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Letter from Br. Néstor Quiceno to his Provincial

13/07/2008: Colombia

I just received a communication from Br. Néstor. He asked that I share with all of you a letter that he has written for all of the brothers. I do it with deep respect and with a heart moved with sadness and pride. Yes, I suffer with Néstor in these moments; but, at the same time, I feel proud and happy to count Néstor among the brothers and to contemplate his faith, his integrity and his love for God and his brothers. May the Good Father bless him abundantly during these moments of difficulty and pain.

With these words, Br. Laurentino, Provincial of Norandina, made known to the brothers the feelings of Br. Néstor. One month later, 8 July 2008, we received the news of his death.

Ibagué, 6 June 2008
Very dear Brothers and other “Marvelous Companions”:

What happiness it is to feel that one arrives at the end of life and knows for certain that all is grace, all is love and all is the goodness of God. I feel the loving presence of God throughout my life reflected in these words of Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (Isaiah: 55,8).

I want to share with you, brothers and friends, the recent events of my health problems. From the 24th of February, upon returning from the meeting of community directors in Cali, I felt that my strength was visibly declining and I lacked the enthusiasm, the God within that I’ve always had.
More and more I was taking on an intense yellow color. The medical tests detected a mass at the top of the pancreas. After a biopsy, it was confirmed that the cancer had reappeared in that place, obstructing the bile ducts. I was transferred from the emergency room to the Santa Fe Clinic in Bogotá, and on the 8th of May they made an incision in the liver and pancreas to open up these ducts. A week later it was necessary to return to Bogotá because the internal-external connection had come unfastened. This second surgery was without anesthesia; you can only imagine the pain. Fortunately, it seems that things are improving day by day. My feelings at this moment come from a profound and immense gratitude to God who in every instant expressed his goodness to me through the congregation, the superiors, the brothers and other “marvelous companions,” who have spared no expense so that I feel well and recover my health, if it is the will of God. The affection of all of you has been made visible in many details: your interest in my health, your visits, your frequent calls, your words of encouragement, etc.

Only God knows how many days I have left to live: but I know in whom I’ve put my confidence and I’m sure that I will not be disappointed (St. Paul).

In these moments I feel a deep inner peace and an immense confidence in he who has chosen me before forming me in my mother’s womb. I feel no fear facing death; on the contrary, I feel its approach with happiness because it’s time to return to the Father’s house

I feel that each day gives me more fullness, more depth and resonates more with what I’ve considered the most beautiful human prayer: “Father, I place myself in your hands, do with me what you wish, whatever it is, I give you thanks, I accept all, so that your will is fulfilled in me…” What inner peace these words give when it has been about making them real in the day to day following of Jesus!
Permit me to ask you for one small wish: I want to be cremated and my ashes to rest with all those holy brothers who have gone before us on this beautiful adventure of being Marists. I continue to rely on the valuable support of your daily prayer, until we have the great fortune of meeting again with all of the Marists from whom we learned the simple way of following Jesus and his Gospel.

Br. Néstor Quiceno Escobar, fms

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