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Discalced Carmelite Nuns - Lipa Carmel 1940's

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graciandelamadrededios

The Community in Lipa Carmel during the Apparition:

 

2898881122_ab0d5b3c99.jpg

 

 

Photos of Mother Mary Cecilia, Bishop Obviar and Sister Teresita (the Visionary):

 

3957712525_950e4ec203_o.jpg

 

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios
 
I found a lovely photo of the community of Lipa Carmel during the early days of their foundation (the first photo) in Google.  The second photo shows Bishops Obviar; the smiling nun is Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus, the Prioress at that time (and I think she is first Filipina OCD Prioress).  Mother Mary Cecilia is the co-foundress of this Carmel since Mother Theresa of Jesus (a french nun) was the foundress.  Bishop Obviar was the auxiliary bishop and the nun’s chaplain.  The postulant on the second photo is the visionary, Sr. Teresita.  She left Carmel since she was unable to complete her canonical year as novice due to her stay in UST (The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas; one of the oldest university in Asia) when she and Mother Mary Cecilia were questioned regarding their alleged involvement in the shower of roses in Lipa Carmel in the early or late 1940s.  In a nutshell, the nuns were accused in fabricating stories and owning a big mechanical blower that scatters the petals in the sky.  This seem to be impossible since anything huge and mechanical that time would be very noisy and it is rather odd in the silent cloisters of Carmel.  It surely can be heard by anybody and during that time not every had electricity!  What the nuns have that time are gas lamps. 
 
An excerpt from the book “The Roots of Teresa’s Nuns in the Philippines volume 2 by Sr. Mary Teresa Sideco:
 
On February 27, 1950, Mo. Mary Cecilia was called to the parlour by a well-known priest who told her confidentially that something would happen that day, something Mother Mary Cecilia had no idea about whatsoever.  After the parlour visit, quietly, she went to inspect the construction of the still unfinished monastery. 
           
            Shortly after, there was a loud knock at the enclosure door.  On opening, there were Msgr. Rufino Santos with Msgr. Domingo Librea and two Carmelite nuns who were heavily veiled).  The community was summoned to the choir and Msgr. Santos announced: “you will have another prioress from now on.  Here is Mo. Mary of Christ; and Sr. Magdalene to be your (novice) mistress.”  Bishop Santos then ordered Mo. Mary Cecilia to pack up her things in 30 minutes: “And you Mo. Cecilia, I’m giving you half an hour to pack your things and no more, no more than that.”
 
            Neither Mo. Mary Cecilia nor the community knew where she would be taken.  Only later was it learned that Msgr. Librea had accompanied her to Jaro Carmel for the beginning of her “exile.”  Late, she was brought back to Manila by Fr. James P. Moran, S.J. to face the Church Tribunal.  Only God knows the intensity of the heartaches that she went through during those days.
 
            Mo. Mary Cecilia’s “exile” last 13 long hears.  After her brief stay in Jaro Carmel, she was brought back to Manila Carmel where she remained deprived of active and passive voice.
  
Mother Mary Cecilia was forbidden to participate in the community acts and has to sleep in the infirmary.  The infirmarian and Subprioress of Lipa Carmel, Mother Mary Anne was banished to Laoag Carmel.  She was suspected to have influenced the prioress since she has a strong character.
 
During that period, the church authorities pressured some bishops to denounce the apparition of Our Lady.  The church hierarchy in the Philippines imposed to all OCD Nuns in the Philippines strict silence where they are not to speak about the apparition again.  In order to reinforce obedience, they were told that if they talk about it among themselves, they will commit venial sin and if they talk about it to their relatives and friends outside, they will commit mortal sin and possible excommunication.  This directives causes crying spells among the nuns in Lipa Carmel and they feared hearing the parlour bell since they were also questioned by a Carmelite priest sent by the Generalate to investigate.  Further, the Lipa community was ordered to burn the petals, booklets, prayer cards, holy cards of the Mediatrix of all Grace and to destroy her image.  The Nuns can’t bear to do such thing so they hid the image. 
 
Several years later, another French nun, Mother Mary Clare (foundress of San Pablo Carmel), Prioress of Manila Carmel at that time wrote to Rome inquiring about the status of the exiled nuns.  Mother Mary Cecilia and Mother Mary Anne were eventually allowed to return and were reunited with nuns in Lipa Carmel. 
 
Later in Lipa Carmel, Mother Mary Cecilia was appointed Novice Mistress and was in charge of formation of young nuns, and she was loved and respected by all.  She never opened her mouth to criticize those who maligned her, she kept the ban that was ordered to her.  Bishop Escaler (who conducted the community retreat) lifted the ban of silence imposed to her and she was allowed to write her own memoirs about the event.  Mother Mary Cecilia knelt in front the the Prioress and asked permission to go (die) to hasten Our Lady's cause. She died in the early 1980's.  Sr. Teresita (Teresing Castillo) is still alive, never got married and she now works in a church.  
 
 
Some helpful explanation about the book:
 
  1. Msgr. Santos became the first Filipino Cardinal.
  2. Manila Carmel is where Mother Mary Cecilia made her noviciate and solemn vows.  Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus (choir nun) , Mother Mary Angelina of St. Teresa (choir nun; foundress of Angeles and Baguio Carmels) and Sister Alphonse of Mary (lay sister) were the original co- foundresses of Manila Carmel, the second Carmel in the Philippines.  Sr. Alphonse was wearing white veil of the lay sister (on the first photo, she is the lay sister with white veil seated-far left)
  3. Mother Mary of Christ and Sr. Magadalene were wearing the great or grate veils that covers their entire faces.  Before Vatican II, these veils were often used when Carmelite Nuns goes out of the enclosure for foundation purposes, during procession inside the enclosure but fearing that they may be seen by outsiders, when the choir grille is opened and the choir is lighted.  If the choir grille is opened, the Nuns normally dimmed the light inside the choir to avoid being seen. 
  4. Passive Voice is the right to be voted for while Active Voice is the right to vote.  St. Therese waived her passive and active voice since she had 3 more sisters with her in Lisieux Carmel.  St. Teresa of Jesus discouraged blood sisters and cousins in entering the same Carmel since it may influence the election of officers in a community, thereby, promoting nepotism.  Before Vatican II, the maximum members in each Carmel are 21 nuns and at least 3 are lay sisters.  Lay Sisters have neither active nor passive voice.
  5. In Carmel , Novice Mistress are not elected but appointed.  The Prioress has the sole right to appoint the mistress.  It is customary in Carmel that after the community election, the ex-officio prioress will be appointed as Novice Mistress but, if the elected Prioress feels that the nun is not suitable for the office she has to take the office herself and appoint one of the sisters to assist her.  This is exactly what happened to St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  After the re-election of Mother Marie de Gonzague as prioress, Mother Agnes of Jesus (Pauline) was not appointed as Novice Mistress.  Instead, Mother Gonzague combined the offices of Prioress and Novice Mistress into one.  But as per constitutions, she has the right to appoint a nun to help her with the work.  She appointed St. Therese as auxiliary novice mistress.  She assumed all the work of a fine Novice Mistress but she never got the title.  Mother Gonzague is the official novice mistress and St. Therese is her capable assistant.
  6. Prioresses are generally elected but during foundations, they are usually appointed by the Mother Prioress of the founding Carmel with the consent of the Bishop or the Bishop himself will appoint her.
  7. Mother Mary of Christ assumed the leadership as Prioress in Jaro Carmel (the first Carmel in the Philippines ) when Mother Theresa of Jesus went to Manila to found the first Carmel in Luzon island.  Both Mothers were French who helped the foundations of Vietnam ( Annam ) Carmels.  I do not know if Sr. Magdalene is a French or a Filipina nun.  Some of the French Nuns who came to help in the foundations of Philippine Carmels went back to France .

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios
Updated with Corrections:
 
I found the above photo of the community of Lipa Carmel during the early days of their foundation (the first photo) in Google.  The second photo shows Bishops Obviar; the smiling nun is Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus - the Prioress at that time (and I think she is first Filipina OCD Prioress).  Mother Mary Cecilia is the co-foundress of this Carmel since Mother Theresa of Jesus (a french nun) was the foundress.  Bishop Obviar was the auxiliary bishop and the nun’s chaplain.  The postulant on the second photo is the visionary, Sr. Teresita.  She left Carmel since she was unable to complete her canonical year as novice due to her stay in UST (The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas; one of the oldest university in Asia) when she and Mother Mary Cecilia were questioned regarding their alleged involvement in the shower of roses in Lipa Carmel in the early or late 1940s.  In a nutshell, the nuns were accused in fabricating stories and owning a big mechanical blower that scatters the petals in the sky.  This seem to be impossible since anything huge and mechanical that time would be very noisy and it is rather odd in the silent cloisters of Carmel.  It surely can be heard by anybody and during that time not every had electricity!  What the nuns have that time are gas lamps. 
 
An excerpt from the book “The Roots of Teresa’s Nuns in the Philippines volume 2 by Sr. Mary Teresa Sideco:
 
On February 27, 1950, Mo. Mary Cecilia was called to the parlour by a well-known priest who told her confidentially that something would happen that day, something Mother Mary Cecilia had no idea about whatsoever.  After the parlour visit, quietly, she went to inspect the construction of the still unfinished monastery. 
           
            Shortly after, there was a loud knock at the enclosure door.  On opening, there were Msgr. Rufino Santos with Msgr. Domingo Librea and two Carmelite nuns who were heavily veiled.  The community was summoned to the choir and Msgr. Santos announced: “you will have another prioress from now on.  Here is Mo. Mary of Christ; and Sr. Magdalene to be your (novice) mistress.”  Bishop Santos then ordered Mo. Mary Cecilia to pack up her things in 30 minutes: “And you Mo. Cecilia, I’m giving you half an hour to pack your things and no more, no more than that.”
 
            Neither Mo. Mary Cecilia nor the community knew where she would be taken.  Only later was it learned that Msgr. Librea had accompanied her to Jaro Carmel for the beginning of her “exile.”  Late, she was brought back to Manila by Fr. James P. Moran, S.J. to face the Church Tribunal.  Only God knows the intensity of the heartaches that she went through during those days.
 
            Mo. Mary Cecilia’s “exile” last 13 long years.  After her brief stay in Jaro Carmel, she was brought back to Manila Carmel where she remained deprived of active and passive voice.
  
Mother Mary Cecilia was forbidden to participate in the community acts and has to sleep in the infirmary.  The infirmarian and Subprioress of Lipa Carmel, Mother Mary Anne of Jesus was banished to Laoag Carmel.  She was suspected to have influenced the prioress since she has a strong character.
 
During that period, the church authorities pressured some bishops to denounce the apparition of Our Lady.  The church hierarchy in the Philippines imposed to all OCD Nuns in the Philippines strict silence where they are not to speak about the apparition again.  In order to reinforce obedience, they were told that if they talk about it among themselves, they will commit venial sin and if they talk about it to their relatives and friends outside, they will commit mortal sin and possible excommunication.  This directives causes crying spells among the nuns in Lipa Carmel and they feared hearing the parlour bell since they were also questioned by a Carmelite priest sent by the Generalate to investigate.  Further, the Lipa community was ordered to burn the petals, booklets, prayer cards, holy cards of the Mediatrix of all Grace and to destroy her image.  The Nuns can’t bear to do such thing so they hid the image. 
 
Several years later, another French nun, Mother Mary Clare (a French Nun and foundress of San Pablo Carmel), Prioress of Manila Carmel at that time wrote to Rome inquiring about the status of the exiled nuns.  Mother Mary Cecilia and Mother Mary Anne were eventually allowed to return and were reunited with nuns in Lipa Carmel in 1963. 
 
Later in Lipa Carmel, Mother Mary Cecilia was appointed Novice Mistress and was in charge of formation of young nuns, and she was loved and respected by all.  She never opened her mouth to criticize those who maligned her, she kept the ban that was ordered to her.  Bishop Escaler (who conducted the community retreat) lifted the ban of silence imposed to her and she was allowed to write her own memoirs about the event.  Mother Mary Cecilia knelt in front the the Prioress and asked permission to go (die) to hasten Our Lady's cause. She died in the early 1980's.  Sr. Teresita (Teresing Castillo) is still alive, never got married and she now works in a church.  
 
 
Some helpful explanation about the book:
 
  1. Msgr. Santos became the first Filipino Cardinal.
  2. Manila Carmel is where Mother Mary Cecilia made her noviciate and solemn vows.  Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus (choir nun) , Mother Mary Angelina of St. Teresa (choir nun; foundress of Angeles and Baguio Carmels) and Sister Alphonse of Mary (lay sister) were the original co- foundresses of Manila Carmel, the second Carmel in the Philippines.  Sr. Alphonse was wearing white veil of the lay sister (on the first photo, she is the lay sister with white veil seated-far left)
  3. Mother Mary of Christ and Sr. Magadalene were wearing the great or grate veils that covers their entire faces.  Before Vatican II, these veils were often used when Carmelite Nuns goes out of the enclosure for foundation purposes, during procession inside the enclosure but fearing that they may be seen by outsiders, when the choir grille is opened and the choir is lighted.  If the choir grille is opened, the Nuns normally dimmed the light inside the choir to avoid being seen. 
  4. Passive Voice is the right to be voted for while Active Voice is the right to vote.  St. Therese waived her passive and active voice since she had 3 more sisters with her in Lisieux Carmel.  St. Teresa of Jesus discouraged blood sisters and cousins in entering the same Carmel since it may influence the election of officers in a community, thereby, promoting nepotism.  Before Vatican II, the maximum members in each Carmel are 21 nuns and at least 3 are lay sisters.  Lay Sisters have neither active nor passive voice.
  5. In Carmel , Novice Mistress are not elected but appointed.  The Prioress has the sole right to appoint the mistress.  It is customary in Carmel that after the community election, the ex-officio prioress will be appointed as Novice Mistress but, if the elected Prioress feels that the nun is not suitable for the office she has to take the office herself and appoint one of the sisters to assist her.  This is exactly what happened to St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  After the re-election of Mother Marie de Gonzague as prioress, Mother Agnes of Jesus (Pauline) was not appointed as Novice Mistress.  Instead, Mother Gonzague combined the offices of Prioress and Novice Mistress into one.  But as per constitutions, she has the right to appoint a nun to help her with the work.  She appointed St. Therese as auxiliary novice mistress.  She assumed all the work of a fine Novice Mistress but she never got the title.  Mother Gonzague is the official novice mistress and St. Therese is her capable assistant.
  6. Prioresses are generally elected but during foundations, they are usually appointed by the Mother Prioress of the founding Carmel with the consent of the Bishop or the Bishop himself will appoint her.
  7. Mother Mary of Christ assumed the leadership as Prioress in Jaro Carmel (the first Carmel in the Philippines ) when Mother Theresa of Jesus went to Manila to found the first Carmel in Luzon island.  Both Mothers were French who helped the foundations of Vietnam ( Annam ) Carmels.  I do not know if Sr. Magdalene is a French or a Filipina nun.  Some of the French Nuns who came to help in the foundations of Philippine Carmels went back to France .

 

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios

I found this photo in flicker;  Mother Bernadette's birth in Heaven!  Mother is a former Prioress of Lipa Carmel

 

 

5138507959_3534660a8d.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by graciandelamadrededios

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nikita92
Thank you for the history lesson! Very interesting indeed! Sounds like that community went thru very difficult and stressful times! I wonder why the church mucky muks felt the need to suppress those poor nuns!!! I think that community is long over due for a formal apology!! Just because the church officials chose to disbelieve them, doesn't mean it never happened the way they truly experienced it!! Question- does the Church hierarchy of the Philippines not answer to the Vatican in Rome? I apologize for my ignorance in advance!

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graciandelamadrededios

Hi Nikita,

 

The Church Hierarchy in the Philippines are answerable to Vatican.  But according to some sources, Egidio Vagnozzi controlled the investigation and the Bishops signed the decree under duress.

 

 

The following are taken from the book “Lipa” by June Keithley published in 1992:

 

The Verdict

 

We, the undersigned Archbishops and Bishops, constituting for the purpose of a special Commission, having attentively examined and reviewed the evidence and testimonies collected in the course of repeated, long and careful investigations, have reached the unanimous conclusion and hereby officially declare that the above mentioned evidence and testemonies exclude any supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings – including shower of petals – at the Carmel of Lipa.

 

Manila, April 11, 1951

 

 

(Signed) Gabriel M. Reyes                                     (Signed) Cesar M. Guerrero

Archbishop of Manila                                             Bishop of San Fernando

 

 

(Signed) Mariano Madriaga                                  (Signed) Juan Sison

Bishop of Lingayen                                                 Auxilliary Bishop of Nueva Segovia

 

 

(Signed) Rufino Santos                                          (Signed) Vicente Reyes

Apostolic Administrator of Lip                             Auxilliary Bishop of Manila

 

 

Manila, April 11, 1951

Condordat cum originali

(Signed) Egidio Vagnozzi

Apostolic Nuncio

 

 

 

===========================================================

 

 

 

Diocese of Lipa

Lipa City, Philippines

 

 

Decree

 

Having been declared by the Special Commission composed of several members of the Philippine Hierarchy that, after long, repeated and careful investigations, the evidences and testimonies on the matter exclude any supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings – including the shower of petals – at the Carmel of Lipa, I, the undersigned Apostolic Administrator of Lipa Diocese, in keeping with the Decree-Statement of the said Episcopal Commission, BY THE PRESENT LETTERS dispose and order:

 

1) No petals nor water should be given out to anyone;

 

2) The statue of Our Lady (actually in the church) should be retired from public Veneration;

 

3) All out-sisters must be admitted within the enclosure for the time being, excepting Sr. Elizabeth, who shall remain outside to attend to the needs of the Community; and finally

 

4) All visits are suspended temporarily, no letters will be allowed, until final decision on the matter will come from the Holy See.

 

City of Lipa, April 12, 1951

 

Signed:

Rufino J. Santos, D.D.

Apostolic Administrator

Sede Vacante

 

 

 

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Chiquitunga

Praised be Jesus Christ! In 2009 the current Archbishop lifted the ban on these apparitions and an investigation is under way, http://www.motherofallpeoples.com/2009/11/our-lady-of-lipa-mediatrix-of-all-grace/  If you search Lipa on that site you'll find a bunch of other articles on this too, by Dr. Miravalle.

 

He did a whole videos series on this too which is on youtube. I remember watching these a while back and noticing that he mentioned the nuns' went totally barefoot, and I thought he was wrong. But then as you mentioned in another thread Gracian, the nuns in Lipa actually did go barefoot for a time. This is the first time I've heard of this in a Discalced Carmelite Monastery. Makes sense with the kind of heat they have! :sweat:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N52MZzT5I9s

 

 

I also thought this video was a good summary of the story

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrf3YHn71uE

 

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Chiquitunga

p.s. actually, watching a bit of Dr. Miravalle's video again, I see the second video here misses a whole lot of the message (like praying for priests, etc.) and the events that allegedly, we have to say of course (whatever Holy Mother Church's final ruling) took place. 

 

Also, regarding her eating grass, that may seem strange, but remember Our Lady asked this of St. Bernadette too and to drink muddy water. Also about drinking the water she used to wash the Prioress' feet, remember how St. Catherine of Siena drank the water she had used to wash a woman's cancerous sore, out of humility and to overcome a temptation. Anyway, so some examples of this strange and humiliating behavior from the saints :saint:

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graciandelamadrededios

Did Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, Appear in Lipa?

(In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France, the 22nd Mariological Congress was held in Lourdes last September 2008.  Archbishop Ramón C. Argüelles of Lipa was one of the speakers. This condensed version of his talk appeared in the January-March 2008 issue of the Totus Tuus Maria magazine.)

It was during the episcopate of Bishop Alfredo Versoza (1916-1950), the first Filipino bishop of Lipa and his auxiliary bishop, the then Msgr. Alfredo Obviar, the so-called Marian Apparitions in the Monastery of Carmel in Lipa (founded 1946) took place.

Teresita Castillo celebrated her 21st birthday on July 4, 1948 by “escaping” early in the morning at five from her father’s house to enter the Carmelite Monastery of Lipa. She is the youngest of seven children of former Batangas Governor Modesto Castillo. At the time of the apparitions, Teresita’s father was the Judge of the Court of Industrial Relations. The Castillos were very influential and distinguished both in the town of Tanauan and the whole Batangas province.

Teresita’s entrance into the monastery was not well received initially by the family, who tried all means to get her back. Teresita steadfastly refused to return home, preferring to follow God’s call. The trials of Teresing did not escape the devil’s interest. Satan tried to draw her away from her chosen vocation. On the 31st of July, at fifteen past eight in the evening, moment of great silence as observed by the Carmelite community, Teresita was startled by knockings at her door. A male voice introduced himself as satan, while emitting foul odor in her cell. The postulant would be subjected to such infernal visits several times in the next days and weeks.

At around five in the afternoon of September 12, 1948, Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, postulant Teresing Castillo saw the vine in the garden shake though there was no wind at all. A woman’s voice was heard to say: “Fear not my child. Kiss the ground. Whatever I tell you to do, you must do. For fifteen consecutive days, come to visit me here in this spot. Eat some grass, my child.”

The next day, September 13, Monday, again at five in the afternoon, the postulant returned to the place, knelt down and intended to say the Hail Mary. She has only recited until the phrase “Full of Grace” when again the vine moved. A beautiful Lady appeared, her hands clasped on her breast, a golden rosary hanging in her right hand, slightly stooping, her dress was simple and pure white held in the waist by a narrow cloth belt. Her feet were bare and resting on clouds about two feet above ground. Her face, indescribably beautiful, was radiant.

On September 14, Tuesday, the first shower of rose petals took place. Some nuns, awakening early in the morning, found fresh rose-petals of exceptional sweetness, strewn around their rooms or outside their quiet doors. Again at five in the afternoon, the Lady as if enfolding the postulant in a tender maternal embrace said “I wish this place to be blessed tomorrow”. ‘At what time Mother?’ asked Teresing. “Anytime your Mother prioress wants, my child. I forbid you to forget the incidents of these fifteen days”, the Lady said. Then she disappeared.

Meantime, Mother Prioress decided to consult His Excellency, the Most Reverend Alfredo Obviar, auxiliary bishop of Lipa and spiritual director of Carmel, on what to do with the alleged apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The bishop instructed Mother Prioress to tell Postulant Teresing to demand from the Blessed Virgin some proof that the apparition was from heaven.

Days after the first shower of petals, total blindness afflicted the postulant. Mother Prioress heard a voice telling her that the only way Teresing’s blindness would be healed was for her to kiss the eyes of the postulant. Mother asked the bishop to be present at a face off with Teresing. So one day in the presence of Bishop Obviar, the Mother Prioress lifted the veil of Postulant Teresing and imparted a kiss in her eyes. Instantly the girl recovered her sight. Her blindness was cured. Bishop Obviar doubted no more that the apparitions were heavenly.

Here are some of the messages of the Lady to Teresing:

"I want a statue of mine to be placed here. I want you to describe me to your chaplain because I want it to be as you see me, and as big as the statue of Lourdes that is in the cloister. Tell Mother Prioress to have the rosary recited by the community here every afternoon during these days. Clean this part of the garden so that it will be a real place of prayer."

On September 26, Sunday, the last (15th) day of the apparitions, the Lady said: “My child, you must love and obey your mother. Tell the sisters to love and obey their superiors and not to forget the things I ask. I shall not ask bigger things from you as you expect, because you are my little ones. Do not forget to consecrate yourselves to me on October 7.  Be very good, I am Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace. I shall always bless the community morning and evening.” Departing for the last time, the Blessed Virgin identified Herself as: “Mediatrix of All Grace.”

The Lipa phenomenon is often and principally associated with the shower of rose-petals. Such took place also on September 30, the fifty-first anniversary of the death of St’ Therese of the Child Jesus. Rose-petals were strewn in the cells of the monastery.  Likewise on October 3, feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. During those times, the shower of rose-petals fell on the staircase. Most showers took place within the cloister. Later however they also fell outside the monastery at the sight of many visitors. On November 11, Mrs. Aurora Quezon, the wife of the late President of the Commonwealth, and her party witnessed such shower of roses at the monastery grounds. Bishop Alfredo Obviar himself stated that petals fell on his feet as he went out of the door of the nunnery:

“I was inside the parlor of the Carmelite monastery.  The windows and doors were closed. When I was about to step out of the door, outside, several rose-petals fell on my feet, to my great surprise. I picked up some of them.”

The then Supreme Court Chief Justice Manuel Moran fervently remarked:

“The miracle of the shower of rose-petals at the Carmelites’ convent in Lipa City is not the work of man but of God. There can be no doubt about it. If I am not absolutely convinced, I would not waste my time coming to this place.”

Most petals bore images of Jesus or Mary or St. Joseph or one of the saints, most particularly, St. Therese of the Child Jesus.

The 1948 apparitions in Lipa highlighted the Blessed Virgin’s plea for humility, penance, prayers for priests and for the Holy Father. As in Lourdes and Fatima the Blessed Mother insisted on the need to pray the Rosary. Our Lady complained about the people losing faith. Teresita added that there was a secret for herself, another for the Carmelite convent in Lipa City and one for China.

 

The Negative Church Verdict

The veneration of Our Lady Mediatrix of all Grace was permitted by Bishop Verzosa. However on April 11, 1951 the Philippine church hierarchy issued ‘The Verdict’ in a document which read:

“We, the undersigned Archbishops and bishops, constituting for the purpose a special commission, having attentively examined and reviewed the evidence and testimonies collected in the course of repeated, long and careful investigations, have reached the unanimous conclusion and hereby officially declare the above-mentioned evidence and testimonies exclude any supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings –including the showers of petals– at the Carmel of Lipa.”

The signatories were: Archbishop Gabriel Reyes of Manila, Bishop Cesar M. Guerrero of San Fernando, Bishop Mariano Madriaga of Lingayen, Bishop Rufino Santos, Administrator of Lipa, Bishop Vicente Reyes Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, and Bishop Juan Sison, Auxiliary Bishop of Nueva Segovia. The document was also signed ‘concordat cum originali’ by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi.

Bishop Rufino Santos, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Lipa, followed up such declaration with a decree that went this way:

Having been declared by the Special Commission composed of several members of the Philippine Hierarchy that, after long, repeated and careful investigations, the evidences and testimonies on the matter exclude any supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings –including the shower of petals—at the Carmel of Lipa, I, the undersigned Apostolic Administrator of Lipa Diocese, in keeping with the Decree-Statement of the said Episcopal Commission, BY THESE PRESENT LETTERS dispose and order:

1) No petals nor water should be given out to anyone;

2) The statue of Our Lady (actually in the church) should be retired from public veneration;

3) All out-sisters must be admitted within the enclosure for the time being, excepting Sr. Elizabeth, who shall remain outside to attend to the needs of the Community; and finally

4) All visits are suspended temporarily, no letters will be allowed, until final decision on the matter will come from The Holy See.

The decree was issued at the City of Lipa on April 12, 1951.

 

The Tragic Aftermath

Bishop Verzosa was forced to resign and sent back to his hometown in Vigan, Ilocos Sur in Northern Philippines. The Auxiliary Bishop, Most Reverend Alfredo Obviar was moved to Lucena, a newly erected diocese, where he served as a mere apostolic administrator for the next twenty-two years. In 1974 he was finally given full episcopal powers as the resident bishop of Lucena Diocese. On October 1, 1979, Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the bishop died a holy death, having declared earlier: “They can oblige me to keep silent; but they can never compel me to say it was not true.”

In recent years more and more people go on Pilgrimage to his tomb in the Mother House of the Sisters’ Congregation he founded in 1958, the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese. Numerous reports of miracles are ascribed to this so-termed ‘saint of Holy Obedience’. Bishop Obviar’s cause for beatification has been introduced and is progressing well.

On the other hand, the memory of Bishop Alfredo Versoza, buried in the Cathedral of Vigan and overlooked for four decades, is now the object of research. He too has been invoked for favors miraculously granted. His cause for possible beatification is being considered.

Mother Prioress and the other perpetually professed sisters, notably Sister Mary of St. Joseph, the sub-prioress, and Sr. Mary Anne, the infirmarian, were purposely separated and dispersed to other Carmels. They suffered and died also in the odor of sanctity.

Meanwhile all materials connected with the apparitions were ordered destroyed. Teresita’s diary, as well as that of Mother Prioress, were burned. The statue was also destined for ruin, but the nuns quietly kept it away, saving it from oblivion. The convent was sealed, and the nuns could talk to no one outside of the convent. These events confirm the Blessed Mother’s warning that there would be persecution.

Teresita was subjected to investigation by the ‘commission’. As far as she was concerned the investigating commission consisted only of Bishop Rufino Santos, Bishop Cesar Guerrero, Fr. Blas, OP, and another Dominican priest. Cardinal Santos was always kind to her but would get her any unholy hour and brought to Manila for investigation often times with little time to prepare. Finally, Ma Mére, the French prioress made to replace Mother Mary Cecilia of Jesus, tearfully advised Teresita to leave the convent on her own volition so that she could later be readmitted when she would be ready. She could not be admitted for profession because she failed to stay a full year in the novitiate. This was however due to her being often brought hastily to Manila for inquiry. If she chose to remain, the prioress will be forced to send her out depriving her of the possibility to reapply. She returned then to her parents. But, later, each time she would ask to return to the cloister, she would be required to have a medical clearance due to her health. Her health admittedly has never been satisfactory due to the traumatic experiences she endured during interrogations. At one point, because she refused to sign a declaration stating that the apparitions were a hoax, a priest-investigator threw the ash tray at her, fortunately missing her. No medical clearance was ever granted her. The story of the apparitions was buried for 40 years, though the faithful believed in silence and persisted in praying to the Mediatrix of All Grace.

 

Years After

Almost forty years after, on February 11, 1990, Reverend Father Lorenzo Maria Guerrero, SJ, nephew of Bishop Cesar Guerrero of San Fernando, executed an affidavit asserting:

“that while my uncle, Bishop Cesar Gerrero, was still alive, I heard from his lips that he signed the above Official Statement under duress,: and “that the said Bishop had expressed his personal belief in the fact of the apparitions of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace in the Carmelite Convent of Lipa during the year of 1948.”

The late Bishop Godofredo Pedernal, who worked with Bishop Obviar for twenty-five years as Vicar General and Episcopal vicar, testified that, while accompanying Bishop Obviar in the sixties to console his dying friends, Bishop Guerrero, Archbishop Cuenco and Archbishop Sison, he heard Bishop Obviar ask: “Why did you sign that declaration about the foolishness of the Lipa Carmel Sisters?” The three bishops would silently show their own rose petals and replied: “We were forced to sign.”

Sometime in February 1990 a strange new phenomenon was reported in the Granja District of Lipa City. A white glowing outline of a female in prayer began allegedly to appear nightly on one of the leaves of a tall coconut tree. It was visible only in the evenings. Then on May 21, 1990, Sr. Alphonse pleaded on her deathbed that the Mediatrix statue be exposed again in the chapel at the Carmelite convent. Her request was granted the very next day. She died on that day. For the first time the statue was displayed after 40 years! On January 24, 1991, rose petals began to fall straight from the sky again at the Carmelite convent in Lipa City. A few days later, six children playing in the front garden of the monastery saw the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the monastery grounds come to life and shed tears.

Archbishop Mariano Gaviola granted the permission to display again the image of the Mediatrix of All Grace. The year after, he declared his personal conviction that the Lipa apparitions were worthy of belief. Miracles of physical and spiritual healing took place. Once more again there were reports of showers of rose-petals. Stories of marvelous happenings, as in the late forties, pile up. The faithful never really ceased visiting Carmel in spite of the 1951 decree. The number of pilgrims however swelled since the revival in the early nineties.

Archbishop Gaviola created a new commission headed by then auxiliary bishop now emeritus, Most Reverend Salvador Quizon and largely documentarily accomplished by Justice Hariet Demetriou. Documents from then surviving persons who experienced the events in the late forties as well as new evidences of wonders grew rapidly. Unfortunately, Archbishop Gaviola retired. Was he overwhelmed by sufferings due to what he did for the Blessed Virgin Mary? His successor did not do anything about the said phenomenon except asserting that the authorities of the early fifties could not have been less competent in their investigation than those fifty years after. That means that any recent investigations can never convincingly correct the conclusions done decades ago. The Gaviola commission ceased its inquiry.

 

Did Mary really appear in Lipa?

From the very start I, the Archbishop of Lipa since July 1994, had never put into doubt the truth of the so-called Marian happenings in Lipa. As a child I was brought there together with my other siblings by my parents. I have frequented the place since then. As a young seminarian, then priest and bishop, I would come to Lipa Carmel to willingly and trustingly entrust to Mary, my concerns, my whole life and all my activities, ignoring the controversies which had enveloped the events from the outset and which lingered thereafter. I have not personally met, nor known nor bothered about Teresing Castillo until years later as a newly ordained bishop.

The controversies surrounding the Lipa apparitions did not at all worry me as a young bishop. I could not fail to notice, in the meantime, how the events in Lipa have taken a new turn since I was a child. Lipa has gained the reputation of being Mary’s privileged place. In fact people from all over do not hesitate to consider it as the Marian capital of the Philippines.

Things became more complicated for me upon my appointment as LipaArchbishop in 1994. I realized I have become part of the controversy. The intricacies of the past that overflow into the present have upset me for the last more than four years. People expect much from me who am reputed to be a profoundly Marian bishop. Some even sort of pressure me to declare the authenticity of the Marian apparitions, so that when asked if I will now give official approval to the Lipa phenomenon, my getaway response is: “Archbishop Ramón Argüelles has long approved it; the present Lipa Archbishop however has not.” Time and again I feel at fault for seemingly dodging the issue. Fellow Marians would prick my conscience by saying: “It is the Blessed Mother Who wants you in Lipa. And for a purpose.” An easy way for me to steer clear of arguments is to state that regardless of the truth or non-truth of the 1948 events, the Mediatrix of All Grace remains a mystery tied up with and to a certain extent advanced by Lipa. Yet deep inside I sense that more is demanded of me.

Pilgrimage to Lipa never ceased. Every 12th of the month people will congregate at the Cathedral and make a penitential procession to the Carmelite Monastery of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, at three in the afternoon. Likewise on first Saturdays increasing crowds join the five o’clock dawn procession from the Cathedral to the monastery ending with the six o’clock morning mass. I often join the procession and preside the Mass. Moreover for the five consecutive years, September 12, the so-called first apparition day, has been declared by government as a National Day of Prayer and Reconciliation. The consecration of the entire nation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary during the afternoon Eucharist is the key point of the annual Pilgrimage to, what forty years ago Bishop Versoza called, Our Lady of Lipa.

The research silently goes on. More and more testimonies need yet to be examined to determine whether the events deserve to be believed in as they are already believed in by many. What more interesting testimony can be had than that coming from the supposed visionary. Sister Teresing is allowed by God to live long. She is already eighty-one. Those who love the Blessed Mother can reflect on her story with her. It is up to the reader or listener to judge whether Sister Teresing is credible or not, if her experience is subjective and if it deserves to be conveyed to numerous souls.  But it is my opinion that we have to thank Sister Teresing for telling us the story of Mary in Lipa and for suffering with Bishop Versoza, Bishop Obviar and the other professed nuns of that time.

There is in fact some kind of parallelism in the statements of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes and in Lipa. Teresing was told by the Virgin: “For fifteen consecutive days, come to visit me here in this spot”. Bernadette on the other hand was told: “Will you do me the favor of coming here for fifteen days?” The Virgin revealed to Teresing: “My daughter, sufferings and trials will be with you until the end of your life”. To Bernadette: “I do not promise you happiness in this world, but in the next!” Again to Teresing: “My child, kiss the ground and eat a little grass.” To Bernadette: “Go on your knees, kiss the ground in penance for sinners” To Teresing: “I wish this place to be blessed tomorrow.” To Bernadette: “Go, tell the priests that I want that a Chapel be built here!” To Teresing: “I am Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace” To Bernadette: “Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou.”

Can the documents issued in April 1951 be considered a genuine document expressing the definitive stand of the official Church of that time regarding the Lipa apparitions? First, it cannot be considered a final document from the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines since only an Archbishop (Gabriel Reyes of Manila), a resident bishop (Cesar Guerrero of San Fernando), an apostolic administrator of the place at issue (Rufino Santos) and three other auxiliary bishops (Sison of Nueva Caceres, Madriaga of Dagupan and Reyes of Manila) signed the document ‘as Archbishops and bishops, constituting for the purpose a special commission’. Second, vis-à-vis the fervor of the many ordinary faithful, there is yet the so-called claim of many of the bishops that they believe in the miracles while those who signed claimed that they were under duress.  Third, except for the above-mentioned documents, no record can be shown either by the Carmelite Generalate in Rome nor by the Nunciature as well as the Vatican archives themselves. Of course it is possible that the records of the fifties are not made available by Rome nor by the Nunciature for some reasons only they know. But for the sake of the Truth, and for the good of the faithful, such questions must be answered. Finally, as noted by the late Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, no document from Rome has, as of now, been issued us mentioned in the decree of then Apostolic Administrator Bishop Rufino Santos.

 

Did she really appear in Lipa?

Did Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace appear in Lipa? I as simply, Ramón C. Argüelles, will readily say, like many others in the Philippines and elsewhere (in fact I will never ever regret saying this: “Yes, Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, did appear in Lipa.” It is not only in the fifties that most of the bisops believed in the Lipa Apparitions. Today, many bishops, surely led also by the simple faith of many faithful, believe that the Lipa events were not invented. God and Mary surely favored our land, especially the province of Batangas.

As Archbishop of Lipa, however, due to the unfortunate and confusing historical circumstances that may not be ignored, obviously I vacillate in making a clear-cut pronouncement. Certainly I am privately and silently doing, and I know I must officially initiate, a new inquiry. But no doubt, whatever be the outcome of any serious and thorough research the Archdiocese of Lipa, the City of Lipa or the whole Batangas Province will not become less a specially celebrated place where Mary is intensely honored, loved and sought.  A final Church statement may be most desirable by a good number of devotees. But the majority of the faithful will not at all be affected by whatever position the official Church will take. They will go on believing that Mary is powerfully present to her people in this place.

Personally and officially it is my earnest prayer and wish that Mary had truly appeared before and will still reveal herself in Lipa, and even everywhere, to tell the whole world that She is indeed Mediatrix of All Grace. Her call to prayer, penance, return to her Son Jesus, to humility, simplicity and fidelity to God is even more pressing in today’s world. Lipa is a blessed and marvelous site to hear and heed this maternal plea.

 

taken from:

http://www.marymediatrixofallgrace.info/

 

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graciandelamadrededios
Our Lady of Lipa: Latest Decree

Last November 12, 2009, Archbishop Arguelles made his first, major official act concerning the alleged apparitions of Our Lady of Lipa by issuing an official decree. In this official decree, Archbishop Arguelles reinforced former Lipa Archbishop Mariano Gaviola’s 1991 ruling that lifted the ban on the public veneration of the Lipa image in the Carmelite chapel. Archbishop Arguelles ordered that “all bans written or unwritten to curtail or diminish the devotion to Mary Mediatrix of All Grace be lifted”. Equally important, he formed a theological commission to conduct a thorough study and review of all documents on the alleged apparitions, perhaps preparatory to a possible imminent new ruling on the apparitions. Below is the full text of the decree:

 

Whereas, on April 12, 1951 the then Apostolic Administrator of Lipa, Rufino J. Santos D.D., issued a decree banning public veneration of the image of Our Lady Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace;

 

Whereas, while the Carmelite nuns and some others, most especially the Lipa clergy, obediently observed the ban, with the majority of faithful silently and perseveringly continued their devotion towards the Mediatrix of All Grace;

Whereas, on July 16, 1991 after 40 years of silence the Most Rev. Mariano G. Gaviola in effect lifted the ban and allowed the veneration of the Image of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace for world peace;

Whereas, the fervor of numerous faithful from within and outside the Archdiocese of Lipa persevered and even increased all the more through the years while numerous miracles of physical and spiritual healing have been ceaselessly reported;

Whereas, increasing number of pilgrims heed the call of the Blessed Mother Mediatrix of All Grace by visiting the monastery, making penitential processions, offering daily prayers and Masses especially on first Saturdays and twelfth day of the month;

Whereas, the faithful seek the official guidance and assistance from the Church in deeper faith;

Whereas, the local Church of Lipa which will celebrate its centenary from April 10, 2010 to April10, 2011 looks forward to a renewal of faith and the increased missionary fervor with the help of Mary, the Star of Third Millennium Evangelization;

Whereas for the last one hundred years, regardless of the authenticity or non-authenticity of the Marian apparitions in the Carmel of Lipa, (it) is the most celebrated event recorded of this local Church;

Therefore, I, the undersigned Archbishop of Lipa, declare and publicly announce:

 

  1. That pursuant to the Instructions and conditions issued by my predecessor, the late Archbishop Mariano G. Gaviola, the decree of 1951 is hereby reversed;
  2. That the public veneration of the image of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace in the Carmelite Monastery of Lipa be continued and made available for the prayer of the pilgrims for true peace in our nation and the sanctification of the clergy;
  3. That the contemplative and prayerful atmosphere of the Carmelite monastery as willed by the reforms of St. Teresa of Avila be properly maintained for the edification and spiritual growth of the pilgrims who join the prayers of the contemplatives of the said place;
  4. That all bans written or unwritten intended to curtail or diminish the devotion to Mary Mediatrix of All Grace be lifted;
  5. Finally, that a new commission be formed to review the documents on the alleged apparitions of 1948 as well as to be able to compile additional documents from the period up to the present.

 

Given this 12th day of November in the year of Our Lord two thousand and nine.

 

 

Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, D.D. Archbishop of Lipa

 

http://www.all-about-the-virgin-mary.com/our-lady-of-lipa-decree.html

 

 

Note:

 

Archbishop Mariano Gaviola was the first to lift the ban and after he retired, the Archbishop that followed him, Cardinal Rosales did not do anything about the cause.  Upon Archbishop Arguelles' appointment, he resumed the cause.

 

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios

The TV Program which is the basis of the book "Lipa" by June Keithley:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN2Xh00TSWI

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZl9NxsH4vU

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CyEkXZMtWk

 

A very interesting video which shows the photo of the one of the co-foundress of Philippine Carmels - Mother Mary of Christ and other Filipina Prioresses in Lipa.

 

It also shows the photo of the first Filipina Carmelite Nun - Sr. Mary of the Incarnation (Tayamora) - a lay sister.

Edited by graciandelamadrededios

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