Hilary Overton, an angel among Cebu’s poor
DALY CITY, California—What’s a pretty and perky blonde, blue-eyed Texan doing in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu CIty? Delivering the babies of impoverished women, that’s what. She’s Hilary Overton from El Paso, Texas, who started her working life as a midwife.
Overton first went to the Philippines as a foreign exchange student, went on to study midwifery and later went for her degree in medicine. But to call Overton a midwife or doctor is to paint a seriously incomplete picture of this warm-hearted, socially aware, Jesus-loving woman.
She is also a published author, having written a book entitled When Glory’s Born, about her calling to the ministry of underserved mothers. The all-American daughter of a pastor grew up doing missionary work in impoverished parts of the world. She does more than just deliver the babies of marginalized women or tend to the health of the central Philippines’ poor and neglected, at the Glory Reborn Birthing Center on Cabreros Street, Basak, San Nicolas, Cebu City, the nonprofit birthing center she established more than 10 years ago.
The clinic reaches out to the underserved areas of Cebu’s populace, in the slums, squatter colonies, brothels and even women’s prisons, seeking out pregnant mothers who do not have the wherewithal or the knowledge to get prenatal help or even where to go to give birth. Since it opened its doors, Glory Reborn Birthing Center has delivered 3,000 babies and continues in its mission “to provide compassionate and holistic care to the marginalized of Cebu”.
But circumstances have caused the center to evolve into a health center offering more than just maternity related services. It has enlarged its mission to include other medical services, providing not only pre-natal but post-natal care and as well. It even helps get the new mothers started on a path to a livelihood and economic self-dependence — all this while keeping true to its catechetical mission of spreading the Christian message of a loving God.
The book When Glory’s Born practically every other paragraph mentions the name of Jesus, but the book is in no way preachy. Its tone echoes Overton’s speaking voice, a quiet, almost motherly way, with the genuine affection of someone who cares. There’s no question that she genuinely cares given the 13 years she has spent in Cebu, investing time and her own money in the project, even opening the first clinic at her own apartment.
At the momentOverton’s goal is to acquire a site where she can build a bigger facility. Given her commitment to her mission and her almost childlike faith that God hears all prayers, there is little doubt that Cebu will one day soon, have a full service Glory Reborn medical center.
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