St. Scholasticas's Center of Spirituality
In 1991, the Community of Missionary Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica’s College, Manila Philippines, envisioned the construction of a retreat house in Tagaytay City, a cool mountain region fifty miles south of Manila. It was to serve as an alternative venue for retreats of academic community of St. Scholastica’s College and other Benedictine schools in the Philippines, as well as for formal assemblies, retreats and renewal programs of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of the St. Scholastica’s Priory, Manila. Also envisioned was the possibility of the retreat house eventually offering an integrated program of Benedictine spirituality for those in search of a way of “seeking God”.
The three-building complex of St. Scholastica’s Center of Spirituality was completed on December 31, 1993 and blessed on February 6, 1994. Three years, later, on September 30, 1997, a new chapel building was added through the generosity of a benefactor who donated the entire amount to cover construction costs. Aside from the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, the building included the Sacro Speco, a replica of the cave in Subiaco, Italy where St. Benedict stayed in solitude for three years. And in September 1998 the sisters’ convent was renovated and its left wing with 10 rooms was made available for use of retreatants.
On November 23, 1998, St. Scholastica’s Center of Spirituality was incorporated and its first Board of Trustees was elected.
From 1994, even with the ongoing national economic crisis, the hunger for God and the ways of the Spirit has not waned as attested by the continuous flow of retreatants to the St. Scholastica’s Spirituality Center. Groups of students (not just from our Benedictine schools) and youth comprise the majority of retreatants, closely followed by couples and professionals. A number of religious communities choose to make their annual retreat and/or hold their assemblies. In the last few years, more and more dioceses are coming together for their annual retreats.
The big number of retreatants that come to the Spirituality Center could perhaps be attributed to the modest rates/charges and special discounts given to less privileged groups while maintaining excellent food services and clean, serene and comfortable accommodations.
Most retreat groups come in with their own retreat facilitators. Starting in 1998 a retreat program highlighting Benedictine spirituality and values was implemented among students of St. Scholastica’s College and later extended to some of the Benedictine schools. This was made possible after the training of retreat facilitators for “Benedictine-styled” retreats. On the same year, the Sisters proceeded to offer weekend retreats to small groups of women. A Subsidy from the Missio made it possible for women from different provinces of the country to come to these weekend modules.
Presently the “non-Benedictine” retreat groups that come to the St. Scholastica’s Center of Spirituality compose about 85% of its clientele. We believe that we are making a significant contribution to the Church, especially in the spiritual formation of the youth and the laity, by opening the Center beyond those that belong to our Benedictine family.
We see the “Benedictine groups” gradually increasing as we promote and implement retreat programs, weekend modules/workshops for women interested in Benedictine spirituality and values; explore further possibilities for training retreat and recollection facilitators (OSB Sisters and lay mission partners) to conduct Benedictine modules in their various educational and social apostolates in the Philippines.
In 2002 we thought of setting up a Resource Center for solitude and prayer, for study of the RB, Scripture, contemplative prayer, monasticism, Benedictine history, the writings of the Church fathers, etc. We envisioned monastic institutes for the Benedictine men and women of the Benedictine congregations in the Philippines. We were inspired by what St. Benedict said in the last chapter of the his Rule:
On October 6, 2005, this dream became a reality. We had the blessing of the Dona Soledad Velez Memorial Hall and the formal opening of the St. Benedict Resource Center. Alongside with the retreats and various programs offered at the St. Scholastica’s Center of Spirituality, we would like to offer a special opportunity for those interested in Benedictine Spirituality to come to the St. Benedict Resource Center for days of prayer --- individually or in groups, for retreats or workshops, for study of the RB, Benedictine History, Liturgical prayer, etc. With present technological advances, we are offering a rich collection of print and non-print materials to nourish the lives of many.
The Benedictine Resource Center is open to all Benedictine monastics in the Philippines and to lay men and women interested in Benedictine spirituality. Because the Resource Center is within the St. Scholastica’s Spirituality Center, those who want to make use of it will be assured of quiet days of prayer and study. Likewise, it serves the needs of the facilitators of those who conduct retreats within the Spirituality Center. For reservation and other inquiries, please call 850-5439 (direct line) or 046-4131535 (Telefax).
That in all things God may be glorified.