Amid the busy city of Lipa stands a church where solemnity and serenity can be best experienced — The convent of the contemplative order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. This church is well known among Batanguenos and perhaps to most Filipinos for this happens to be the site of the mysterious shower of rose petals decades ago.
Carmel, as local folks 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).
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.
Meanwhile, for those people who might want to know about the nitty gritty detail of the miraculous shower of rose petals in Lipa, here’s what we’ve got for you:
|Sept 12, 1948||While Teresita was praying in the convent garden, suddenly a vine began to shake. Our Lady allegedly spoke (but not appeared) to the her and requested that she kiss the earth and return to the same spot for fifteen consecutive days. When Our Lady reportedly appeared, She was on a cloud, dressed in white, hands clasped, and a golden Rosary hanging from Her right hand. Her dress was very white, very simple, and had a narrow belt tied around Her.|
|Sept. 16, 1948||
Our Lady was said to request that the vine to be blessed, and also requested that a statue was to be placed at the site of the apparition. Our Lady reportedly requested that a Mass be held on the 12th day of every month.
|Sept 27, 1948||Before She departed for the last time, the Blessed Virgin identified Herself as: ” I am the Mediatrix of All Grace”|
|1948||The Church investigators ruled negatively on the apparition. (While the committee of bishops appeared unanimous in their conclusion
that Lipa was fraudulent, several of them confessed before they died that they too had been coerced, signing the negative “findings” only under threat of excommunication.)The Bishop and Mother Prioress were released of their jobs. The nuns were ordered to destroy all materials connected with the apparitions. They burned Teresita’s diary, as well as the Mother Prioress’. The statue was also ordered to be destroyed, but the nuns kept it away, and saved it from destruction. The convent was sealed, and the nuns could talk to no one outside of the convent.
|1950?||Teresita leaves the convent.|
|Feb 1990||A new phenomenon was reported in the Granja District of Lipa City. A white luminous outline of a female in prayer began to supposedly appear at night on one of the leaves of a tall coconut tree.|
|May 21, 1990||Sr. Aphonse pleaded on her deathbed that the Mediatrix statue be again exposed (for the first time in 40 years) in the chapel at the Carmelite convent. Her request was granted the next day.|
|Jan 24, 1991||Rose petals allegedly began to fall straight from the sky again at the Carmelite convent in Lipa City. A few days later, six children playing in the garden at the convent said that the statue come to life|
|Sept 12, 2005||Most Reverend Ramon C. Arguelles,D.D., archbishop of Lipa, resurrected the devotion with an official kick-off with “increased activity and devotion” and plans to place statues representing the Virgin of Lipa, as Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace, in every diocese.|
Although veneration of Our Lady Mediatrix of all Grace was permitted by Bishop Verzosa, the Philippine church hierarchy declared in 1951 that “there was no supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings including the shower of rose petals in Lipa.” Bishop Rufino Santos, who became apostolic administrator after Bishop Verzosa, ordered that 1) no petals be given to anyone by the Lipa Carmelite community; and 2) the statue of Our Lady of Mediatrix be withdrawn from public view.
While the committee of bishops appeared unanimous in their conclusion that Lipa was fraudulent, several of them confessed before they died that they too had been coerced, signing the negative “findings” only under threat of excommunication.
In 1992, Msgr. Mariano Gaviola, archbishop of Lipa, granted permission to display again the image of the Mediatrix of all Grace. In 1993, he declared his personal conviction that the Lipa apparitions were worthy of belief.
For like three years now, the Carmel church has been the site National Marian Congress or the National Pilgrimage to Lipa. Thousands of Marian devotees attend this special Marian day every 12th day of September.