Miracle of Rose Petals revisited

Could it be that the miracle of the rose petals that reportedly took place in Lipa, Batangas in 1948 is still alive and in full scented bloom today? According to accounts from that period, the Blessed Mother appeared several times to a young novitiate, Sister Teresita Castillo, who witnessed the unexplainable manifestation of rose petals in her bedroom, and around the convent. In August 2013, we escorted the family of the wife’s cousin, Lourdes Florencio-Templado, and her husband, Corsini, a medical doctor, and their son, Chester, to the Carmelite convent of Our Lady of Mediatrix in Antipolo del Norte, Lipa City to hear mass and to pay homage to Our Lady. The occasion led to a chance encounter with Bishop Ramon C. Arguelles, who offered mass that morning. [caption id="attachment_79987" align="aligncenter" width="576"] Facade of Our Lady of Mediatrix Convent in Lipa City. Photo by Jao Cuartero.[/caption] Weeks later, Lulu and her family flew back to Redding, northern California, where they reside on top of a hill. One morning, Lulu found something unusual on top of her prayer book at her own private chapel within the house. She was surprised to see a dry rose petal therein. She thought it was impossible to find something as remote as a rose petal in her chapel when there wasn’t a single twig, much less a bouquet of roses in the area. Lulu dismissed the incident but neatly filed the petal within the pages of her book. A few days after, she saw another dry rose petal at the foot of the statue of the Blessed Mother in the very same chapel. She has not found a suitable explanation for the little mystery in her household except to believe that the Blessed Mother must be keeping an eye on her. Lulu, a devout Catholic, is president of the Legion of Mary in her parish and an active church worker. Lulu’s story serves as a good take-off point in the light of a renewed church investigation on the so-called Miracle of the Shower of Rose Petals in Lipa in 1948. A book called Miracle of the Rose Petals was published recently by the archdiocese of Lipa recounting the stories of people who claim that they had been healed by Mary Mediatrix. The book, edited by Aloma Monte de los Reyes, unveils first-person confessionals by men and women who believe they had been touched by Lipa’s miracle of the roses. It was published by the Commission on Research and Documentation (CORD) by the Archdiocese of Lipa-Batangas and sent to me as a gift by my old high school friend, Dr. Robert Magsino. In his introduction, Bishop Arguelles writes that the intent of the publication is to reach many more simple faithful, who trust only in God and in the Blessed Virgin Mother. ‘They need this spiritual assurance that the heavenly blessings are never wanting,’ he continues. For Arguelles, Lipa is the place where a lot of these graces are experienced. One of these is an account by Aleli Guzman-Quirino, a medical doctor, who confessed that her daughter Militza was downed by a series of complications that started with a case of small pox in 1948. The situation so alarmed Aleli and her husband, Tony, who watched over her while in confinement for many days at a Manila hospital as her condition threatened to deteriorate every day. One time, recalls Aleli in her article, a visiting friend gave them a rose petal picked up all the way from the Carmelite convent in Lipa. Having strong faith in Mother Mary, the couple decided to slip the rose petal into Militza’s pillow. Then, Tony had a brighter idea. He skilfully inserted the petal between two slices of graham crackers and offered it to his daughter as a sandwich. After Militza had consumed the sandwich, she felt miraculously better and asked for her first glass of drink in many days. That signalled her road to recovery after having gone through convulsions, intimating death days before. The book lists down a total of 58 testimonials written by varied sources who all claim they had experienced either the shower of rose petals or healing caused by them. Some of them, such as the confession by Col. Felix V. Duenas, are actually letters sent to Arguelles by concerned citizens, who believe they had been healed after visits to Our Lady. Col. Duenas wrote that he was able to lift his injured arm after praying to Mary, and that signalled his road to recovery. The confession stories are titled thus: A Widow’s Thanks, No More operations, I live Only Because Of Prayers, Sweet Fragrance, I Was Saved, I Was Helped, A Man’s Faith, A Muslim from Jolo, Sulu, Ang Milagro sa Aking Buhay. The public sharers have a common goal in mind in sharing their stories. They want the Catholic Church to reverse an earlier church ruling declaring the shower of roses a hoax and at last recognize the truth behind the Lipa miracle. (nescuar@yahoo.com)