July 4, 1927|
Lipa, Batangas, Philippine Islands
November 16, 2016 89) (aged|
Parañaque City, Philippines
|Occupation||Former Carmelite religious nun|
|Known for||Visionary of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace|
Teresita Lat Castillo also known as Sister Teresing (July 4, 1927 - November 16, 2016) is a Roman Catholic religious and a visionary who reported Marian apparitions in Lipa City, Philippines in the year 1948. 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.
Teresita L. Castillo came from an educated and religious family that may have influenced her interest in religious works. She is the youngest of seven children of former Batangas Governor Modesto Castillo. At the time of the apparitions, Teresita's father was Judge of the Court of Industrial Relations. The Castillos were very influential in Batangas province, Philippines. Teresita Castillo celebrated her 21st birthday by "escaping" early in the morning at five from her father's house to enter the Carmelite Monastery of Lipa. Teresita's entrance into the monastery was not well received initially by the family, who tried all means to get her back. Teresita steadfastly refused to return home, preferring to follow God's call.
The Marian Apparitions at Carmel, Lipa (1948)
Around 5:00 p.m. on the 12th of September 1948, the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, postulant Teresing Castillo saw a vine in the garden shake though there was no wind at all. A woman's voice was heard to say: "Fear not my child. Kiss the ground. Whatever I tell you to do, you must do. For fifteen consecutive days, come to visit me here in this spot. Eat some grass, my child."
The next day, September 13, Monday, again at five in the afternoon, the postulant returned to the place, knelt down and intended to say the Hail Mary. She had only reached the phrase "full of grace" when again the vine moved. A beautiful Lady appeared, a golden Rosary hanging on her right hand. The Lady's dress was simple and pure white, held in the waist by a narrow cloth belt. Her feet were bare and resting on clouds about two feet above ground. Her face, indescribably beautiful, was radiant.
On September 14, Tuesday, the first shower of rose petals took place. Some nuns found fresh rose-petals of exceptional sweetness, strewn around their rooms or outside their doors. Meantime, Mother Prioress Mary Cecilia of Jesus decided to consult the Most Reverend Alfredo Obviar, auxiliary bishop of Lipa and spiritual director of Carmel. The bishop instructed her to tell Teresing to ask from the Blessed Virgin some proof that the apparition was from heaven. Days, after the first shower of petals, total blindess afflicted the postulant. Mother Prioress heard a voice telling her that the only way Teresing's blindness would be healed was for her to kiss the eyes of the postulant. So, one day in the presence of Bishop Obviar, Mother Prioress lifted the veil of Teresing and imparted a kiss on her eyes. Instantly, Teresing's eyes recovered her sight. Her blindness was cured. Bishop Obviar doubted no more that the apparitions were heavenly.
Position of the Roman Catholic Church
Initially permission to venerate Mary under the title of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace was granted by then Bishop Alfred Verzosa. In 1951 the Philippine church hierarchy declared that there was no supernatural intervention in the reported happenings in Lipa. Verzosa's successor, Rufino Santos, ordered that no petals be given to anyone by the Lipa Carmelite community and the statue of Our Lady of Mediatrix be withdrawn from public view.
Castillo has survived all the denunciations and humiliations to which she was subjected. The stress from the investigation resulted in long illness for Castillo, who eventually had to voluntarily leave the convent as she failed to complete the required length of stay for a novice. The prioress of Carmel, Mother Cecilia Zialcita, was transferred to another convent.
Auxiliary Bishop Alfredo Obviar, the spiritual director of Carmel Lipa, was unceremoniously removed and was demoted and re-appointed to the diocese of Lucena. Obviar founded the congregation of the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese and in acknowledgment of his great virtue, he has been named a Servant of God and nominated for sainthood.
Verzosa, who allowed the apparitions to be publicized and for the Mediatrix to be venerated, was stripped of all administrative duties, remaining a bishop in name only. Though he had used his family's wealth to rebuild the churches and schools of war-torn Lipa, he was falsely accused of mishandling the war reparations and finances of the diocese. He lived in exile at his Vigan home, reduced to rolling tobacco leaves to augment the family income. In January 2013 Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila, opened the diocesan process of the cause of beatification and canonization of Servant of God Bishop Verzosa.
In 1992, Archbishop Mariano Gaviola granted permission to once again display the image of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace. In November 2009 Gaviola's successor, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles created at commission to conduct a new investigation into the apparitions.
However, in May 2016, the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) under Cardinal Gerhard Mueller overruled the archbishop and rejected his 2012 decree declaring that the alleged Marian apparitions in Batangas in 1948 were authentic. Arguelles himself disclosed the ruling by the CDF in an archdiocesan communiqué on May 31. In its decree, the Congregation stated that Pope Pius XII had made a definitive confirmation in 1951 against the supposed apparitions declaring that they "were not of supernatural origin," which the local authority had no authority to overrule.
- Castillo was a Carmelite postulant in the late 1940s, and was not made a fully professed sister in the Carmelite Order due to the controversies surrounding the apparition at that time.
- Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace – An online resource on Our Lady of Lipa
- "Answers to Recent Questions", The Mary Page, Univ. of Dayton
- Lesaba, Marrah Erika. "Lipa bishop lifts ban on ‘Our Lady’", Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 18, 2009
- Lesaba, Marrah Erika and Keithley, June. "Vindicated, novice of Lipa apparitions keeps low profile",Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 22, 2009
- "Ilocano Bishop May Become Saint", Manilla Bulletin, January 11, 2013
- "Arroyo to join Marian pilgrimage in Lipa", GMA News, September 12, 2008