Author Wednesday: A Look Back at the Life of Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano

Posted: January 19, 2011 in Author Wednesday
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We’d like to share with you a tribute to one of OMF Lit’s pioneer authors, written by Joann Nicolas-Na, one of OMF Lit’s current editors, written a few weeks after Ate Evelyn went to join our Lord. Mrs. F’s life is truly worth reading about, both as a writer and a strong Christian woman.

 

EVELYN MIRANDA-FELICIANO

March 10, 1941–August 26, 2010

In Memoriam


OMF Literature bids farewell to our treasured author and friend, Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano.

After weeks of illness and hospitalization due to a stroke, Mrs. Feliciano succumbed to a final stroke on August 26, 2010. She passed away at her home in Silang, Cavite with her husband, Pastor Dave, by her side.

Mrs. Feliciano is one of the Philippines’ foremost and most respected Christian authors, with a writing career that spanned 40 years and produced nearly 30 books and countless articles, radio scripts, poems, and other literature. She has won awards and was recognized in Christian and literary circles worldwide. Some of her works have been translated to Korean and Vietnamese.

Fondly called  “Mrs. F” or “Ate Evelyn,” Mrs. Feliciano began her writing career with OMF Literature. In 1971, the Philippine Evangelical Literature Fellowship which was formed under the wings of OMF Literature (then known as OMF Publishers) held a writing competition. Mrs. Feliciano won in the short story category.

Shortly thereafter, OMF Lit asked her to write her first book. Love and Courtship was published in 1973. It was the first book originally written by a Filipino published by OMF Lit. Love and Courtship became a bestseller with 32,000 copies printed. The book was featured in TV shows and serialized in magazines and radio programs.

“The challenge to write Love and Courtship was not only to test my ability to write but to make it relevant to the Filipino young people. I set out to do two things which I thought would be my original contribution to Philippine literature: to make it culturally fit and biblically sound. Most literature on the subject came from the West, which naturally addressed the issues of Western youth, ” Mrs. Feliciano related.*

Following the success of Love and Courtship, Mrs. Feliciano wrote Love, Sex and Marriage, published by OMF Lit in 1975. She began writing at a time when there were few Filipino Christian writers and Filipino Evangelical Christian publishing was just taking off.

Pursuing writing was not easy. Mrs. Feliciano wrote while keeping house, raising her sons Karlo and Bernard, and earning a living; for as Mrs. Feliciano puts it, “the source of our rice and fish lies somewhere else.”*

Nonetheless, Mrs. Feliciano persevered. Through the years, she wrote more books (released by various publishers) and contributed articles to local and foreign magazines. In 1991, she received a writing scholarship at Regent College in Canada from Media Associates International and the David C. Cook Foundation.

“What is clear to me is that I have to obey the gift. Always, the command of the Lord to Habakuk (Habakuk 2:2–3) speaks to me. ‘Write the vision,’ He said,” Mrs. Feliciano declared.*  Part of Mrs. Feliciano’s vision was to address Philippine issues and “to write from our own cultural framework and practices.”*

Her book Conduct for Today addressed the “tensions when what is culturally acceptable conflicts with God’s ideal.” The book won second prize in the Best Book category in the 1977 Catholic Awards for Mass Media.

In Filipino Values and Our Christian Faith, a landmark book that is often quoted in scholarly journals, Mrs. Feliciano wrote:  “Let us… assess the bits and pieces of who we were, what we are today, and what we will be in the future. What we can affirm as true, good, beautiful and Christian from our own cultural roots, we must cling to with pride and thankfulness to God…. What cannot pass the test of clear biblical mandate, we must tear down.”

Her other books such as Of Songs, Words and Gestures: Rethinking Filipino Liturgy (ISACC, 2000), Unequal Worlds (ISACC, 2000), All Things to All Men: An Introduction to Missions in Filipino Culture (New Day Publishers, 1988) also demonstrated her rootedness in Filipino cultural and social issues.

Belying her quiet demeanor, Mrs. Feliciano was a warrior-writer. She was not afraid to write about topics which some deemed as too dark or political for Christian authors to tackle. Her novel, Nobody’s Child was set against the backdrop  of the US naval base in Subic. Iba’t-ibang Pahirap, Punit-punit na Pangarap dealt with the abuse of women. In her latest book, Faith in the Corridors of Power, she interacted with the writings of eminent Filipino statesman and Christian, Senator Jovito Salonga. Her reflections urged godly governance. Sadly, Mrs. Feliciano passed away while the press was printing the book.

Her writing found both an avenue and a fount of inspiration at the Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture (ISACC). She was Executive Director (1991–1993) and served as writer and trainer. She was Associate Editor of the journal, Isip-Isak, and wrote for various ISACC publications. She taught about topics such as women’s empowerment and voter’s awareness.

“She was a constant presence, a friend to me and the staff, in good times and bad times. Tipong ‘ina ng laging saklolo’ (mother of constant help) when I needed to think and sort out things,” ISACC founder Melba Padilla Maggay shares.

As a writer, she always gave her editors her full confidence.  Mrs. Feliciano submitted her manuscripts without fear of being edited. “Bahala ka na (Do as you would),” she would say.

Her respect and love for those involved in literature are evident in her nurturing of colleagues. For several years, Mrs. Feliciano taught a creative writing course at the Asian Theological Seminary. She and Pastor Dave opened their home which she described as “tucked away among the trees in Barangay Adlas,” to writers, translators, and editors wishing to work or simply rest. Under the Media Associates International, she conducted workshops abroad. It was while conducting a writer’s workshop in Cambodia in 2005 when she suffered severe hypertension and fell comatose.

After her recovery, the book she wrote was a testament to her resiliency and hope—Enjoy The Sunset: Living Fully, Ageing Well. In it, she wrote:  “As our life span grows shorter and our body becomes weaker, the more our faith in God should grow stronger. It amazes me that I wake up alive every morning, a new lease on life given me by the Creator. ‘God is good and His love never ends!’ is always an exciting discovery. The moral and spiritual examples of those who are ageing demonstrate that life has meaning and significance, and therefore worth living. May we echo Eugene Peterson’s thanksgiving to the Lord: ‘I am grateful, O God, for the years you have given me, and the years still ahead. I receive each year as a gift, however many or few remain. Give me strength to live each at my best and to Your glory, through Jesus Christ. Amen.’”

Mrs. Feliciano never stopped writing. At the time of her passing, she was writing Senior Men, Senior Women. Mrs. Feliciano was truly a pioneer and a giant in Filipino Evangelical Christian literature.

Today, many new and younger Filipino writers look up to her for blazing the trail. Her contributions to the Filipino Christian literature ministry are immense and significant.

EVELYN MIRANDA FELICIANO’S BOOKS PUBLISHED BY OMF LITERATURE:

Love and Courtship (1973. Filipino translation: Kung Tumibok ang Puso, 1997)

Love, Sex, and Marriage (1975. Filipino translation by Teresita Viray: Ngayon at Kailanman, 1998)

Ours to Love and Discipline (1977. Filipino translation: Mahalin at Hubugin: Paalaala sa mga Magulang)

Conduct for Today (1977)

Reflections from My Kitchen Window (1979)

Filipino Values and Our Christian Faith (1990. Filipino translation by Letty Paler: Pinoy Nga, Biblikal Ba?, 1996)

Nobody’s Child (1994. English translation: Abigail, 2000)

Iba’t- ibang Pahirap, Punit-punit na Pangarap (2002)

Beyond the Honeymoon, co-written with David Feliciano (2000)

Enjoy the Sunset: Living Fully, Ageing Well (2006)

Hope Away from Home: Help and Encouragement for OFWs (2007)

Faith in the Corridors of Power: Reflecting on God, the Gospel and the Government with Former Senate President Dr. Jovito Salonga (2010)

Voice in the Wind: The Life and Times of Far Eastern Broadcasting Philippines in the Life of Ka Esong (forthcoming)

 

HER ESSAYS AND ARTICLES ARE INCLUDED IN:

Atlas of Global Christianity 1810-2010 (University of Edinburgh Press: 2009), in which Mrs. Feliciano was the only Filipino contributor among 64 foreign writers;

Through the Eyes of Another: Intercultural Reading of the Bible (Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit, 2004); The New Lion Handbook of the Bible (UK: Lion, 1999), a three-million copy bestseller worldwide;

An Asian Palette: Personal Journeys of Christian Writers (Singapore: Armour Publishing,1998);

Emerging Voices in Global Theology (USA: Zondervan, 1998);

Voices at the Watering Places (India: Dick Extross, 1991);

and Proclaiming Christ in Christ’s Way (UK,1998).

 

 

 

For more tributes to Evelyn Miranda-Feliciano, please visit:

Media Associates International www.littworld.org

http://leavesofgrace.blogspot.com/2010/09/she-enjoyed-sunset.html

The quotations with an asterisk mark (*) are from An Asian Palette: Personal Journeys of Christian Writers (Armour Publishing, Singapore: 1998)

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