As promised, here’s another of Lipa’s famous churches. Carmel, as Batangueños refer to it, was founded on May 31, 1946, just a year after World War II left the town of Lipa in ruins (Lipa bounced back heavily and was made city in August 1947, after the Japanese killed more than 20,000 innocent Lipa natives, with more casualties resulting from massacres carried out by the Japanese when they were losing the war against the Americans in the ending years). This little tidbit of information is probably a little out of topic, but they were all mentioned in the book “The Roots of Teresa’s Nuns in the Philippines,” a copy of which a Carmelite Sister gave me that last week of November I was able to visit Carmel, again, this time in a different light.
Through the initiative of Bishop Alfredo Versoza and then auxilliary Bishop Alrfredo Ma. Obviar(who was the first father and chaplain of the monastery), the sisters from Carmel Manila left for their new monastery in Lipa on the same day Carmel Lipa was founded, which was the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace. This is primarily the reason why the Carmel has been associated with several forms of the Virgin Mary.
When I was taking this picture inside the church, an elderly Sister approached me and asked me to come with her. I immediately felt at ease with her vibrant voice, and she talked for an hour or so about the beginnings of the church and her admiration of Maria Bambina(picture below). I explained to her that I’ll be writing and posting my pictures of Carmel in the Internet, and she talked more animatedly and explained that this picture of Maria Bambina cannot be found anywhere else, even in the web. I promised to post it pursuant to her requests. (Thank you Sister, for your hospitality and the two books!)
Here are other images I took while I was there.
It was a rather gloomy day when I went there, not to mention that it was a weekday. There weren’t the usual number of people that I was accustomed to seeing and rubbing shoulders with. On Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, Carmel brims with churchgoers coming from as far as Batangas City. Most people talk to the Sisters and ask for help in their prayers. Confessions are also held at various times of the day. Carmel, compared to Katedral, is not in the center of bustling city streets, and visiting the Carmel Sisters can mean an hour or two of retreat and recollection, a much needed pause in the never-stopping play of life.
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