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Oblates lost hardworking missionary Bro. Bruno Torres, OMI

OMI Philippine Province • 11:00 AM Tue Mar 31, 2020
Edwin O. Fernandez

COTABATO CITY - Oblate Brother Bruno Torres, OMI has returned to his Maker on Monday following a battle with cancer of the liver. He was 80 years old.

"With great sadness, we announce the passing away of our beloved Br. Bruno Torres, OMI at the age of 80 years. He went forth from this world to the Lord today, March 30, 2020 at 11:46 AM. In your charity, please say a prayer for his eternal repose," the OMI said in a statement Monday.

Fr. Ross Kapunan, OMI said Bro. Bruno had a succesful heart bypass earlier but he succumbed to his other illnes: cancer. He died at the Bolduc residence in Quezon City.

His remains were cremated Monday night. 

Below is an article written by Fr. Eliseo "Jun" Mercado, OMI that he posted on his FB page.

October 6, 1937 – March 30, 2020

The hidden little story of Bro. Bruno Torres, OMI or Br. “Bronsky” to his friends began eighty one years ago in the small town of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur. The cold, sixth night of October, 1939 greeted the future, unassuming Oblate of Mary Immaculate. The background of the threat and tension of the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines did not diminish the birth of God’s gift in this infant’s heart.

Bro. Bruno is the youngest of a brood of nine. He has four brothers and also four sisters, two of whom are deceased. The war years saw them in that small town of Luzon where his parents, Lorenzo and Gregoria, strove to keep the family together at all cost. While still a boy of six, the whole family migrated to what as then known as the Town of Buluan, leaving behind a war-scared past and setting anew amidst the promise of Mindanao.

He was always the pet of the family. Even when he started going to school in their new home in Katiku, Buluan, everyone was there to show him love and support. This was especially true with his mother who was, in all ways, the inspiration and mentor of the shy boy.

Things turn on a different turn when he transferred to the then co-ed Notre Dame High School in Tacurong as a third year student. The previous atmosphere of his home’s familiar security was now aground with the challenge of living in unpredictable surroundings. He also met the Oblates! He began to wonder about the purpose and meaning of his whole life in the light of the witness of the few white-clad guys in the school and the parish.

When he saw the recruitment ad for Oblate Brothers in the “Mindanao Cross," his curiosity and jumbled feelings knew no bounds. He realized he did not want to be a priest. Yet, he wanted to serve God in way that he felt complemented his silent personality. It was then that he decided to become a pioneer Oblate Filipino Brother.

In 1959, he was accepted as an Oblate postulant in the old novitiate house in Midsayap. He had a classmate from Tacurong who went with him but what was not able to last a year. At the house, he met Bro. Melchor who arrived the day before. The following year, they transferred to Tamontaka as the first novices of new house. They had Fr. Ian Kuilboer, OMI as their Novice Master.

On historic March 19, 1961, the feast of St. Joseph, Bro. Bruno took his first vows as an OMI. He was then sent for an intensive vocational training course at Don Bosco Technical School in Bacolod City. After this one-year stint, he was sent right off to his assignment in the newly opened Technical School in Notre Dame College of Cotabato. He has been on NDU Campus, alternating himself as wood-working expert, director of Technical School, catechism instructor and student for a BSE degree.

Then Bro. Bronzky was again sent for further vocational training. This time it was Japan. He said he learned many things while he was on this particular study program. This additional knowledge served him well when he was later assigned as Director of the Logistics Department of Notre Dame University in 1976 to 1992.

When asked about his apostolate, Bro. Bruno answered, “I enjoy my work very much. I understand the need for me to be here. Yes, I am working but I am also a religious.”
After his long stint at NDU, Bro. Bruno Torres was assigned as the Director of the Loreto Retreat House in Tamontaka. Then he moved on to Notre Dame of Mapun (Cagayan de Tawi Tawi) and stayed for years teaching practical arts to the students and a companion missionary at remote island in the middle of Sulu Sea.

His assignment prior to his death was the Oblate Juniorate, first in Quezon City and then at NDU Campus. There he was the example of expertise wood-work, of fervent religious and a man of who was a companion of young men interested to become Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The testimonies of former JOMI’s in the social media were many and moving… They spoke on how Bro. Bruno in his simplicity as a religious and a man of industry had touched their lives. The anecdotes often repeated for former JOMI’s who in their naughtiness found him not only a man of understanding but also a man of wisdom. To many guys, he had become truly an understanding “Lolo.” (Jun Mercado, OMI)

Br. Bronsky, Vaya a Dios! Adios, Amigo y ruega por nosotros!

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