04203_000_003Sister Daggi of Viña del Mar, Chile, is an example of maintaining not only physical self-reliance but spiritual self-reliance as well.
Daggi Ramirez de Vargas has been blind for 15 years, but in many ways she sees quite clearly. “Physical vision is very entertaining,” says the 70-year-old. “But it can get in the way of our spiritual vision.”
Sister Daggi, as she is known, lost her eyesight when her retinas detached following cataract surgeries on both eyes.
“At first I wondered how I was going to do everything,” she says. “But I can get around just fine. I iron, I sew, I cook. No one comes in while I’m cooking,” she laughs. “I use some big knives.”
As worried as Sister Daggi was about maintaining her physical independence, she was just as determined to remain spiritually self-reliant, living by the light of her own personal testimony of Christ rather than depending on another for a knowledge of the truth.
The Light of the Gospel
Before she joined the Church in 1962, Sister Daggi, now a member of the Miraflores Ward, Viña del Mar Chile Archupallas Stake, found herself newly married and wondering which church was right.
One night she dreamed about people from around the world, and she saw unusual white clothing. The next day, at the home where she was employed to help with cleaning, she recognized the same clothing drying on the clothesline.
Her employer told her the clothing was associated with the temples of the Mormon Church. Sister Daggi was soon meeting with missionaries who had come from around the world to open her spiritual eyes to the light of the gospel.
A Path Lit by the Word
Sister Daggi loves the gospel of Jesus Christ, and she used to read her scriptures faithfully until she went blind.
“When I lost my sight, I prayed to be able to retain His word,” she recalls. Retaining His word was important to her as a symbol of spiritual vision.
And though she must now study the gospel in other ways, Sister Daggi believes “the word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). She is a living example of the Savior’s promise: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
According to her husband, Juan, the Lord honored her sincere request. “Her mind captures things well. She could discourse for hours,” he smiles wryly.
“If you ask, you will receive,” she replies. “My spirit still has very good vision.”
The Works of God Made Manifest
The experiences Sister Daggi has had seeking to maintain both her physical and spiritual self-reliance since losing her eyesight bring to mind the blind man in the Gospel of John about whom the disciples asked, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”
The Savior replied, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:2–3).
The works of God have been made manifest in Sister Daggi’s life. Despite being without sight, she has seen many miracles and can testify that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
One Sunday evening the family’s home teachers visited. The family was struggling through unemployment at the time, and that night she had only a half cup of rice, a little bit of oil to cook it in, and two small tomatoes. But appreciative of these faithful home teachers, she asked them if they would like to stay for dinner.
“My daughter asked how I could do that,” Sister Daggi recalls. She told her daughter to set the table. Then she went into the kitchen and prayed, “Lord, Thou fed 5,000. I’m asking only for seven.”
“That rice fed seven people,” she testifies.
Giving Thanks for His Marvelous Light
Sister Daggi knows that though her physical eyesight has gone dark, there is a greater light by which to see.
Isaiah taught that “the sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light” (Isaiah 60:19).
“Jesus talked about people who could see but were blind. It is the same today,” Sister Daggi laments. “There are miracles all around us, but so many don’t see them.”
Sister Daggi is grateful for the many blessings she enjoys and strives to live Peter’s admonition to “shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
“I’m content. Heavenly Father gave me a wonderful companion. We went to the temple and were sealed,” she says. “My life is full of miracles. Spiritually, I can see just fine.”
“If we lose our emotional and spiritual independence, our self-reliance, we can be weakened quite as much, perhaps even more, than when we become dependent materially.
“If we are not careful, we can lose the power of individual revelation.”
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Own Way,” Ensign, May 1978, 92.
Left: photograph © Comstock.com; right: photograph by Adam C. Olson
Jesus Healing the Blind, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, courtesy of the National Historic Museum at Frederiksborg in Hillerød, Denmark