Carmelite family goes on pilgrimage in Baguio, Benguet

“In togetherness there is God. The more we know each other, the more we will know god for in each one is a piece of God.”

This was the message of Mother Mary Concepcion, OCD to the representatives from different Carmelite congregations and communities who recently visited Carmel of the Most Holy Trinity Monastery in Tuba, Benguet.

Last May 28 to 30, 2017, 35 members from 11 congregations and associations embracing the Carmelite spirituality and charism came together for the annual Philippine Carmelite Family pilgrimage and monastery visitation.

Organized by the Philippine Carmelite Family Core Group, the group visited pilgrimage places and other sites of interest in Baguio City and Benguet province.
First in the itinerary was the shrine of the Episcopally crowned historical image of Our Lady of Covadonga (Nuestra Señora de Covadonga Reina del Rosario Santissimo de la Trinidad y Las Cordilleras). The image is said to have been brought to the Philippines through the Spanish Galleon Trade in the 1600s or 1700s. The image was crowned on September 8, 2005 by Bishop Carlito Cenzon of the Diocese of Baguio and Benguet. The shrine is housed in the Parish of St. Joseph in La Trinidad, Benguet.

A stones throw away from the shrine is the famous strawberry farm of the Benguet State University. The farm attracts many visitors all-year round, that it became inevitable for a whole industry to flourish from it, ranging from strawberry farming to tourism. This could be because strawberries are not common in the country. In fact, historical records would show that the Spanish brought the strawberries to the country in the early 19th century and propagated its cultivation in La Trinidad.
The group then proceeded to the Mansion, the summer villa of the country’s president for a peek at its front yard, after which they proceeded to Mines View Park, and the Religious of the Good Shepherd where the congregation’s successful social enterprise, Mountain Maid Training Center, has helped many young Cordillerans through the production of its most sought after ube (purple yam) jam and other sweets and pastries.

This was followed by a visit to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto which is managed by the Society of Jesus.

The group also joined the celebration of the mass at the Cathedral of the Our Lady of Atonement.

At the Carmelite Monastery, each congregation was given the opportunity to introduce their group to the Carmelite nuns. This was then followed by a couple of presentation, first by the CMSTCJ youth and then by the whole group. The visit was capped by some personal interaction with the nuns. The monastery currently houses 10 nuns.
The group was hosted by the OCDS at their retreat house in Tuba, Benguet, overlooking the pristine mountains and just a 15-minute walk away from the monastery.

The congregations and associations represented in the pilgrimage this year were the Order of Carmelites (O.Carm.), Order of Discalced Carmelites (O.C.D.), Carmelitas Misioneras Teresiana, Sisters of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Carmelite Sisters of the Holy Trinity, Carmelite Missionaries of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Donum Dei Missionary Family, Order of Discalced Carmelites-Secular, Third Order Carmelites, Carmel Youth, and Lay Carmelites from San Vicente Ferrer Parish of Saysain, Bagac, Bataan.
A yearly activity of the Philippine Carmelite Family organization, the annual pilgrimage and monastery visitation seeks to foster solidarity among the different congregations, associations and communities of the Carmelite family through the sharing of spiritual traditions as well as to develop a sense of belongingness for the cloistered members of the family whose participation in the activities of the group is limited.


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