By Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Magdalena “Maggie” D. Belleza Calcetas is a “Distinguished Centralian” awardee.
Mrs. Magdalena “Maggie” D. Belleza Calcetas, a retired Centralian nurse, was recently featured in a special e-book publication of the Embassy of the Philippines in Canada and the Consulates General in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto. The publication entitled “Filipinos in the Field” features the stories of dedication, perseverance and resilience of the human spirit. This was launched by the Philippine Posts in Canada (PPC) in December 2021 in honor of the countless Filipino-Canadians who are working in healthcare across the country.
H.E. Rodolfo D. Robles, Ambassador of the Philippines to Canada wrote a letter to Mrs. Calcetas on November 11, 2021 that informed her that she is one of the persons who will be featured in the publication. Ambassador Robles wrote, “This last year and a half, we were reminded all too well of the importance of our healthcare professionals. Countries around the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic head-on, exerting their best efforts to stem the spread of infections and with our medical communities forming lines of defense against the illness and death that followed in the pandemic’s wake. Regrettably, the commitment of healthcare workers to their vocations was fulfilled often at great risk to themselves and their families.”
In the publication, Mrs. Calcetas wrote,
“It is only now that nurses have finally been given more recognition for what they have always been doing. That is, personal sacrifice for the health benefit of all …To be a nurse, you must have in mind that you are doing it to serve humanity. You must be strong mentally, physically, emotionally. You must be resilient, inherently empathetic, caring, and thoughtful. It’s an amazing profession but it also comes with its own challenges… as long as your priority goals are family-centered care, Nursing will not only bring you financial stability but also spiritual and mental rewards when caring for others.”
Maggie, as she is well known, hails from San Enrique, Negros Occidental. After graduating from CPU in 1961, she worked as a nurse in the Philippines and the USA before finally working Canada. In 1992, she became the founder of the Filipino Nurses Association of Quebec, Inc. This is a group that supports other Filipino nurses who are working in Canada.
She also introduced the CPU-IMH Nurses’ Pledge song, personalizing it for the FNAQ and this has become their official anthem sung during their gala celebrations. In 1996, due to her commitment to excellence and faith, Calcetas was honored by CPU with the “Distinguished Centralian” award. This award is CPU’s continued commitment in honoring its alumni. It displays CPU’s desire to globally connect to all, ensuring that the Central Spirit can be celebrated everywhere. Calcetas continues to support CPU through any means especially through CPUAANA, CPUFOAA, and the CPU College of Nursing. She continually updates the CPU Office of the Communications concerning her alumni activities.
Recently, Maggie was instrumental in introducing Dr. Laurie N. Gottlieb to the Atty. Salex Alibogha, Dean of the CPU College of Nursing. It resulted into a “Webinar on Strengths-based Nursing and Healthcare – Caring, Compassion and Resiliency Amidst the Pandemic The CCINAA Strengths-based Way” last October 20, 2021.
Calcetas’ message to young Centralians who are fervently working towards realizing their dreams is “to take heart, harness their inner strength, and maintain their faith.” “Through their characteristics refined at CPU—perseverance, determination and sacrifice—they would be prepared for any situation placed before them. They should reflect, and always take the positive out of every experience and be confident in every decision they make.”