On March 29, the Vatican, through Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, declared Darwin Ramos as “Servant of God,” a title that is the first step toward sainthood.
Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao started the process at the request of The Friends of Darwin Ramos Association.
“The Vatican has given us the go signal to go deeper in his life how he lived his faith and how he gave witness to Jesus to whom he was very close,” Bishop Ongtioco said. If canonized, Darwin will be the first non-martyr Filipino saint. Saints Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod are both Filipino saints who were martyrs as they were killed for defending their religious beliefs.
Born in 1994, Darwin he worked as a scavenger in the streets together with his younger sister, Marimar. They spent their days going through garbage, picking up scraps and plastic waste which they sold to support their family’s daily expenses.
Unfortunately, Darwin developed what was to be later diagnosed as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, where his muscles weakened and he could no longer stand. His father would leave Darwin every morning at the Libertad LRT station where he would beg alms from passersby. That was where Tulay ng Kabataan (TnK) street educators found him and brought him to the foundation’s safehouse.
At TnK, Darwin began a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ even if he was very young. Despite his worsening condition, Darwin never complained. Instead, he offered up his pains to Jesus, calling his illness a “mission,” which he was entrusted to fulfill. His love for Christ was so sincere, one caregiver said that Darwin insisted to lead the evening prayer despite having a fever. He would listen and support other children in the Foundation and uplifted the staff’s spirits with his ready smile and the way he embraced the suffering that came with his illness.
Darwin passed away on September 23, 2012 after a week-long spiritual battle. He was just 17 years old. Even during his moments of suffering, Darwin thanked the people who helped him and even apologized to a priest of the foundation for the inconvenience he caused by being hospitalized. In his final moments, Darwin expressed his gratitude and happiness for encountering Jesus Christ in his lifetime. He wrote “A huge thank you” and “I am very happy” in a notebook.
Darwin may have lived a very difficult and short life, but his circumstances did not hinder him from fulfilling his mission of spreading love to all those he met. On November 2018, his prayer of beatification penned by Bishop Ongtioco received the ecclesiastical approval. Beatification is the next step toward becoming a saint.
Young people everywhere can be inspired by Darwin’s example. They can also ask him to intercede for them by saying this prayer: “O God of all Joy, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you never leave alone those who are in a time of trial. We thank you for giving us, in Darwin Ramos, a street child, an illuminating example of Christian life. During his short life you gave him the grace of simple never-failing faith, of joyful hope in illness, of endless charitable concern for his neighbor. We pray you grant your servant Darwin glorification on earth so that young and sick people may find in him a master of Joy. Through his intercession, hear our prayer, (express it here). We ask this, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.”