On 24 January 1991, petals fell straight from the sky at the Carmel Monastery in Lipa, Batangas. It was one of the many miraculous showers of petals that occurred at the site.
But the miracle at Mt. Carmel in Lipa City goes beyond petal showers and can be traced back to decades earlier.
The Apparition of 1948
On September 12, 1948, at five in the afternoon, nun Teresita Castillo was at the garden when she saw a vine shake and heard a female voice speak to her: “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.”
Castillo followed what she was told. The next day, again at 5pm, she returned to the site. As she was saying the Hail Mary — right when she was at the phrase “full of grace” — the vine shook again and a lady in pure white with a cloth belt and a white veil that reached her feet, stepping on what looked like clouds, appeared before her. A golden rosary was said to be hanging from the lady’s right hand. The lady told her to have that spot in the garden blessed. Castillo shared the lady’s wishes with the Mother Priores Ma. Cecilia de Jesus, who then asked Lipa’s auxiliary bishop, Most Reverend Alfredo Obviar to heed the request. It was the start of the many miracles that took place at the Carmel Monastery including the very first shower of rose petals on September 14.
On September 27, 1948, the lady introduced herself as the Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace. She allegedly appeared to Castillo 19 times.
Of course, not everyone is convinced. Controversies surrounded the events in 1948. After investigation, the Local Church ruled negatively. The Church declared: “We, the undersigned Archbishops and bishops, constituting for the purpose a special Commission, having attentively examined and reviewed the evidence and testimonies collected in the course of repeated, long and careful investigations, have reached the unanimous conclusion and hereby officially declare that the above mentioned evidence and testimonies exclude any supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings- including the shower of petals – at the Carmel of Lipa.”
All materials related to the apparitions were ordered to be destroyed — including Teresita’s and the Mother Prioress’ diaries. The statue, which the Lady asked to be built, was spared when the nuns at the covent kept it away. The Mother Prioress and the Bishop were released of their jobs, and Castillo left the convent. The convent was sealed and no one inside was allowed to communicate with anyone outside.
The committee of bishops who decided on the matter appeared unanimous in ruling that the Lipa miracles were not supernatural. Some of them, however, confessed that they had been coerced to sign the negative results because of the threat of excommunication.
Regardless, many devotees — especially those who claim to have experienced the shower of petals — believe that the happenings in 1948 were miraculous and heavenly.
The Carmel Monastery Church
Known throughout Batangas as simply “Carmel,” the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel or the Monastery of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace is a peaceful spiritual oasis in the middle of the bustling city. Its chapel is open to everyone who wish to see the statue that the Lady asked to be built in her image and venerate the Lady. Unlike the Lipa Cathedral, Carmel is away from the noisy, busy streets of the city. It is also smaller and less crowded that the Cathedral (or Katedral), perfect for those seeking peace of mind and time for reflection and prayer.
The convent was actually founded in 1946, two years before the Apparition, right after the Second World War. It became the home of the Carmelites who transfered to Lipa from Manila.
Unlike the many century-old churches in Lipa and neighboring towns, the church looks relatively modern. No intricate embellishments and excessive decorations are noticeable. Unlike many of the old Catholic churches, it is not dim inside the church. The plain cream facade and the clean, white painted interiors reflect more light that enters its windows.
On the left side of the church is a staircase that leads to a prayer hall and a viewing deck, where one could have a good look at the monastery’s garden, the site where the Lady appeared to Teresita Castillo and other sisters at the convent in 1948. Follow the arrows for they will lead you to the spot.
Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
P. Torres Street, Lipa City, Batangas
Note: The author does not necessarily believe in the miracles described in this post. Just sharing.