“This is the message of our Lady.”
This is a continuation of my column on the Lipa phenomenon of 1948. Part 1 was about the rebuilding of the Lipa Monastery which was destroyed by the Japanese and completely restored through the efforts of six Carmelite nuns out of donations and contributions. I also wrote about Teresa “Teresing” Castillo, who at the age of 16 entered the monastery, with her two brothers trying to force her out because she escaped from the family who refused to let her go.
Taking from the book written by Rene C. De Jesus, Teresing underwent a lot of torment from demonic sources who tried very hard to make her return home.
I also wrote about the rose petals that showered the convent, which made thousands of pilgrim Marian devotees, particularly devotees of the Lady Mediatrix of All Grace, visit regularly the phenomenon of Lipa. I was one of them when my Sodality Club of the Ateneo de Manila in 1958, composed of Ateneo college students who were also devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, undertook a pilgrimage to Lipa to see the miraculous shower of rose petals which had the imprint of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin. I saw the rose petals strewn all over the garden of the monastery. I tried, as did my companions, to get hold of the petals, but we were prohibited by the nuns.
The Lipa phenomenon created mass hysteria and encouraged daily pilgrimages to Lipa so much so that soon enough a commission was formed to investigate the phenomenon. The result of the investigation created much controversy that soon enough the Archbishop of Lipa Alfredo Versoza and his Auxiliary Bishop Alfredo Obviar were dismissed without any reason at all. Even the investigation of the phenomenon was haphazard and sloppy which created discontent among Marian devotees, parry those who venerate the Lady Mediatrix of All Grace. Even Teresing Castillo was dismissed as a postulate from the Carmelite monastery. She never married, but in her twilight years got Alzheimer’s Disease and it erased from her memory all that transpired in the monastery. If she were alive today, she would be as old as I am at almost 95 years.
The verdict of the commission was rather strange to have reached the unanimous decision and conclusion in such a hurry and hereby officially decreed that the admitted evidence and testimonies excluded any supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings – including the shower of petals on the Carmelite Monastery of Lipa.
No extraordinary happenings including the showers of rose petals with images of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary? Members of the commission must have been blind or so pressured by some people that they excluded extraordinary happenings? In any case, the end result of that commission verdict was the dismissal of the Archbishop and Auxiliary Archbishop of Lipa. Archbishop Alfredo Versoza and Auxiliary Archbishop Alfredo Obviar.
They lived in poverty after their dismissal. But they have since been introduced into sainthood.
The commission totally disregarded the many miracles attributed to the rose petals with the imprints of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. But, all these did not stop the veneration of the image of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace in that Carmelite convent and the many pilgrimages to Lipa, Batangas.
It is for this reason why my wife and I believe that an inquiry into the Lipa phenomenon should be made further and the truth be told. I believe that adage that for those who believe, no explanation is necessary, but for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.
As for me and my wife, we remain Marian devotees. We have gone twice on Marian pilgrimages to France, Portugal and Akita, Japan, and we believe. We saw the uncorrupted remains of Saint Catherine Laboure of the Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the remains of Saint Bernadette Soubirous of the Miracle of Lourdes, and in fact too a bath in the miraculous spring of Lourdes, the uncorrupted remains of Saint Margaret Mary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Paray-le-Monial; that gave the well known First Friday devotion. We also went to Fatima, Portugal.
Teresing, having seen the apparition of the Blessed Virgin, may well be called a visionary as all those who claimed to have had similar apparitions in the past are.
It is for all these reasons I believe there is a need for an investigation anew by the Cathoic Bishops Conference of the Philippines into the Lipa phenomenon. It is a coincidence that Cardinal Luis AntonioTagle is now in Rome to help the church take further inquiries of the Lipa phenomenon, in fairness to all concerned.
The message of the Lady Mediatrix of All Grace to Teresing was very clear !
Message of Our Lady of Lipa ( given to Teresita Castillo): “ Once again, I repeat to my beloved Philippines that I am the Mother of love and tenderness. I come here to save souls. I love the Filipinos because in all the countries throughout the world, you come to me when you suffer, and ask for my help. Most of you love me and have a great devotion to me, your Mother. You recognize me as the Mother of Jesus. You defend this truth openly without fear of being ridiculed by other sects who attack me greatly. So it is to you that I come to ask for prayers; do little sacrifices and receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist frequently. It is you that I ask to say the Family Rosary daily. I wish to remind you that the recitation of the rosary is not only a devotion which will bring you closer to my son, but it also serves as an occasion to offer the sacrifice of driving away distractions while saying it. The enemy of God is always there where my children pray to me. This country was created by God for something great.”
Archbishop Alfredo Versoza and Auxiliary Bishop Alfredo Obviar were staunch and unrelenting believers of the Lipa phenomenon and were consequently dismissed by the commission , but later were being pushed for sainthood.
Through the efforts of Archbishop Mariano Gaviola and Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, it is the prayer of the faithful that the 1948 phenomenon and events in Lipa be given due recognition by the Holy Father, the Pope.
In 2008, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, as the Archbishop of Lipa, decreed that the phenomenon of Lipa merit belief in its supernatural happenings and thus is worthy of devotion and veneration of the Lady Mediatrix of All Grace and the Carmel Monastery be opened to the faithful. Thus, the faithful continue pilgrimages to Lipa and the veneration of the Lady Mediatrix of All Grace.
By the way, I would like to correct my previous write-up. The Carmel Monastery was destroyed and completely in ruins by the Japanese, not by the Americans. The occupying Japanese forces went to Lipa and massacred 25,000 men, women and children. The Carmelite nuns sought shelter in a seminary. It thus took years of educated and committed work by six nuns to reconstruct the Carmel monastery through donations and contributions.
On 14 July 2014, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, had written the Philippine bishops that on October 17, 1949, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace told Teresita Castillo: “ Pray hard, for China’s dream is to invade the world. The Philippines is one of its favorites. Money is the evil force that will lead the people of the world to destruction.” How true, Santa Banana!
Cardinal Tagle is now in the Vatican occupying a very sensitive and important position. He can surely help the Lipa phenomenon be elevated to Rome and a commission be created again to have a new inquiry on the Lipa phenomenon, which had supernatural happenings and stories of devotion, faith, sacrifice and love. The title Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace means to say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the co-redemptrix of her son Jesus Christ. For those who believe, no explanation is necessary, but for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.