Philippines. Dentist by Profession, Missionary by Vocation

May 9, 2019

Catalina Lucman, or Dentist Bambi as she is fondly called by her family and friends, is a dentist in the morning and a catechist in the evening. Keep smiling

The dual work as a dentist and catechist has been an interesting factor for Dentist Bambi. Asked how and why, she explains: “Whenever patients visit my clinic in Cubao, Quezon City, apart from providing them an exemplary dental care, I treat them with personal care for the individual. I try my best to make them feel comfortable, relaxed, and situate them in an affectionate environment that goes beyond culture, diversity, religion, and with utmost community–based care,” she says. 
She is a woman who tries to find God in all things. Her decades of experience as a dentist honed her to be more “patient–centred” and even go beyond. Her patients become her friends. She patiently listens to their concerns and life issues – all with empathy and solidarity. 

“It has been an innate dimension in me to be a listener from the beginning. I empathize with the varied stories of their lives – all walks of life, especially the least, the last, and even the lost,” she explains. 
Why does she do it? Her answer is, “One of the sincerest forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say or talk about. Listening is a magnetic creative force. It unfolds and expands better relationships. Usually, all they need is someone who will just sit down and listen to them, and this is exactly what I do!”

“I think it is innate in me that the values I learned from my parents, grandparents, and Catholic school upbringing manifest in my deeds as a compassionate and service–oriented dentist to my patients. In the process of being a listener to them, I may ignite insights to understand life in the light of one’s faith,” Bambi said. 
§ “My daily life is an encounter of people with ‘varied stories.’ It takes patience, passion, and perseverance to penetrate into their situations. It takes a lot of grit to listen to people’s woes and joys,” said Bambi, a mother of three young sons.

Most of the stories and experiences of people that Bambi has encountered are so deep and commonly disconsolate. She prays that they may find grace to accept their realities and work on their struggles to cope, to find wisdom and strength,” says Bambi.
Besides being a dentist, what enthuses Bambi is that she is a volunteer catechist in her own way in the evenings. For several years, she is a lector/commentator at the Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Cubao, Quezon City. “I love to be active in the local parish activities – be it in teaching catechism with children or animating young people and women about faith, religion, and pastoral programs,” she says.
She considers her dual work of being a doctor and catechist to be a person for others. “That is why I felt that with so many enlightening experiences, I was able to realize that everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to love others. I personally experience the uncontainable happiness with what I am doing. I felt God’s presence and I rejoice! Faith is the initial component in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is viable. With faith, everything goes beyond the bounds of possibilities,” she explains.

“Having a persevering faith and a devoted service for others bring out the beauty of being a Catholic. It is faith in action,” she justifies. 

Being a dentist in the morning and a catechist in the evening make her life fulfilling. Just like what Pope Francis said, “Love and charity are service, helping others, serving others. There are many people who spend their lives in this way, in the service of others… When you forget yourself and think of others, this is LOVE! And with the washing of the feet, the Lord teaches us to be servants, and above all, servants as He was a servant to us, for every one of us.” 
As a dentist, she believes that a smile gives everyone an efficacious expression that makes people feel comfortable around you. “I love the acronym of SMILE (See Miracles In Life Every day). Keep smiling,” she quipped.  (Santosh Digal)