Tag Archives: Servant of God

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

Antonia Mesina—Martyred "In Defensum Castitatis" (In Defense of Purity) at the age of 15

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Pierina Morosini and Antonia Mesina were two women from Italy. Born a generation apart they led strikingly similar lives. Pierina was the oldest of eight children and had to work and help her mother with her younger siblings. Antonia was the second born of ten children and was also required to help her mother with the younger children.

Both young women were exemplary Catholics and were determined to live chaste lives.  Both were martyred “in defensum castitatis” (in defense of purity), Antonia in 1935 and Pierina in 1957. They were both  declared Blessed on October 4, 1987 by Pope St. John Paul II. Even though their stories are similar they are also separate and unique. As a writer, I felt they each deserved individual space. This is about Antonia. (Pierina’s story is in another article).

Antonia was born on June 21, 1919, in Orgosolo, a town high up in the mountains of Sardinia. She was the second of ten children. Her dad was a corporal in the cavalry who helped guard the town perimeter and her mom did her best to teach her children the Catholic faith. As was the custom at the time Antonia was baptized at the age of nine days and confirmed the following year.

Antonia was admired by her teachers and liked by all her classmates. She was kind and studied hard and was very respectful of others. When she was in fourth grade her mom developed a serious heart condition. The doctors ordered her to bed and Antonia was forced to leave school and take over her mother’s duties. The young girl had to do the cooking, the cleaning, the baking, the laundry and go to the market. Her mom called her ,”the flower of my life”. Antonia never complained and always seemed to manage a smile.

Every week Antonia had to bake the bread for the family. This was not a simple process. It included gathering the firewood and grinding the grain into flour. This was, indeed, making something from “scratch”. On May 17, 1935, Antonia asked her friend, Annedda, if she would go with her to help her gather wood from the forest. Annedda agreed and off they went.

As they walked along, Antonia, who had joined Catholic Action a few years earlier, was trying to convince Annedda, that she should join too. Antonia was very enthusiastic about the spiritual benefits received and about all the good works that Catholic Action brought to members. She told her how they even were taught catechism at their meetings.

When they had gathered up enough wood they began their return walk home. Annedda noticed a young man in the woods nearby. She recognized him from school and knew it was Ignazio. When she looked again he was gone. A few minutes later Antonia screamed. The young man had snuck up behind Antonia and wrestled her to the ground. He was determined to have his way with the 15 year-old but she fought him furiously.

Twice Antonia managed to break free while Annedda ran screaming through the woods for someone to help them. The third time Ignazio managed to subdue her. She was fighting against his advances so hard that he went into a rage. He grabbed a nearby rock and began beating Antonia in the head with it. Over and over he pounded the innocent teenager until she stopped moving. It was discovered later that he had hit her 74 times. It was also found that she had never been violated.

Ignazio tried to deny his involvement but Annedda was able to identify him. In addition, his bloody clothes, which he tried to hide, were found near his home. The 19 year-old was sentenced to death and executed by firing squad on August 5, 1937.

Antonia Mesina’s beatification process began under Pope John Paul I in September of 1978 and she was declared a “Servant of God”. She was declared Venerable Antonia Mesina in 1986 and Pope St. John Paul II declared she had died “in defensum castitatis’ in May of 1987. She and Pierina Morosini were beatified together, two young women who gave their lives for Jesus rather than submit to being forcibly assaulted.

Blessed Antonia Mesina and Blessed Pierina Morosini, please pray for us.