. I then became the psychometrist for the counseling and testing department of the Glendale School District for three years.
By then it was 1962 ... I married Jon Stark who had a job waiting for him in Europe. We made our home in Zurich and then London. We had two children, Eric and Annemarie, and now have four grandchildren and a great grandchild.
When we returned to the States in 1967, I became a community volunteer, working with different groups through the many years ... the United Way, Catholic Charities, Hillsborough School Board, Shelter Network Board, Santa Rosa Symphony Board, etc. This was interrupted briefly when I managed a CD brokerage office for my husband in the late eighties for two years. Today, we are retired, living in Santa Rosa, and I continue to volunteer while I also continue my interest in the stock market, which had begun in the late nineties when my husband opened an account for me to manage so I would stop commenting on his stock investments. This account keeps me alert today!
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to honor my patron saint, St Therese of Lisieux who has blessed us often during our lives ... the most recent was a miracle in our eyes. In Santa Rosa, October 2017, the Tubbs fire was raging. We woke up to find the fence around our pool on fire and neighbors' houses were burning. We jumped in our car and left convinced our house would be gone. However, as we drove back to see what remained, I begged St. Therese for a miracle. We found our house totally untouched by the fire. She had granted our miracle and I am forever grateful. Our donation to ICA was in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux.