Prior's Corner

Peace in the Name of Christ!

In preparation for the incoming celebration of the 500 years of the birth of our holy Mother St. Teresa, we, the Carmelite student community started a study about its theme "I Was Born for You" for our personal as well as the community's renewal. We do the study of her "Life" twice a month in a small group sharing. Afterwards, we gather together in a big group to collate what we have shared. We are using as a guide the materials provided by the Generalate.

Here are some of the excerpts of our study of her "Life". Chapter 1: Key Moment in her Life; St. Teresa highlights this point when she says, "to have had a virtuous and God-fearing parents along with the graces the Lord granted me should have been enough for me to have led a good life" (ch. 1.1). She manifest that to have parents who are always anchored in the goodness of God "favored nothing but virtue". St. Teresa's messages echoes loudly in our time today especially on the formation of family. As a religious, we are tasked to look at our own family, its spiritual, emotional, social and political formation. In this Chapter 1,1 of the "Life" we are reminded to pray and help to the best of our ability in restoring the broken family, a rebuild a family near to the ideal and entrust them to the Holy Family". Chapter 4 and 8: Who is the God of Your Experience? We know that St. Teresa for more than eighteen years since she begun prayer suffered the battle of conflict between friendship with God and friendship with the world. But Teresa's consistency in prayer tantamount her to experience the goodness of God who never outdone in mercy as she testifies... we may be struggling to pursue with our own desire, and maybe, we will be caught up with our own limitations but Teresa assures as that "the Lord will improve and perfect them and give them value". Our imperfection finds a perfection in God. Chapter 9: Conversion. This chapter shows her turning point in life: rebirth. St. Teresa uses imagery of rebirth to describe her "new life" so separate and distinct from her "old life". Teresa trust wholly herself in God, the inner voice that speak to her. She was deeply aware on God speaking through little events, images, little thing in her life. She thinks only of the human person of Jesus. This is the focus of her prayer, the humanity of Jesus especially in his passion.

To get a way form the hustle, bustle of city life, the John of the Cross community decided to hold our annual retreat from May 17-22, 2010 at Our Lady's Hill Center for Spirituality in Bago City, Negros Occidental. The theme of our retreat for this year is taken from the book written by Marie-Eugene, OCD "I want to see God". On the first day of the retreat Fr. Dan reflected about "At the Point of Departure as a Carmelite". According to him, "the soul must flee towards God". And this is the first resolution that St. Teresa imposes on the soul. The saint demands this disposition form her disciple". On the second day Fr. Rey gave a reflection on how to make a total gift of self. He challenged us that as Jesus is asking for more......are we then willing to give up more? To give up everything-not just something, not just giving our best". Bro. Dodong, on the third day shared about humility. He explained that "St. Teresa never wearies of proclaiming the necessity of the virtue of humility. And the insistence of the saint indicates that we cannot make further progress without considering more thoroughly her teaching on humility". Fr. Neil emphasized on the importance of silence and solitude to help us be recollected. The last but not the least is Fr. Tom who shared about contemplation. He said, "Contemplation is, then, the science of love, the "secret wisdom" and its communicated and infused into the soul through love". Indeed, the retreat was a fruitful and blessed moments for us personally and as a community. We are truly recharged, refreshed and revitalized. We would like to extend our gratitude to the Spirituality Team (Bro. Diony and Bro. Sin Wee) who spearheaded the retreat. Mabuhay kayo lagi!

After the retreat we went to the beautiful Island in Guimaras for our community outing. We spend our days meaningfully. We spend time for bonding with the brothers, away from the daily routine house functions and academic studies. The friars really enjoyed their days and nights swimming, snorkeling, videoke hut. It was fun.

We welcome our five new student's friars who just arrived last May 18, 2010. Our two Filipino brothers Jun-jun and Eric will take their Philosophy at St. Vincent School of Theology run by the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers. Our three Vietnamese brothers John Bosco, Paul and Josh who will study advanced English in Maryhill School of Theology. Also we welcome Anthony Domingo who will stay with us for a year while waiting for his novitiate. He will be actively involved in the Vocation Promotion Ministry with Fr. jack Tangan, OCD as our National Vocation Director.

Ad Jesum Mariam!

Newsbits from St. John of the Cross Monastery

A great harvest was garnered by the Order this year, eight (8) of the Simple Professes Student friars were admitted for Solemn Profession this coming August 6, 2010, feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord, seven of which finished their Theological Studies last March: six from Loyola School of Theology and one from the Maryhill School of Theology. The brothers who will be profess their Solemn Vows are Bro. Jonald C. Panganiban of Isabela, Bros. Joseph and Francis of Vietnam, Bro. Dhyck of Caloocan, Bro. Vito of Tiwi, Albay, Bros. Ransom and Andie of Bukidnon and Bro. Richard of Pampanga. They will start their three month Second Novitiate and preparations (two batches of four) on April 01, 2010 and May 01, 2010 respectively.

Four Brothers make Solemn Profession of Vows

The Order of Discalced Carmelites Philippine Commissariat celebrated with great joy the Solemn Profession of vows of four new confreres last August 15, 2009 on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary at the shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, New Manila, Quezon City. It is the first time in the history of the Order here in the Philippines that, four brothers professed their solemn vows at the same time. They are: Bro. Peter Paul Ganon of the Good Shepherd (Iloilo City), Bro. Ramil Paul Michael of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Gen. Santos City), Bro. Joey Mabborang of the Blessed Sacrament and of Mary (Apayao), and Bro. Jack Joseph of the Cross (Cagayan Valley). Father Narciso C. Reyes, Provincial Superior of the Order, received their lifetime profession of vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

In accordance with the Norms and Constitutions of the Order, the newly-professed friars are now given their respective assignments—Bro Peter is stationed in our Novitiate House in Tugbok, Davao City, Bro. Ramil in Postulancy House in Jaro, Iloilo City, Bro. Joey in the Students’ House in New Manila, Quezon City, and Bro. Jack will have his diaconate in the Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish in New Manila, Quezon City.

The Order wishes to thank the families, friends, and benefactors, especially the Carmelites Scholastics Foundation, who is very instrumental in sustaining the financial needs of the education of these four brothers and the rest of the students as well. May God continue to bless you and your family! Let us continue to support and pray for our newly professed brothers that they may truly be like Christ in offering their lives for others.


The closing of school year 2008-2009 saw six (6) student friars graduate inTheology,This is the most in number that the order ever had. Brothers Peter Ganon, Ramil Oraiz, Joey Mabborang and Jack Tangan all graduated from the Loyola School of Theology (LST). All of them proceededto the Novitiate House in Tugbok, Davao for their second novitiate and they are scheduled to take thier solemn profession of vows in August 15, 2009.

Vincent Pham Huan, on the other hand finishsed his Computer college degree from St. Joseph's College.

At the same time, three students were sent for their pastoral year. Bro. Jeffrey Panganiban in Bacolod to help facilitate in the spirituality center there, Bro. Jonald Panganiban in Iloilo to assist in the postulancy program and Bro. Haluendo Amit as the National Vacation Director.

The summer school break was also full with Bros. Andie Quiza and Christopher Loh going for immersion in Nueva Ecija while Bros. Benedick Piangko, Richard Escoto and Jupiter Diloy in the province of Aurora. Bro. Ransom went to Bacolod and Bro. Joseph Nguyen Binh went for a retreat giving exposure in several parts of the country. Six (6) students stayed in-house for their philosophy credit requirements while Bro. Vito Competente Jr. took Spanish Lessons at the Instituto Cervantes de Manila. Bros. Francis Quach Tien and Vincent Pham Huan enjoyed their two month vacation in Vietnam.

The arrivals of Bro. Damian Tay, Roy Supramaniam and Bernard Wee from Singapore signaled the start of the new school year and community ws busy.
They first went to Bacolod for their annual community retreat from May 11 to 15 which was a great spiritual experience reminding them of the evangelical vows; the theme of the sad recollection. Immediately, they traveled to Iloilo to be in solidarity with Fr. Neil Maravilloso in hid Presbyteral Ordination in Jaro and Thanksgiving Mass in Maasin. The Carmelite Missionary (CM) sisters generousll provided for heir accomodationand they made our stay truly enjoyable. Back in the monastery, the community underwent a week o House Policy Evaluations before proceeding to their Annual Community Outing (June 3 to 5) in Lucena. They truly enjoyed the beautiful accomodation of Graceland in Tayabaas and the Mexican themed beach resort Pueblo por La Playa courtesy of the Lucena nuns, Susan Alcoreza and other very good friends and benefactors. We thank them all; they made our outing relaxing indeed.

Finally classes began in June with fourteen (14) students at the Loyola School of Theology (LST), seven (7) students at the Mary Hill School of Theology (MST) and one (1) at the Philosophy School of the Ateneo de Manila (AdMU).

The community prays and hopes that God, our loving Father continue to shower them with guidance and blessings as they continue on with the formation of the students.
St. John of the Cross Community is formation house dedicated for breeding new generation of Carmelite Friars in the East Asia and Oceania region. Professional men who have earned their degrees ranging from doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, engineers, and humanities from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao reside in the Student's House for their Philisophical and Theological studies. As simple professed religious, they have to learn throughout the years of formation how to balance community, academic, apostolate, and the spiritual life. Here is where the true sense of a Carmelite spirit is embued. What comes next is a glimpes of how life in the student's house is spent.

The Vocation Ministry conducted search-ins in the Carmelite monasteries in the cities of Lipa, Angeles and Naga. Ten aspirants attended a three-day recollection in the OCDS House of Prayer in New Manila, Quezon City last November 1-3, 2008. Six come from Luzon while the rest are from the Visayas. There were also several university sorties initiated by the team: Bros. Jeff and Jack visited Mater Carmeli School and Centro Escolar University in response to the school's respective Vocation Awareness Day.

The Spirituality Team, in collaboration with the OCDS Sta. Teresa of Jesus Community, facilitated the annual Lecture Series. The theme for this year's series: "Louis and Zellie: Saints for the Modern World." Louis and Zelia Martin, parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, were beatified on October 19, 2002. Three consecutive Sundays of November were alloted to four distinctive speakers, namely: Prof. Eduardo Calasanz, NDV, Thelma Balajadia, OCDS, Mel Lopez, OCDS, and Fr. Paulo Gamboa, OCD.

Three apostolate teams are connected to the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish - the Youth Ministry, the Basic Ecclesial Communities, and the Social Services and Developement Ministry (SSDM). Bro. Andie Quiza and his BEC team are always on the go in visiting our parishioners through Sunday masses and Bible sharing sessions. They ably assisted the parish BECs in the following programs and projects: Apostolate Evaluation (October 27 - 28), BEC Formation Day (November 9), and the Kasalang Bayan (November 22) officiated by Fr. Alex Collera, OCD, the Parish Priest. Finally, the SSDM team assists the doctors in giving regular medical services to the indigent constituents of our parish. They also give guidance to the parish scholars.

Continuing Formation Program
The house is blessed with the coming of the new brothers from Taiwan-Singapore Circumscription. Bros. Sin Wee Chin and Christopher Loh have enrolled in Maryhill School of Theology, and Bro. Jeffrey Tan at Loyola School of Theology.

Rev. Nathaniel Maravilloso, OCD is ordained to the Order of Diaconate on November 14. The ordaining prelate was Most Reverend Honesto Ongtiongco, DD of the Dioces of Cubao. The ordained deacon was joined by the friars form the Carmelite communities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao, and New Manila. At present, Rev. Niel is assigned in the Parish Community of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine.

As a way of updating and continuing yearly formation of the solemnly professed friars, an input was given by Sr. Joy Javier, CM and Ma. Teresa Villasor, Ph.D. It started November 17 and lasted five days. Some interested simple professed brothers also attended.

Community Feasts
On December 13, the Solemnity of St. John of the Cross was celebrated. This time, the Student's House hosted the celebration since the community was named and dedicated after St. John of the Cross. It was a festive gathering of generous benefactors and friends who have been supportive to the students and the Carmelite friars as well.
The first half of this year is now over and the students are now enjoying their semestral school break. Going into the second half, we first reminisce the many graces that our good Lord has provided to our community of five formators and twenty-five students.

May 2008: We had our Community Summer Spirituality Seminar with focus on St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). This is our way of grounding ourselves with our Carmelite spirituality. Fr. Nadz Ruanto was our main speaker. The following week we had our Annual Community Retreat, a week of complete silence setting our minds and hearts on God as we readied ourselves for the challenges and opportunities of the school year ahead.

June 2008: We took time out by going to the Bicolandia for our Annual Community Outing. The OCD Naga Nuns were our gracious hosts. We were also warmly welcomed by the families of our Bicolano brothers, Vito Competente Jr. in Tiwi, Albay, Archie Buenaagua in Goa and Dionesio Balute in Ragay, both in Camarines Sur. Among others, the community visited the majestic Mayon volcano and the renowned virginal islands of Caramoan (it’s a must visit place). We were also lavishly entertained by the University of the Northern Philippines (UNEP), complete with sumptuous meal and a chorale. We give thanks to all our hosts especially the Naga Nuns for such a tremendous accommodation.

August 2008: Bro. Willow Andaya made his renewal of vows before Fr. Chito Reyes and the community as witness.

September 2008: Three newly professed brothers from the Taiwan-Singapore circumscription have joined our student community. They took their Novitiate formation last year in Davao and were professed last July 2008. They are Chin Sin Wee (Malaysian), Christopher Loh (Malaysian) and Jeffrey Tan (Singaporean). They will complete their theological studies here in Manila.

October 2008: This time the students went to La Union for their Extra Recreation. This annual event is a venue for students to make ‘kamustahan,’ fraternal corrections, personal sharings and the likes. The San Fernando OCD Nuns were our gracious hosts and they billeted us at Cesmin beach resort. It was a first for many of the students to visit La Union especially the San Fernando Carmelite Nuns. We give thanks to all who supported us in our brief stay, especially our dear Carmelite sisters.

Two of the three students taking their pastoral year have moved to their new areas of ministry. Bros. Carlo and Johmie are now in the Our Lady’s Hill Spirituality Center in Sta. Rita, Bago City. They will help in running the center. Bro. Willow, meanwhile, is just back from Vietnam from visiting our Vietnamese aspirants. He still heads the vocation ministry. Bro. Ramil, together with Fr. Chito, is in India for a two-week seminar on Liturgy.

As we go into the second half of this school and formation year, we are ever trustful that our good Lord will continue to bless us with many graces so that we may continue to build a better community for the service of His people.

A Glimpse in the Life of the Friars at St. John of the Cross Monastery

'Men in Brown' is a catchy and distinctive paraphrase of the 'Discalced Carmelite Friars'. It's hip, modern and forward looking yet retaining the essential elements of our religious character. The color 'brown' refers to the 'habit' we wear; it is one of our most direct tangible links to our holy founders and at the same time continually bears symbol to the spiritual heritage we inherited and are called to continue.

Our constitution states that our pattern of life consists in 'living in allegiance to Jesus Christ, pondering the law of the Lord unceasingly while strengthening our hearts with holy thoughts, coming together for the daily celebration of the sacred liturgy, putting in the armor of God in an intense life of faith, hope and charity, entering into a genuine sharing of life, leading a life of unceasing prayer in silence and solitude, and using prudent discretion in all that we do'. These are the basic foundations of our life observed in all the communities and are integrated to the three pillars of Carmel: PRAYER, COMMUNITY LIFE and APOSTOLATE. This is as sample as it can get. This is our blood; this is our life.

However, we are not stale. We aim to be as dynamic and responsive as we can be. We adhere to the call of the Vatican II and the Plenary Council of the Philippines to read the 'signs of the time'. Hence, we also align our life to the needs of the 'present' as discerned through the guidance, primarily, of the Holy Spirit. However, while remaining one in essence, the particulars of our different communities may differ in responding to these discerments.

Here at the St. John of the Cross Monastery, our life is directed to the formation of students. By formation we look at the person as an integral whole in so far that his spiritual growth equals that of his physical growth as well as that of his relationships. As such, we have drawn up he following Mission and Vision:


We, the Discalced Brothers of he Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel at St. John of the Cross Monastery, are discerned in the prophetic community of hermits on Mount Carmel. We were renewed by St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross. It is our commitment to hold as essential in our lives:

Teresian Contemplative Prayer
Fraternal Communion
Apostolic Service

Through the faithful and creative living out of these pillars, we form a 'College of Christ' witnessing the Gospel to our Brothers and Sisters within the Teresian Carmelite Family and those we serve in the local Church, especially the poor and the youth.


We are a formation community driven creative and responsible discipleship in the holistic and integrated development of Filipino and other Asian Carelite Scholastics who will embody he ideals of our Teresian heritage. As a community, we shall likewise identify new and unexplored areas and forms of ministry that are truly responsive to the needs of the locals church.

It is clear then who and what we are. We are responding to our charism as a student formation community. In particular, our community objectifies to: a) develop, deepen, and consolidate in the student the basic attitudes of religious and Carmelite life which has been instilled during the novitiate, b) provide the student with an adequate human, theological, technical, cultural, and apostolic formation, c) systematically prepare the student for a life of ecclesial and apostolic service and, d) ascertain the student's human and religious maturity required for admission to solemn profesion.

Hence our concerns differ from our parish, postulancy and novitiate communities but we do not cease to share the same essence. Our participation is more on a collaborative teamwork. At present, forming part of their apostolate, the student assist in the parish in some works in BEC, Youth, Lay Formation and in particular Liturgical Acts. They also assist in the Vocation Ministry, OCDS formation and are involved in exploring new methods in spreading the rich spirituality of Carmel especially through the use of media. Nontheless, these works are secondary to their obligations as students in formation in the same way that the friars are primary responsible for the formation of the students.

All this are interwined with the students' areas of formation so that they may achieve Christian maturity in all the areas of their formation: spirituality, academics, affectivity, apostolate and community.

For a better viewpoint, it would be better to note that our community is consist of the Students, the Director of the Students who is directly in-charge of supervising and educating the students, the House Superior, and he formation group which also include the last two mentioned.

As an evolving religious entity, great challenges abound which is the increasing number of students. This poses a challenge to be creative in formulating formation programs adherent to the changing number of students. In the coming years we will begin to accomodate Discalced Carmelites seminarians from our neighboring Asian countries notwithstanding that we have already begun with our Vietnamese confreres. Our continuous dialogue and effort to collaborate with all the members of the Commissariat, the Mt. Carmel Parish and its parishioners all add up to he challenges that our community faces as we move on to the years beyond.

These all, are Divine mandated task that we strive to follow while remaining faithful to what we, the Men in Brown, are: 'Men of Prayer'