Rose Petals Showers (Lipa, Phillipines 1948)
Seventy-one years ago, a Carmelite Monastery in the Philippines was the site of amazing rose petal showers that even today generate great interest. A young postulant, Teresita Castillo, was in the process of discerning a vocation as a Carmelite nun. She had encountered considerable resistance from her family who wanted her to marry and was experiencing some demonic persecution prior to a visitation from the Virgin Mary in August 1948. On August 18th Teresita returned to her cell to sense a wonderful fragrance and a very beautiful woman dressed in white. The Woman was reassuring and consoling. She asked Teresita for simplicity, humility and to be obedient to the Mother Prioress of the Carmel. Two days later after completing an act of obedience Teresita was making her bed in her room when she experienced the first of many rose petal showers. First she heard something like flapping and then saw a shower of rose petals that landed to make the shape of a cross on the floor of her room.
Teresita then experienced short-term blindness and other sufferings, which she was to offer for the deepening of faith for priests and religious. The blindness ended as suddenly as it had started on September 7th a number of days before the formal events of heavenly visitation commenced.
On September 12th (the feast of the Holy Name of Mary) while walking outside in the Carmel garden Teresita saw a vine shaking hard although there was no wind. Then she heard a woman’s voice in locution tell her not to fear, to kiss the ground and to return to the same spot every day for the next fifteen days. The next day she saw a lady dressed in white and holding a golden rosary. The lady said, “I am your mother, and I am the mother of my Son, Jesus.” The Blessed Mother asked Teresita to pray for priests and sisters who had lost or were losing their vocation which, by the way, was part of the central theme for the apparitions. The next day the Holy Mother asked Teresita to have the apparition site formally blessed in front of the whole Carmelite community.
The chaplain to the Carmel happened to be the Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese, Bishop Alfredo Obviar. He obliged the Virgin’s request and during the afternoon of September 15th blessed the site near the vine in the Carmelite garden. Teresita went into ecstasy during the blessing ceremony. This was the first indication to the other nuns that she was having religious experiences. Bishop Obviar witnessed Teresita’s ecstasy and the miraculous petal shower that occurred at that time. The next day Mary asked Teresita to have a statue made ‘…as you see me.’ The Virgin asked Teresita in the remaining apparitions for Saturday Marian devotions to be prayed and she wanted all the Carmelites to consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart. On the last day of the series of apparitions (September 26th) the Virgin announced that she was Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace.
A statue was promptly fashioned and displayed as the Virgin requested. For the entire years of 1949 and 1950 until April 1951, Teresita and the Carmelite community adhered to every word the Virgin asked them to do. They did the Saturday Marian devotions, they consecrated themselves using the 33 day formula according to Saint Louis de Montfort and they experienced the wonders of rose petal showers. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims came to the holy site. Many who witnessed the falling petals noticed they fell straight down even with a strong wind blowing. Skeptics thought the sisters hooked up a blower to disperse the petals, but at that time the monastery had no electricity. Not only were the rose petals dispersed divinely, they were found to be instrumental in some incredible healings.
The newborn daughter of a doctor and his wife had a congenital hole in her skull that exposed a large part of her brain to only her scalp. A month after her birth, the baby’s brain was starting to protrude out of that hole. Action would have to be taken. For the best medical help she would have to be flown out of the country to be cared for by a specialist. The infant’s health soon worsened and she became unconscious with possible meningitis. In desperation, a family member placed a Lipa rose petal in her tiny hand. Soon the child revived and a follow-up X-ray showed her brain had receded and hole in her skull was now hard bone.
So many thousands of people were requesting rose petals that the nuns started to dip rose petals in water and distribute the water in lieu of a precious petal. Some people that had picked up a rose petal noticed beautiful holy images imprinted on them that defied explanation. The scenes were varied, no two were alike, and they showed images of the Holy Family, the Last Supper, Mary holding a rosary, Saint Joseph, or Jesus on the cross. Each scene was intricately detailed and displayed on the space of about one and a half inch by one and a quarter inch rose petal area. The image appeared in white against the red background of the petal. Scientists noted that the veins of the petal were unbroken despite the delicately embossed sacred image. Here are some images of the miraculous rose petals
The statue of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace was the subject of reported miracles. It was kept in an enclosure but people said they saw the eyes of the statue move and the golden rosary pass through the hands of the Virgin to appear as praying.
The euphoria of the purported phenomena was ended abruptly after an ecclesiastical report found that “there was no supernatural intervention in the events that occurred at the Carmel of Lipa.” Church hierarchy reassigned Bishop Obviar and the Mother Prioress of Lipa to other places. Teresita was ordered to the University to undergo psychological testing and evaluation. Finally the new Mother Prioress advised Teresita to leave the Carmel. Broken hearted Teresita returned to live with her parents and went on to live a quiet life as the foster mother to an abandoned child; she never married.
The nuns at Lipa Carmel were ordered to destroy all materials related to Teresita’s apparitions and to withdraw the statue from public viewing. They burned diaries, messages the Virgin gave and devotions related to the messages. They burned the rose petals and they hid and covered the statue, but it was the only thing that remained. Additionally, the nuns were not to discuss the events that had occurred under penalty of sin. If that wasn’t painful enough, for the most part, the nation now scorned the Lipa Carmelites as hucksters of a religious sham.
The situation remained that way for forty years and most of the witnesses have died from old age. In 1991 the Archbishop of Lipa convened a new commission to study the events at Lipa. The next year he allowed the Carmelite nuns to once more display the statue of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace and in 1993 he declared that “the events at Lipa are worthy of belief.” To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the apparitions, a Mass was celebrated at Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace parish ending with consecration of the Philippines to Jesus through Mary. Many Bishops, Archbishops and a Cardinal were in attendance as was Gloria Arroyo, the President of the Philippines. She led the prayer of consecration for the country. She knelt before the statue of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace and prayed: “We consecrate to you all that we have, all that we do, all that we are, we consecrate to you our homes and loved ones.” She prayed that the nation would “promote respect for the value of human life.” The Catholic hierarchy and the president appear to be watching out spiritually for the population of 84 million people, more than 81% of which identify themselves as Catholic.
Teresita Castillo was interviewed in 2014 and appeared to be bed-ridden as she was 87 years old. She said that young people face great temptations. Teresita said in part, “I know Mama Mary is hurt, VERY HURT. That is why we need penance. You don’t need to do big things to make penance, even simple things, little things. Just keep close to her. I’m sure She will protect you. I’m sure She will make you good souls, good boys. She will guide you to where She wants you to be. Now that you know Her, I know you will, day by day, pray to Her, and doing so, your love for Her will increase. She will guide you, She will guard you. She will protect you from dangers of body (and soul). I know all of you here who came to visit me, all of you will be blessed by Mama Mary.”
In September of 2015, the Bishop of Lipa released a decree stating that the events and apparitions of Our Lady as Mediatrix of all Grace exhibit supernatural character and they are ‘worthy of belief.’ The document was very thorough with twenty-five supporting statements made with the final declaration which is given below:
SO THEREFORE I, BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE AUTHORITY OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE, THE SEVENTH BISHOP OF THIS LOCAL CHURCH OF LIPA, THE FIFTH ARCHBISHOP OF THIS METROPOLITAN SEE, THE MOST UNWORTHY SERVUS ANCILLAE FILIUS DECLARE WITH MORAL CERTAINTY AND WITH THE BEST INTENTIONS AND HOPES IN MIND, SEEKING THE COMPLIANCE OF THE NORMS OF THE HOLY SEE, ACTING FOR THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD AND ASCERTAINING ALWAYS GREATER LOVE FOR HOLY MOTHER THE CHURCH,
THAT THE EVENTS AND APPARITION OF 1948 ALSO
KNOWN AS THE MARIAN PHENOMENON IN LIPA AND
ITS AFTERMATH EVEN IN RECENT TIMES DO EXHIBIT
SUPERNATURAL CHARACTER AND IS WORTHY OF BELIEF.
THUS I ENCOURAGE THE DEVOTION TO THE MOST HOLY
MOTHER MARY UNDER HER REVERED AND WORTHY
TITLE MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACE.
GIVEN THIS 12th DAY OF SEPTEMBER, FEAST OF THE HOLY NAME OF MARY, OBSERVED IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF LIPA AS FEAST OF MARY, MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACE, IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD, TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.
(signed) RAMON CABRERA ARGUELLES, DD
One of the statements of Archbishop Arguelles’s decree was: “Whereas the Catholic Bishops of China consecrated in 1942 the Church in China to Mary Mediatrix of all grace assuring the fidelity of Catholics to the Church even in the most trying moments thus rendering the Church in China strong and faithful;” There is a reason why the Bishop included this statement in his decree. A prophecy that Teresita received in 1948 was that China (where the communist party had just taken absolute power in 1949 after the Chinese Civil War) would convert only after much suffering. She said, “Pray hard; for (it is) China’s dream to invade the whole world. The Philippines is one of its favorites. Money is the evil force that will lead the people of the world to destruction.” Yet, Our Lady said, “Prayers, sacrifices, self-denials and the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary will soften the heart of my Son.” My comment is that once again, our Holy Mother visited the earth to warn us of danger, this time of atheistic communism. Notice how Chinese Catholic Bishops consecrated their country to Mary Mediatrix of All Grace in 1942 and just six years later Our Loving Mother appears in the nearby Philippines as Mary Mediatrix of All Grace.
Ready for the roller coaster? After Archbishop Arguelles decree was proclaimed, just eight months later, in May 2016, the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) under Cardinal Gerhard Mueller overruled Archbishop Arguelles and rejected his decree declaring that the alleged Marian apparitions in Batangas in 1948 were authentic. Arguelles announced the ruling by the CDF in an archdiocesan letter on May 31. In its decree, the Congregation stated that Pope Pius XII had made a definitive confirmation in 1951 declaring that the apparitions “were not of supernatural origin,” which the local authority had no authority to overrule.
Just six months later on November 16, 2016, Teresita died at the age of 89 years old. Archbishop Ramon Arguelles officiated a Mass at the Carmelite Monastery in Lipa City for Teresita, also known as Sister Teresing. Castillo’s remains were buried at the monastery grounds. My comment is this: I do not think we have heard the last of this apparition!!