The Brown Scapular and the AR Sisters: A Story of Fate and Faith

AR Sisters with Prior General

During his brief lecture on the history of the Carmelite devotion among the Augustinian Recollect friars in the Philippines at the Quirino Grandstand last May 4, historian Fr. Emil Quilatan, OAR mentioned in passing an interesting figure: Felipe Sonson.

Sonson, a native of Macabebe, Pampanga, would have gone down in history as another obscure missionary companion of Fr. Diego Luis de San Vitores, SJ (1611–1684) and the Visayan catechist Pedro Calungsod had it not been for the Brown Scapular.

A Filipino Jesuit brother, Sonson suffered the tragic fate of not dying a martyr’s death — at least a kind of martyrdom written in the Church canons, though he was likewise mortally wounded by the same angry Chamorros of Guam.

A reason for this could be that he was still alive when he was being transported by his surviving companions aboard a Galleon heading back to the Philippines. However, he died along the way, and that was where his tragedy primarily lies.

But God, who sees everything and rewards everyone for his obscure sacrifices, seemed to favor him — clearly through the intercession of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel — with a little pat on the back with what happened next.

As his Jesuit brothers were preparing his body, they found underneath his Jesuit habit the Brown Scapular.

As history would have it, this seemingly trivial incident proved critical for the resurgence of his name. This time, it is mentioned side by side neither with St. Pedro Calugsod nor Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, but alongside Dionisia (March 12, 1691 – Oct 12, 1732) and Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz (July 16, 1693 – July 31, 1732) of Calumpit, Bulacan.

Sonson was the great grand uncle of the Talangpaz Sisters — the foundresses of the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollects, also called AR Sisters, whose beatification process is ongoing.

History credits him as the one who introduced the Carmelite devotion to the Talangpaz family in Calumpit— a thing so closely connected to the birth of the AR Congregation as we know them today.

A member of the congregation, Sr. Maria Lirio Guillermo,  AR, also gave a talk on the same stage for the quadricentennial anniversary of the arrival of the first image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Philippines.

 

Recoletos and Carmelite Devotion

She said their congregation is the “fruit of the missionary zeal of the Augustinian Recollect Fathers from Spain and the devotion of the Talangpaz Sisters to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel” — a devotion they received decidedly from their Jesuit great grand uncle.

In 1719, the Talangpas Sisters left family, possession and prestige “to give in to the desires of the restless hearts,” Sr. Guillermo said.

Unable to gain approval of their local parish priest to don the habit of mantelatas or lay tertiaries of the Augustinian Order, they sailed through the Calumpit River, with organized help from their father who was the gobernadorcillo.

Decidedly influenced by the piety and devotion of their uncle Filepe Sonson, the Talangpaz Sisters went in search for the image of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel and were told that it was enshrined at the San Sebastian Church in Calumpang (present-day Quiapo).

They arrived just in time for the feast of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16, 1719, and settled in a rented cottage proximate to San Sebastian Church.

Soon two other native beatas joined them, and they practiced an austere way of life devoted to prayer and hard work in the Church.

“Their day began and ended by staying close to God and the Blessed Mother,” Sr. Guillermo said. They then petitioned the Recollect Fathers to allow them to don the habit of mantelatas of the Third Order of Saint Augustine, a request which was granted in 1725.

It didn’t take long for Fr. Benito de San Pablo of San Sebastian to take notice and prophesied that their group would soon grow and that many would come and wear the humble habit of the group.

True enough, they began to grow in number, and it was thus that the San Sebastian Church became the cradle of the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters.

The sisters began erecting schools in different places, with St. Rita College Manila located in front of San Sebastian having the distinction of being their first school.

On August 19, 1929, Manila Archbishop Michael O’ Doherty signed the decree of the canonical erection of the institute as a Diocesan Congregation.

On November 20, 1970, days before Pope Paul VI came to the Philippines, the AR Sisters received their Decretum Laudis, or their Decree of Praise as a Pontifical Institute.

From being a Beaterio de Terciarias Agustinas Recoletas, the AR Sisters have become a congregation of pontifical rights, a congregation with special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel — an indelible influence wielded undoubtedly by Felipe Sonson on the spirituality of the Talangpaz Sisters.

Until today, the AR Sisters have kept alive the legacy of Mother Dionisia and Mother Cecilia Rosa these past 273 years, living with one mind and heart on the way to God.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bro. Ioannes Arong

Bro. Ioannes Arong

Postulant/Correspondent of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno

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< 2020 >
September
SMTuWThFS
  1
  • All day
    September 1, 2020

    WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CARE OF CREATION

    NOVENA TO ST. NICHOLAS OF TOLENTINO BEGINS

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    Most Rev. Francisco de Leon, D.D. (Diocese of Antipolo)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Francisca de Sta. Maria, AR
    Sr. Placida Patrimonio, AR

2
  • All day
    September 2, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Miguel Miró (71st)
    Fray Federico Gregorio

3
  • All day
    September 3, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray James Erold Gatinao (simply prof.)
    Sr. Annielyn Alejado, AR
    Jay Warren Oberes (RAY-Balamban)
    Regina Kyle Regonas (RAY-Balamban)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1969-2020)
    Fray Hernando Coja

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Rosario Padilla, AR

4
  • All day
    September 4, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR OAR VOCATION (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    SOLEMNITY OF OUR LADY OF CONSOLATION
    Be reminded of the plenary indulgence we may obtain today!

    OLCP- LARAY FIESTA MASS
    Time: 6:00 P.M.
    Presider: Fray Renie Villalino (Parish Priest)

    BIRTHDAY
    Ms. Brenda Saliendra, Sister General of the OAR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1993-2020)
    Fray Emilio Jaruda

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Melchora de Sta. Teresita de Jesus, AR
    Sr. Ma. Leonarda Muncada, AR

5
  • All day
    September 5, 2020

    CARES, BAGUIO CITY: MASS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (tentative date)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Sixto Ciriaco Bitangjol
    Fray Tomokatsu Yamaguchi
    Camila Doctor (RAY-Urbiztondo)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Antonia Dinsay, AR

6
  • All day
    September 6, 2020

    55TH PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ SNTP – DALIAO, KAOHSIUNG CITY, TAIWAN
    Presider: Most Rev. Peter Liu (Bishop of Kaohsiung)

    OLCP- MIRANILA FIESTA MASS
    Time: 11:00 A.M.
    Presider: to be announced later

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Michael Catama
    Fray Rellyric Delos Santos
    Fray John Zachary Haguisan

7
  • All day
    September 7, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Regino Bangcaya
    Sr. Anita Manigo, AR

8
  • All day
    September 8, 2020

    BIRTHDAY OF MAMA MARY

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray René Paglinawan
    Fray Monday Benjamine Edobor
    Sr. Alejandra Bendoval, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE & SOLEMN PROFESSION
    Sr. Loraine Lechago, OAR

9
  • All day
    September 9, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Arlyn de la Cruz, AR
    Laurence Canillo (RAY-Balamban)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1985-2020)
    Fray Dionisio Selma (Prior Provincial)

10
  • All day
    September 10, 2020

    SOLEMNITY OF ST. NICHOLAS OF TOLENTINE
    Be reminded of the plenary indulgence we may obtain today!

    OPENING CELEBRATION OF THE FOURTH CENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF THE PROVINCE OF SAN NICOLAS DE TOLENTINO

    50th FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECOLETOS DE PROVINCIALATE AS A COMMUNITY IN QUEZON CITY (Est. 1970)

    49th FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF CSNT-R, TALISAY CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (F: 1971)

    FIESTA MASS @ SNTP – TALISAY CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
    Time: 10:00 A.M.
    Presider: Most Rev. Patricio Buzon, SDB, DD (Bishop of the Diocese of Bacolod)

    FIESTA MASS @ SNTP – QUEZON CITY
    Time: 6:00 P.M.
    Presider: to be announced later

    FIESTA MASS IN HONOR OF SAN NICOLAS DE TOLENTINO
    @ Kristo Rai Church, Saipan, CNMI Time: 6:00 A.M. (Saipan Time)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Eufrocina Rusiana, AR
    Sr. Mary Grace Judith Alamares, AR

    PRESBYTERAL ANNIVERSARY
    (1989-2020)
    Fray Francisco Antonio
    Fray Amadeo Lucero

11
  • All day
    September 11, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Emilio Edgardo Quilatan
    Davic James Cabatingan (RAY-Valencia)
    Dianne Morales (RAY-Provincialate)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1998-2020)
    Fray Randolph Castulo Castillo
    Fray Charlito Orobia
    Fray Amado Emmanuel Bolilia
    Fray Jonathan Caballero

12
  • All day
    September 12, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jorr Rabacal
    Gerald Artates (RAY-Provincialate)

    PRESBYTERAL ANNIVERSARY
    (1992-2020)
    Fray Leander Barrot
    Fray Paulino Dacanay

13
  • All day
    September 13, 2020

    FIESTA MASS @ HOLY CROSS PARISH, TALIAO, KAOHSIUNG CITY, TAIWAN
    Time: 3:00 P.M.
    Presider: Fray Giovanni Gil Magbojos (Parish Priest)

    BIRTHDAY
    Hon. Rufus Rodriguez, Brother General of the Order
    Robert John Navarro (RAY-Miranila)

    GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    Fray Dionisio Cachero (1970-2020)

    PRESBYTERAL ANNIVERSARY
    (1997-2020)
    Fray Jose Ernil Almayo

14
  • All day
    September 14, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Lourdes Piccio, AR
    Sr. Floramae Lanuza, AR

15
  • All day
    September 15, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Anthony Morillo
    Fray James Bumangabang
    Beah Marie Ganarias (RAY-Bacolod)

16
  • All day
    September 16, 2020

    108th ANNIVERSARY OF RELIGIOSAS FAMILIAS

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Joseph Cyprian Panaligan
    Fray Robin Ross Plata (deacon)
    Sr. Mary Ann Lumactao, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Angeles Gabutina, AR

17
  • All day
    September 17, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Julia Tamsi (RAY-Baguio)
    Most Rev. Socrates Mesiona, D.D. (Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa)

18
  • All day
    September 18, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Henry Santiago
    Sr. Ma. Ruth Gulane, AR

19
  • All day
    September 19, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE SICK (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    FEAST – ST. ALONSO DE OROZCO

    SOLEMN PROFESSION OF VOWS OF FRAY RAMON BITANCOR III

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Joseph Philip Trayvilla
    Fray Joel Alve

20
  • All day
    September 20, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Nena Labrague, AR
    Sr. Kristine Ignacio, AR
    Estella Marie Andador (RAY-Talisay)

21
  • All day
    September 21, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Alexus Mansueto

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Isabel Pantoja, AR
    Sr. Salvacion Olalo, AR
    Sr. Ma. Susana Quiñones, AR

22
  • All day
    September 22, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Marietta Angelica Gunayan, AR
    Sr. Nancy Macaraig, AR
    Sr. Sheryl Garcia, AR
    Lebron Jay Bantog (RAY-Valencia)

23
  • All day
    September 23, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Vicente Ramon, Jr.

    ANNIVERSAY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    Most Rev. Roberto Gaa (Diocese of Novaliches)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Sebastiana Jaropojop, AR
    Sr. Agustina Salcedo, AR

24
  • All day
    September 24, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sugarrey Rendajae (RAY-Talisay)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1967-2020)
    Fray Emeterio Buñao

25
  • All day
    September 25, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Lucita Mingueto, OAR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Esperanza Heffler, AR

26
27
  • All day
    September 27, 2020

    106th WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES
    Theme: “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee”
    (Pope Francis’ Message: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/migration/documents/papa-francesco_20200513_world-migrants-day-2020.html )

    2020 WORLD TOURISM DAY
    (cf. Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development)
    (Prefect’s Message:http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/sviluppo-umano- integrale/documents/rc_sviluppo-umano-integrale_20200806_messaggio-gm- turismo2020_it.html )

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Rafaela Paras, AR
    Sr. Damiana Tafalla, AR
    Sr. Ma. Melodina Ramirez, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Genoveva del Santissimo Sacramento, AR

28
  • All day
    September 28, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE MISSION (cf. LAMP I,5c)

    BLESSED MARTYRS OF JAPAN

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    Bp. Peter Liu of Kaohsiung (Taiwan) [1994-2020]

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Iluminada Apurillo, AR

29
  • All day
    September 29, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Roderick Deguit

30
  • All day
    September 30, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ferdinand Fornilos

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2017-2020)
    Fray Invenzor Melgazo
    Fray Jayferson Baldelovar
    Fray Mark Saludes

   

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