Adoracion Tañega (1929-2017): good and faithful servant

Dory, one of the first female numeraries in the Philippines, was instrumental in the growth of Opus Dei’s work with women. God called her to His side on the 12th of December 2017.

Opus Dei in the Philippines
Opus Dei - Adoracion Tañega (1929-2017): good and faithful servant As a young doctor, the first Filipino female child psychiatrist

“Opus Dei… intends to remind all Christians of the wonderful words of Genesis: God created man to work. (…) Work is one of the highest human values and the way in which men contribute to the progress of society. But even more, it is a way to holiness.” (Conversations with Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá, no. 24)

These words of St. Josemaria, found a clear echo in the life of Dr. Adoracion “Dory” Tañega, one of the first female numeraries in the Philippines whom God called to His side on the 12th of December 2017.

Dory holds the distinction of being the first female child psychiatrist in the Philippines. A graduate of the UP College of Medicine, she trained in the US and later worked as a Psychiatrist at Clark Airbase in Pampanga and at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC). To her credit, she had mentored roughly two generations of medical practitioners as part of her professional practice. Until around a few weeks before her passing, medical doctors from PCMC would consult her about particular cases.

With her professionalism and love for learning, she was counted on for tasks not directly related to her field but which she fulfilled in earnest. In the early years, she was instrumental in setting up the first professional training schools in the hospitality sector for women. Later on, she was part of the team directing the efforts of the Institute of Nursing at the University of Asia and the Pacific. Through all those years, she also worked in tasks of governance in the apostolate of Opus Dei with women in the Philippines, especially in domestic administration.

"It is difficult to imagine how we could have survived without her, even if she never made a fuss of what she was doing," said Sole Usechi, one of the first who started the work of Opus Dei with women in the Philippines in the 60s. "She was a genius, not just as a doctor but in so many other things. She began Punlaan School, pushing this project until it received government recognition and other similar projects ongoing to this day. She was involved in starting the PAREF schools. When the first computers appeared in the market she became an expert. Not only did she learn how to use them, she learned to repair them and would teach anyone who was interested."

"She loved the assistant numeraries," Usechi continued. "I remember her concern in the early 1980’s about finding ways so that the assistant numeraries could earn a professional qualification for the tasks they actually mastered. Although this took time, now the majority of them have obtained these qualifications."

"She was an example of serious professional dedication during all those years in her chosen field of psychiatry," said Cynthia Mina, director of Palmcrest Center where Dory lived. "Until last year, she longed to continue with her profession, and she felt sorry having to stop receiving consultations from PCMC fellows. In these past years when she had to be confined to her room and even to her bed, she looked for ways to keep herself busy and to contribute her grain of sand in whatever service she could perform given her limitations, knowing how through her work, she would be serving God in those around her."

"She learned from St. Josemaría how to sanctify even the simplest tasks by doing them for the love of God, as perfectly as possible. She inspired us with her example of cheerfulness and kindness, traits that gained for her countless friends," Mina said.