Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beholding the lady who beheld Our Lady


TERESITA CASTILLO. Former Carmelite postulant. Daughter of the former Governor of Batangas. A lady filled with vigor and joy. 

Some might know her as such. But for everyone, she is no-less than the nun who saw the Blessed Virgin for many times in 1948, during her apparitions in Lipa Carmel in the Philippines. At that time, Mary introduced herself as MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACE. This series of apparitions was accompanied by numerous wonders and miracles, above them all the famous shower of rose petals. Despite the decision of the Church authorities in 1951 to the non-authenticity of the apparitions (the declaration can be found somewhere else in the internet), the Filipino still showed his love and admiration for Our Lady which lasts until the present, with hopes that the Church would reconsider its verdict.

Almost all the first-hand witnesses passed away since then. All, but Sr. Teresing. Despite the criticism of people who had little knowledge to the apparitions, who fabricate hoaxes throughout the past decades, Sr. Teresing remained silent and calm. She did not go public, except on few occasions when she was invited to talk on the mystic encounters with the Virgin Mary. She became a low-profile person, living in the suburbs of Manila with adopted daughter Grace and some relatives. Everyone wanted to see her, ask her prayers for many concerns, but her health condition and advanced age made it impossible. For everyone, it was really suntok sa buwan.

But God, in his great goodness, granted me and my friend Migs a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and hear Sr. Teresita, in a circumstance not prepared by our strength, but according to His gracious plan. The story surrounding this encounter, for me, is more than a 'meet-and-greet' situation; it's God's will prevailing in every minute, so precious, so unforgettable.


I'll start the story around six months ago, when I first visited Lipa Carmel. Among my many prayers back then, one was for me to see Our Lady's visionary, impossible as it might seem. Months came, there was a news that Sr. Teresita's health was failing. Around the same time, Migs had finished composing a hymn in honor of Our Lady, known as Ave Maria ng Lipa. Clouded by the misunderstandings of the past, we found ourselves chatting on FB, sharing our stories, then asking forgiveness from each other. Simple as it may seem, Our Lady prepared us for this special encounter. We made a simple promise, that when someone is invited to visit Sr. Teresing, be it me or Migs, we will not go without the other. 

And so it was. 

August 01, 2014. I was playing the guitar at the First Friday Mass of our school. It was raining then. We had a problem with the copies of the song, so I went outside the church to look for a paper and marker. Out of the blue, I saw, outside the church in the middle of the rain, a fresh, pink rose petal. Puzzled, I kept it, and put it in a place where I can see it while I'm playing at Mass, but it suddenly disappeared.

On the night of the same day, as I was doing my school errands inside my room, a magnificent fragrance surrounded the whole place. I'm not fond of using perfumes, there was not even a visitor. I have no idea what's happening; I'm even unaware that something great is about to happen.

The next day, August 02, 2014, as I was on my way to Santo Domingo, a friend called me by phone, with a very special news. I and Migs are invited to visit Sr. Teresita the next day. I had many commitments back then, but I cancelled them all, just to give my YES to this invitation. I don't want to have this unprepared, so I went to confession and heard Mass that day, in grateful thanksgiving to Our Lady for this grace.

August 03, 2014. Along with our friends Our long journey somewhere in Manila took us to a very simple home. 'Eto na?' (Is this it?) was my first reaction upon arriving at the Castillo residence. You wouldn't even notice that it is a house of a famous person; it is so simple, yet humble.

We were received by Ms. Grace Castillo, a daughter who, like her adoptive mother, was also humble and welcoming. I can't really believe what I'm seeing. We're inside the house of the Visionary of Lipa, whom everyone wanted to see! We're already inside the house of a lady filled with such holiness. At this point, I even deemed myself unworthy. I don't know what to say when I see her. I don't know, but I just said to Our Lady, Mama Mary, you led me here. Guide me. Make me worthy. 

Then, the moment came. I beheld before my person, Sr. Teresita Castillo, the humble Visionary of Lipa, who despite her advanced age, was still able to give us little words of encouragement and wisdom. The encounter we had was like an encounter with our Lola (grandmother), an affectionate lady, full of knowledge of her time, and passing it to us, the youth of the present generation.

Among many things, she shared to us on the need of prayer for our generation against the many temptations of our time, and the assurance of Mary's protection upon those who draw themselves closer to her. I was able to record a portion of our conversation, and I tried my best to transcribe her words:

"You know how people are tempted these days. And (Mary's) sad about it. You know how it feels. (...) Your generation, now, there's so many temptations. Parents come to me, they cry, what they'll do, they're sad. It's really hard these days to not be tempted. There's so many temptations. Young people can be tempted in so many things."

"And it's sad, they lose always hope, (...) especially students. So we have to pray more. (...) You know more than me. I know Mama Mary's hurt, VERY HURT. That's why, we need penance. You don't need to do big things to make penance, even simple things, little things."

"Just keep close to her. I'm sure she'll protect you. I'm sure she'll make you good souls, good boys. She'll guide you to where she wants you to be." 

"Now that you know her, I know you'll day by day pray to her, and doing so, your love for her will increase. She'll guide you, She'll guard you. She'll protect you from dangers of body (and soul.)"

"I know all of you here who came to visit me, all of you will be blessed by Mama Mary."

A Holy Mass was also celebrated that morning, where Migs played the Mass songs on the piano. We were all able to see Sr. Teresita in deep contemplation towards the sacred mysteries. After receiving Holy Communion, we saw a certain glow of holiness radiate through the sister's face. At the singing of the Salve, she tried her best to reach the manto of the Virgin of Fatima which was just beside her (We brought the image along with us; it was blessed by Pope Paul VI.) One can sense in her silent face that of a lady in joy upon receiving Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist and paying tribute to Our Lady.

For the first time, we presented to her the composition of Migs, the Ave Maria ng Lipa. While Migs was playing his composition at the Piano, I stayed at the Sister's bedside, singing the piece. It was really a grace-filled moment for the two of us; I never thought of rendering this song before the Visionary, but I really know it's Our Lord's will, and that of Mama Mary, for me to do so. 

Upon bidding her farewell, she gave us two final advice. 

Be good ah. Maraming tukso ngayon. Be good!

And the second one seems to be more personal, as she said this while looking at me, at the depths of my heart:

Just lift them all (problems) to the Lord. What is impossible to man, is possible to God.

Kissing her forehead and her hands, I remembered all those who wish to see her, and all those who are promoting the devotion to Mama Mary Mediatrix. I know it would only happen once in a while, and so, given this privilege, I took this opportunity to remember everyone who are so dear to Mama Mary Mediatrix.

I will never forget this encounter. Never in my life. This is God's gift to me for my birthday on the 19th. And indeed, when God gives gifts, it's something worth cherishing. Meeting and hearing the Visionary speak on the importance of prayer and penance strengthened my resolve to become more holy in thought, word and deed. I can never do this without God's grace, and that of the Blessed Virgin.

Before we left, she told us, Babalik kayo ah! Yes, we will return. Our hearts will always remain by her side, as she always remembers us in her prayers.

"Pray for me, as I pray for you. All of you!"

Together with us are Fr. JM Sadia, Lynch Flores and Leandro Tesorero, our brothers at the Work of the Saints Apostolate. With us in the photo is Ms. Grace Castillo.

22 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:35 AM

    I hope and pray the the Apparition at Lipa, Batangas will finally be opened and approved by the Church. I have been there and saw the religiosity of the people there and there was no fraud as it was said during that time 1951. God bless the Philippines and May the Blessed Mother of Penafrancia be always in the hearts of our people. Fr. Vincent Cornejo, retired priest from Naga city

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous6:28 AM

    what a prayerful visit.... i hope this following Wikipedia update accurately reflects the encouraging but seemingly well over due approval you seek.... eresita Castillo also known as Sister Teresing (born: July 4, 1927) is a former Roman Catholic religious[1] who reported Marian apparitions in Lipa City, Philippines for several years since 1949. These reported apparitions have been the subject of controversy. An initial investigation report in 1951 was signed by 6 Roman Catholic bishops and declared the Lipa apparitions as "non-supernatural". However, one bishop later recanted on his deathbed, and a new investigation was opened in 1991.

    The alleged apparition of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace has received formal approval from the Archdiocese of Lipa in 2009,[2] and is currently pending investigation by the Holy See.[3]

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous7:45 AM

    Beautiful We all need something like this to keep us closer to God and His Mother!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Very wonderful beautiful it reminds me of an apparition a man in Albany NY had in 1951 and only received the personal approval of the local bishop even to this day the request is still being carried out from the Blessed Mother he received from her.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3:51 PM

    That request was to bring flowers aka souls to her via the sanctuary house he founded at her request .
    Sanctuaryhouse.tumblr.com
    Sanctuaryhouse_99@yahoo.com
    For more information

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sr.Teresing was in Don Bosco,Dumaguete city,many years ago...she was invited by Archbishop Lagdameo ,who was our Bishop that time,and if I remember right, he was the Secretary to the Bishop of Lipa during those years of the Lipa phenomenon., I heard her talk, about the Lipa apparitions of Our Lady,I also have read the book on Lipa,written by June Keithley, and was blessed to have visited Lipa with my family...I personally believe in this apparition....AVE MARIA!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous9:32 PM

    I visited the the church in 2003 where the apparition happened.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wish that I can see the place in Lipa where the apparition happened.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous10:52 PM

    Very beautiful.. we should all be 'good'... Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous11:26 PM

    You are a very beautiful young man (Migs too!). May God continue to pour his blessings upon you both! "To who much is given, much is expected."

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Thank you for the update on this visionary. She was obedient to the bishop to the end.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous1:13 PM

    What a blessing! My mother is from Lipa, and her late cousin Sister Bernadette was with Sister Teresing during the time of the apparitions. Thanks be to God that Bishop Arguelles has given his blessing to allow Our Lady Mary Mediatrix of All Grace to be venerated once more.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous7:32 AM

    Has God sent a prophet? www.thewarningsecondcoming.com
    Be sure to read about the “Seal of the Living God” found on the homepage links - *a Biblical reference to this topic: Rev. chapter 7

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous1:02 AM

    it's beautiful meeting with Sr.teresita. I had the complete video of that story narrated by June Keithley
    and visited the shrine in Lipa, Batangas Phil. 2010 . It's a blessing. We've to pray more for the
    conversion of the whole world .
    Mengie

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous7:55 AM

    Pray for us our lady of mediatrix of all graces,we love you... to sister teresing you are blessed we love you... pray for my son and my family... thank you so much.. wishing someday i could visit the shrine in lipa with my family..

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous8:00 AM

    Pray for us our lady of mediatrix of all graces,we love you... to sister teresing you are blessed we love you... pray for my son and my family... thank you so much.. wishing someday i could visit the shrine in lipa with my family..

    ReplyDelete
  17. Remembering Sr. Teresing as she passed away last night (11/15). May her soul rest in peace in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Our Lady of Mediatrix of All Graces. My family went to the Lipa shrine and lo and behold...I saw a radiance all around her image in the garden below. It was a very gentle light that radiates away from her body. I wasn't sure if I was just imagining things but I didn't say anything at that time but prayed fervently for your blessings for our family and the whole world. I believe in you. Please bless our family and the whole world. Sister Teresing, may you rest in peace with Our Lady and our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for being strong and never wavering in your faith despite the trials and the doubts. Please pray for us in heaven so that we may be strong enough to weather all the trials in this life. Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for your unselfish love in giving us your life to wash away all our sins. Thank you God for your unwavering love to all of us. Bless us O Lord! We need you in our life!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous8:58 PM

    Rest in peace sister teresing, you are now with Our Lady of Mediatrix of all Grace and God... we love you,, pray for me and my son and my family.. we love you,, thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
  20. Reading these brought tears to my eyes. I haven't met her personally until last night in her wake in Manila Memorial Park's Funeraria Paz. People came in droves and related all the miracles Our Lady did and the impact of Sis. Teresing in their lives. She will be forever be missed.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous7:23 AM

    Hoping to overcome my depression anxiety stress fears all my problem in life with your intercession our lady of mediatrix of all grace and with sister teresing.. for the benefits of my son and family..thank you so much help me god bless

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous9:38 PM

    Sr. Teresing please pray for me, as I do for thee, that merrily we may meet in Heaven

    ReplyDelete