Mother Mary John Mananzan, OSB  



I look back to close to a hundred years past… another land… far across the seas… another clime… another people…

Five young Sisters of a new missionary congregation are "missioned” to the Philippines, a land in the Far East, a land they only heard of, a place where they would have to speak and teach in English, not their native German; a place they would have to reach by sea; a place where many uncertainties awaited them – but where God would surely be with them.

Those thrilling years have flown fast.  There were uncertainties and risks of beginnings – but there were surprises from God too: additional Sisters, new fields of work, widening concerns of God’s poor to help in and with.  And joys small and big: a prospect of a larger school; government recognition of good work in school very early in its beginnings; promise of introducing formal music education in the Islands, with people so full of music in their souls!  God never failed to remind them that He was there, right there!  Growth in numbers came.  From an enrolment of 8, to almost 20, and on and on… so that now, a hundred years later, there are about 30,000 students formally enrolled in 12 schools! And there is a hospital to take care of the sick; and community development centers.

But there were disasters too: the War that took so much toll in lives even among the sisters themselves; and destroyed almost the entire St. Scholastica’s College in Manila and St. Agnes Academy in Legazpi; then the lahar that buried St. Mary’s Academy in Bacolor, and the fire that razed Holy Cross Academy in Carigara… and more.  Still we knew God was there.  And from the ashes they rose.

There were other dimensions and areas of growth.  Wherever there was a need, a response would come up: a new venture to regain the rights of women; a new community to be developed; refugees to be helped.  There seems to be no end to problems and needs.  But God shows that He is always there – to be called on and to help.

Now, a hundred years later the 5 have grown to more than 200-- no longer just Germans, but mostly Filipinos, with Germans, Chinese, African.  The workers have grown.  But so has the work in the field.  God said, "The harvest is great, but the laborers are few; Pray to the Lord… for laborers in His harvest.












 It is with expanded heart of joy and  profound thanksgiving that I welcome the start of
   the celebration of the centennial of our Priory in the Philippines and our first school,
       St. Scholastica’s College!

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