As the Universal Church celebrated the solemnity of Pentecost last June 6, the Province of St. Teresa of Jesus gratefully held its 75th anniversary of the Carmelite presence in the Philippines.
It all started in 1947, with the overflow of contemplation expressed in an ardent missionary zeal of 6 brave friars from the Washington Province. They labored in the most “forsaken parishes” of the prelature of Infanta. After some time, the apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, made an appeal to the Superior General of the Discalced Carmelite, Fr. Silverio de Santa Teresa, asking the Carmelite friars to make another foundation in the Philippines. It was made possible through the acceptance of the Anglo-Irish Province by sending 3 friars. These three Irish Carmelites started the foundation at the heart of the country, primarily working with the Carmelite nuns and the Secular Carmelites and were engaged in the retreat apostolates. These two groups of Carmelite missionaries tilled together the spiritual ground.
Their labor and sacrifice have become the focal point of the celebration. In Bacolod City, a Triduum Mass focusing on the importance of mission in the Church was held. It concluded with a procession honoring the saints of the Discalced Carmelite Order. In Manila and other houses, a video commemorating the American mission was made and played after the mass. The celebration culminated with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Junjun Agruda, OCD together with the friars from different houses, and a thanksgiving message given by the Provincial, Fr. Danilo Lim, OCD.
Today the Philippine Province is consist of forty-nine solemn professed friars, 17 student friars, 9 novices, and 8 postulants. Now, with gratitude and zeal, the Province continues the story started by the fruit of the prayer of our holy parents, St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, and its actualization by the American and Irish missionaries.