Tag Archives: Philippines

This Filipina nun’s legacy continues through the order of nuns she established

ROSARIO ARROYO
Mother Rosario Arroyo                                                   facebook fair use

Mother Rosario Arroyo is much loved and often invoked. Some say her intercession has already brought miracles.

By Larry Peterson

Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo was born on February 17, 1884, in Molo, which is located in the Philippines. She was the only daughter born to  Ignacio Arroyo and Dona Maria Podal; the Arroyos also had two sons. Three days after Maria’s birth she was baptized in St. Anna’s Church in Molo and officially named Maria Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo.

Maria’s family was well to do, and her parents were well known for the generous almsgiving. The Arroyo sons and daughter were taught the importance and virtue of giving of themselves at an early age. This virtuous sense of self-giving became part of who they were, especially Maria.

The young woman could have lived a life of luxury, but her upbringing had left her keenly aware of the misery and plight of the poor and downtrodden. Her compassion for others was genuine and intense. Maria was unspoiled by the quality and abundance of material things that were hers for the taking. She just wanted to share what she could with those less fortunate.

Maria attended school at the Colegio de St. Anna, which was a private school in Moto. She was transferred to Colegio de San Jose to prepare for her First Holy Communion.  This school was run by the Daughters of Charity, and she remained here until she finished her elementary education. From there, she began the initial steps toward religious life. She entered the Convent of St. Catalina in Manila and made her profession of vows on January 3, 1914.

Despite coming from affluence and having great wealth, Maria chose a life of poverty, devoting her life to the poor. She entered the Dominican Order and with the help of two other Dominican nuns, created the Dominican sisters of the Most Holy Rosary. The date was February 18, 1927. From that point forward, she was known as Mother Rosario Arroyo. (Most Filipinos refer to her as Madre Sayong).

The Congregation continued to grow and, after 32 years in existence, the First General Chapter was convened. Meeting from January 3-6, 1953, Mother Rosario was elected the First Superioress General of the Order.  She served for three and a half years before heart failure caused her passing on June 14, 1957.

Mother Rosario’s legacy has spread itself around the entire world. The order runs schools, colleges, retreat houses, and convents, not only in ten dioceses and archdioceses in the Philippines but also has a membership of over 250 serving people in the Mariana Islands, the Diocese of  Ngong in Kenya,  several cities in Italy, and in the United States in the Archdiocese of San Francisco  and the Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii. All toll, the nuns run 31 schools, two colleges, two retreat houses, a charitable institution, and a clinic. Another 40 or more sisters work in foreign missions.

Reports of miracles attributed to Mother Rosario have been credible enough that the cause for her canonization is underway. On July 28, 2009, the process was initiated by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, the Philippines.  Based on gathered evidence of miraculous cures that had occurred the official opening of Mother Rosario’s cause took place on October 7, 2009. The ceremonies were conducted at the parish church of St. Anne, in Molo, Mother Rosario’s birthplace.

Miracles that saved people from aneurysm, leukemia, and cancer were among the first documented. In 1983, a Manila woman, Angela Palma, who had been diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to live, prayed to Mother Rosario to be cured. The cancer was found to be gone, and in 2003 she was still alive without medical explanation for her survival.

Another reported miracle involves a woman with leukemia. In 2004, she was “miraculously cured” after prayers to Mother Rosario were invoked. A year later, she was found to be disease free without ever having had any blood transfusion or chemotherapy as described by doctors.

These are just two examples of purported miracles that have taken place because of Mother Rosario’s intercession. Further investigation will continue until not a shred of doubt as to their veracity can be found.

On June 11, 2019, Mother Rosario Arroyo (Maria Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo) was declared by Pope Francis to be a woman of “heroic virtue” and now bears the title; Venerable Rosario Arroyo. She is one step away from being beatified.

Venerable Rosario Arroyo; we ask for your prayers.

Copyright© Larry Peterson 2019

 

 

 

 

 

He will become the Third Saint from the Philippines: Meet Servant of God; Archbishop Teofilo Camomot

Archbishop Tefilo Camomot                                                     www.dst.ph

By Larry Peterson

Teofilo (the name means “Lover of God”) Camomot was born on March 3, 1914, in Talisay, Cebu, which is located in the center of the Philippines. He was the third child of Luis Camomot and Angela Bastida, who would eventually have eight children together. Teofilo was baptized the day after his birth and received his Confirmation one year later, on March 4, 1915.

Teofilo grew up in an environment supervised by gentle, loving, and religious parents. He was liked by almost everyone who met him, and his kind and caring manner left an impression on people. Upon finishing elementary school, Teofilo decided he wanted to work on this father’s farm. He also chose to attend school to become an agriculturist.

But his mom was sure this was not his calling. She recognized something spiritual within her son and wanted him to nurture it. He showed a natural and empathetic love and compassion toward the poor and downtrodden, and she thought he might consider religious life. He was frequently gathering food and rice to give to those in need.

Her prayers and the fact that Teofilo’s older brother was already a priest helped direct Teofilo to the seminary. The young man entered the Seminary of San Carlos in Cebu in 1932. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 14, 1941, one week after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Because of the outbreak of the war, he had to celebrate his first Mass at home instead of in his parish.

Father Camomot was assigned to St. Teresa Parish in Talisay, Cebu, in 1943. He lived very simply, only using the basics to get by. His austerity was an example for all the parishioners, and so were his actions. Each day, before celebrating Mass, he would visit the sick, and in addition to giving them Holy Communion, would tend to their personal needs the best he could. They all came to love the young priest.

Father Camomot served at  St. Teresa’s Parish for twelve years. Then, on March 25, 1955, things changed dramatically for Father Camomot. He was appointed the Titular Bishop of Clisma and the Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro, Iloilo. He was consecrated bishop on May 29, 1955. Even though he was now a bishop he still continued visiting the sick and feeding the poor. His humility was an example for all Catholics in his diocese.

He was a favorite wherever he went. His caring ways and loving heart drew many to him. People wanted to be near him. They could feel the spirituality that surrounded him. One of his close friends, Msgr. Jose B. Buenaflor of La Paz, Iloilo, said, “He was a saintly man – devoted to prayer, to meditation, to conversion. [He was] a serious person, even while mingling with other priests… He was very charitable…Every time the poor went to him, he gave with all his heart…”

In 1959, Bishop Camomot was sent to the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro as the coadjutor (assistant) archbishop with right of succession. It was during this time that he expanded evangelization capabilities by forming communities dedicated to evangelizing. He founded the Pauling Faith Defenders and the Carmelite Tertiaries of the Blessed Eucharist. These would be the forerunners of the Daughters of Saint Teresa.

Archbishop Camomot participated in the Second Vatican Council, attending four different sessions from 1962 thru 1965. The archbishop had suffered from kidney problems and in 1968 had to have surgery. His recovery time required him to resign as the co-adjutor Archbishop, and he was sent back to Cebu in 1970. Julio Cardinal Rosales assigned him back to his hometown of Carcar, Cebu, as a parish priest (he was still an archbishop) where, once again, his humility, generosity, and love for those less fortunate shined through. He saw the face of Christ in everyone

Wherever Archbishop Teofilo Camomot had gone during his life, he touched the hearts and souls of all who came in contact with him. He possessed the spiritual gifts of healing, reading hearts, and there have been witnesses to his acts of bilocation.

Sadly, on September 27, 1988, while returning home, he was killed in a vehicular accident. He was 74 years old. He has been declared a “Servant of God” and his evidence for sainthood is with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. There have been no negative comments, and it is expected that the Holy Father will proclaim him as Venerable Teofilo Camomot shortly.

Servant of God; Teofilo Camomot, pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

La Naval de Manila—Honoring the Great Lady of the Philippines; this devotion began in 1646

Our Lady of Naval de Manila                                       en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Catholics in the Philippines are profoundly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In fact, honoring her is at the very essence of their faith.  Every year, on the second Sunday of October, a grand celebration is held to honor Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila. The first celebration of this feast occurred 373 years ago, on October 8, 1646.  So, how did this annual, time-honored celebration come about? Well, it started with a statue.

In 1593,  Don Luis Perez Dasmarinas was appointed the Spanish governor in the Philippines. Soon after his appointment, his father passed away, and he asked his trusted assistant, Captain Hernando Coronel, to have a sculpture made in his honor. Captain Coronel commissioned an immigrant Chinese artist to do the job. The man was also a convert to Christianity and had a sincere love for the Blessed Virgin.

The sculptor (name unknown) carved the statue out of hardwood. It was four feet and eight inches tall. He crafted the face and hands of the Blessed Virgin and the entire Child Jesus from solid ivory. The features of Our Lady’s face and the Child Jesus’s face are decidedly Asian due to the sculptor’s ethnicity. No matter, Governor Dasmarinas loved the statue and dedicated it to his late father. The statue was called Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. Not long after, it was given to the Dominicans, and it was placed in the Church at Santo Domingo.

Some years later, the Dutch Republic wanted to establish a quicker trade route to Asia. The most direct route would be through the Philippines. As is the way of things, they decided that they needed to conquer the country. This would require forming a formidable naval fleet which they did. The Dutch began their attacks in 1646.

The Philippine forces had two galleons to go against the enormous Dutch fleet. They prayed before the statue of the Blessed Virgin and requested she intercede for them in their impending battle. Having placed themselves under the protection of Our Lady of the Rosary they began to pray the rosary over and over. They promised that if they were victorious they would march barefoot towards her shrine in Santo Domingo Church in Manila.

Five major naval battles ensued, and the tiny Philippine naval force, a combination of Spanish and Philippino sailors,  turned the Dutch forces back each time. Only fifteen members of the Spanish navy were lost. When the Dutch finally surrendered, the remaining Philippine and Spanish sailors, fulfilling the vow they had made, walked barefoot in gratitude to the Shrine of Our Lady in Manila. The Blessed Mother was given the name of La Naval and from then on was known as Or Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval of Manila.

On October 6, 1646, the first celebration to honor the great victory was held in Manila. On April 9, 1662,  the Bishop in the Archdiocese of Manila declared the naval victory a miracle that was owed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Included in the declaration was the directive to celebrate, preach about, and hold festivities in remembrance of the miracles brought by “Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary and Her Holy Rosary.”

Five Popes have honored the statue and the miracles it brought forth:

  • Pope Leo XIII in 1903
  • Pope St. Pius X, bestowed a canonical crown on the statue in 1906.
  • Pope Pius XIIalso sent an Apostolic Letter on the occasion of the tricentenary of the Battle of La Naval de Manila on 31 July 1946.
  • Pope St. Paul VI declared her Patroness of Quezon City in 1973
  • Pope St. John Paul II dedicated the entire Asian continent to her in 1981.

Today the Santo Domingo Church is known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila. Prior to the statue’s Canonical Coronation more than 310, 000 people donated jewels, gems, gold, and silver to adorn the statue.It is considered the oldest ivory carving in the Philippines. The church is the largest in Manila and one of the largest in all of Asia.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

 

 

 

Francisca del Espiritu Santo Fuentes—The Young Widow Founded a new Order in the Philippines for Filipinos

Venerable Francisca del Espiritu Santo                                       youtube.jpg

By Larry Peterson

Francisca de Fuentes was born in Manila in 1647. Her father was Don Simon de Fuentes, a Spanish nobleman and her mom’s name was Dona Ana Maria del Castillo y Tamayo. She was a true native to the islands and was quietly known as a Spanish mestiza (a woman of mixed race).

Francisca’s parents raised her into a  true lady, and when she was around nineteen, she was given in marriage to a young man who took ill and passed away shortly after the wedding. Suddenly, she was a twenty-year-old widow with no children, and in 1667 Manila, that was not a good position to be in. A caste society existed, and widowed women, especially a mestiza woman, did not fare well being in such a position.

However, Francisca was a woman of deep faith. She was able to peel back the cloud of her grief and glimpse the silver lining that led her closer to God. He was calling her, and she delved deeply into prayer and began helping as many poor and sick in the city that she could.

It was the 17th century, and in the colonial  Philippines,  women were far from being liberated. Francisca was also a mestiza, which put her in a “class” below the pure Spaniard. She wanted to start a religious order for Filippino women. However, she would be confronting a daunting challenge to do so. It would be a man’s world she needed permission from.

She then had a vision of St. Dominic and St. Francis. Both were calling her and she had to choose. She bowed before St. Dominic and chose to be a Dominican. In 1682 she was admitted as a Third Order Dominican and picked the name of “Francisca del Espiritu Santo.”

She was joined by her sister, Maria Ana de Fuentes, Sebastiana Salcedo, and Antonia de Jesus Esquerra. The four lived separately but wore their habits in public, helping the sick and needy and spending hours together in prayer. They became known as “beatas” (blessed) because they frequented the sacraments and set fine examples of humility and devotion.

In 1686, Francisca sent a request to the Director of the Third Order asking if she and the other tertiaries could live together. The four sisters prayed long and hard, fasted, and did penance that their prayers might be answered. On January 11, 1688, the Master of the Order, Father Antonino Cloche, OP, confirmed and approved an order establishing that a house for sisters of the third order be established in Manila.

One of the original tertiaries, Antonio de Jesus Fuentes, was ill and dying and bequeathed her house to the others. She appointed Father Juan de Sto. Domingo, OP, as executor. Upon her death, they moved into their first official convent, known as a “beaterio.”

The order grew, and on July 26, 1696, the feast of St. Anne, the beatas professed to the Order of Preachers, under a rule drafted by Fr. Juan de Santo Domingo. Sister Francisca de Fuentes was appointed the first prioress and the convent was called the Beaterio de Santa  Catalina de Sena (Convent of St. Catherine of Siena).

In 1697, the new Archbishop of Manila, Diego Camacho y Avila, arrived. This became known as the “Visitation Controversy” because he decreed that the local bishops take charge of the parishes within their jurisdiction. This created much friction among the religious in the Philippines and they rose up in protest against the new rules. Caught up in this controversy was Sister Francisca and her followers.

The controversy grew into accusations of improper behavior, administrative incompetence, and other things. It was so bad that to avoid further scandal, the Dominican friars dispensed the beatas from their vows and sought shelter for them as secular women. They were sent to the College of St. Potenciana where they were to seek “absolution from the archbishop” and wait for the return of their beaterio.

In 1706, after many letters and petitions and negotiations by intermediaries, the Archbishop restored the Beaterio to full participation, under the Third Order of St. Dominic. It had taken nine years, but Sister Francisca and the beatas were restored to their rightful place among the Dominicans.

Sister Francisca made the Holy Eucharist the center of the community’s spiritual life and under her motherly watch the beaterio grew, and many young, native girls began joining the order. Today the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena has  locations all over the world.

Sister Francisca del Espiritu Santo passed away on August 24, 1711, at the age 64. She was declared Venerable by Pope Francis on July 5, 2019.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Venerable Mother Rosario Arroyo—She gave away her wealth and spent her life serving the poor

Mother Maria Rosario of the Visitation      en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo was born on February 17, 1884, in Molo, which is located in the Philippines. She was the only daughter born to  Ignacio Arroyo and Dona Maria Podal; the Arroyos also had two sons. Three days after Maria’s birth she was baptized in St. Anna’s Church in Molo and officially named Maria Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo.

Maria’s family was well to do, and her parents were well known for the generous almsgiving. The Arroyo sons and daughter were taught the importance and virtue of giving of themselves at an early age. This virtuous sense of self-giving became part of who they were, especially Maria.

The young woman could have lived a life of luxury, but her upbringing had left her keenly aware of the misery and plight of the poor and downtrodden. Her compassion for others was genuine and intense. Maria was unspoiled by the quality and abundance of material things that were hers for the taking. She just wanted to share what she could with those less fortunate.

Maria attended school at the Colegio de St. Anna, which was a private school in Moto. She was transferred to Colegio de San Jose to prepare for her First Holy Communion.  This school was run by the Daughters of Charity, and she remained here until she finished her elementary education. From there, she began the initial steps toward religious life. She entered the Convent of St. Catalina in Manila and made her profession of vows on January 3, 1914.

Despite coming from affluence and having great wealth, Maria chose a life of poverty, devoting her life to the poor. She entered the Dominican Order and with the help of two other Dominican nuns, created the Dominican sisters of the Most Holy Rosary. The date was February 18, 1927. From that point forward, she was known as Mother Rosario Arroyo. (Most Filipinos refer to her as Madre Sayong).

The Congregation continued to grow and, after 32 years in existence, the First General Chapter was convened. Meeting from January 3-6, 1953, Mother Rosario was elected the First Superioress General of the Order.  She served for three and a half years before heart failure caused her passing on June 14, 1957.

Mother Rosario’s legacy has spread itself around the entire world. The order runs schools, colleges, retreat houses, and convents, not only in ten dioceses and archdioceses in the Philippines but also has a membership of over 250 serving people in the Mariana Islands, the Diocese of  Ngong in Kenya,  several cities in Italy, and in the United States in the Archdiocese of San Francisco  and the Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii. All toll, the nuns run 31 schools, two colleges, two retreat houses, a charitable institution, and a clinic. Another 40 or more sisters work in foreign missions.

Reports of miracles attributed to Mother Rosario have been credible enough that the cause for her canonization is underway. On July 28, 2009, the process was initiated by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, the Philippines.  Based on gathered evidence of miraculous cures that had occurred the official opening of Mother Rosario’s cause took place on October 7, 2009. The ceremonies were conducted at the parish church of St. Anne, in Molo, Mother Rosario’s birthplace.

Miracles that saved people from aneurysm, leukemia, and cancer were among the first documented. In 1983, a Manila woman, Angela Palma, who had been diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to live, prayed to Mother Rosario to be cured. The cancer was found to be gone, and in 2003 she was still alive without medical explanation for her survival.

Another reported miracle involves a woman with leukemia. In 2004, she was “miraculously cured” after prayers to Mother Rosario were invoked. A year later, she was found to be disease free without ever having had any blood transfusion or chemotherapy as described by doctors.

These are just two examples of purported miracles that have taken place because of Mother Rosario’s intercession. Further investigation will continue until not a shred of doubt as to their veracity can be found.

On June 11, 2019, Mother Rosario Arroyo (Maria Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo) was declared by Pope Francis to be a woman of “heroic virtue” and now bears the title; Venerable Rosario Arroyo. She is one step away from being beatified.

Venerable Rosario Arroyo; we ask for your prayers.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019