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FIRST FEMALE CATHOLIC SAINT

Filipino nun, an Arroyo scion, nearing canonization

ILOILO CITY—The country moves a step closer to having its first female Catholic saint after Pope Francis declared the “heroic virtue” of Filipino nun Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo, founder of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary, the Vatican News reported on Wednesday.

The Vatican News, the Vatican’s information portal, said the Pope had authorized the promulgation of decrees on the causes of canonization of eight prospective saints, including Arroyo.

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“With the promulgation of the decrees of martyrdom and of heroic virtue, the Servants of God are granted the title ‘Venerable.’ The next stage in the ‘causes’ would be beatification, followed ultimately by canonization,” according to the report.

The stages also include citing the “intercessory power” of the prospective saint by proving “a miracle for the beatification stage and a second one for the canonization stage through scientific and theological examinations.”

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Born Maria Beatrice del Rosario Arroyo on Feb. 17, 1884, at Molo District in Iloilo City, Mother Rosario is the grand-aunt of former first gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo. She is the only daughter of Ignacio Arroyo and Maria Pidal and the sister of Mariano and Jose Miguel’s grandfather, Sen. Jose Ma. Arroyo.

The Arroyos were originally from Iloilo before they migrated to Negros Occidental province.

Mother Rosario’s remains lie at a mausoleum inside the Dominican Mother House in Molo District.

 

Sanctity

In an edict issued on July 28, 2009, then Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo authorized the start of the process for her canonization, which was formally petitioned by the postulator, Fr. Samson Silloriquez.

Lagdameo said in his edict that the Catholic Church had verified “the existence of a true and widespread reputation of sanctity enjoyed by Mother Rosario Arroyo during her life and even after her death.”

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He cited Mother Rosario’s life as a scion of a wealthy family who opted to live a simple life and enter the convent and later founded a congregation.

She donated her family inheritance to the congregation and lived a life “detached from material and worldly goods,” according to the edict.

“As a religious, she was an example [in] the observance of vows, the Holy Rule and community life. Her life mirrored the virtues of purity and innocence, deep simplicity and profound humility, ardent love for the poor, the sick and needy,” Lagdameo had said.

Mother Rosario had four brothers but two died in infancy. Jose, the elder brother, was a lawyer who became a senator in 1917 while Mariano, a doctor, was Iloilo governor in 1928, according to her biography prepared by the Mother Rosario Arroyo Commission.

Growing up on a family tradition of almsgiving, she was exposed to the misery and plight of the poor and developed her compassion for them.

She entered the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Sta. Catalina de Siena in Manila on Jan. 3, 1914, at 27. With the help of two other nuns, Mother Rosario or “Madre Sayong” to many, founded the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary congregation on Feb. 18, 1927.

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TAGS: Arroyo scion, canonization, female Catholic saint, Filipino nun, Philippines
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