Tuesday, August 23, 2005

History of Philippine Lay Carmel

1954: The 1st TOC Community was started in Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Parish, Cubao, Quezon City by Rev. Fr. Fidelis Limcaco, then a Carmelite Friar of St. Elias Province of USA.

1957: The O.Carm. Dutch Province accepted the invitation of Bishop Epifanio Surban, Diocese of Dumaguete to establish a Carmelite Mission in Negros.

1958: The Carmelite Friars started a Parish Community in Escalante, Negros Occidental. Mount Carmel College was established in Balintawak (now New Escalante), Negros Occidental.

O.Carm. Nuns from Maravillas, Spain started a Monastery in Dumaguete City and they organized a TOC Community (Dumaguete Cathedral) soon after.

Msgr. Fidelis Limcaco with some TOC members from Cubao started a TOC Community in the Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish, Sta. Ana, Manila.

1963: Mt. Carmel Seminary was established in New Escalante. Fr. Paul Medina O.Carm. was the first Filipino O.Carm. and a product of the Seminary. Thus, started our own local Carmelites.

1967: The O.Carm. Dutch Province opened a Mission in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

1968: O.Carm. Nuns established the Holy Family Monastery in Meycauayan then moved to Guiguinto, Bulacan.

1978: The Holy Family TOC Community in Guiguinto, Bulacan was organized by the Nuns.

1983: The Our Lady of Miraculous Medal TOC Community in Project 4, Quezon City was founded by Remedios Padilla, TOCarm, a member of Cubao TOC Community.

1984: The Our Lady of Nazareth TOC Community in Cabanatuan City was organized by the Nuns.

1985: The TOC Community of the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary was started. Male TOC members of Guiguinto were integrated into the community.

1986: The Our Lady of Maravillas TOC Community, Sibulan, Negros Oriental, a Monastery-based community was established by the Nuns when the convent was transferred to Sibulan.

1989: The 1st TOC National Consultation was convoked by Fr. Peter Kramer, O.Carm. for the purpose of coming up with “a Common Formation Program and to look into the possibilities of sharing our resources and respond to the demands of our Society and our Church today.” In his letter of invitation dated March 7, 1989 to all TOC Communities, he further wrote: “To realize this, we have to have a National Structure that shall facilitate the coordination of Tertiary activities. This is the reason why we call a National Consultation of Third Order of Carmel.”

Thus the 1st TOC National Consultation was held on April 21-23, 1989 at the Sacro Costato House of Prayer, 13 Scout Magbanua St., Q. C. with the following objectives:

a. To have a common TOC vision.
b. Towards a coordinated Third Order activities.
c. To have a cooperation among Third Order chapters in the Philippines for sharing of resources.

Participants of this 1st national gathering of TOCs came from Sta. Ana, Cubao, Proj 7, Proj 4, Guiguinto, Cabanatuan, Dumaguete and Sibulan Communities.

Some pertinent matters taken during the consultation based on the Minutes prepared:

1. Sharing of TOC Chapter developments, i.e. membership, activities/apostolate, chaplain, meetings, spiritual guidance.

2. Input on Vatican II Document on the Laity given by Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm.:

The question was raised: “How about those who have joined organizations and movements like the Charismatics and then later on they stopped attending our meetings? Shall we follow them up?

Answer: “Our group as Order and a branch of the Carmelite Family has to live the spirit of ‘koinonia’ the strong fraternal spirit of unity, fellowship and love and this should take a priority. Other groups are simple groupings but ours is an Order and a family and this should take the number one importance. We will not follow up those who do not want to be with us, who due to their lack of guidance, do not grasp the real essence of love that shall grow and prosper in our collective undertakings, in our coming together for meetings and prayers and in our adherence to our vision as Carmelite.”

3. Small group discussion on the following guide questions:

a. When you joined the Carmelite Third Order what was your motivation?

i. Special call and charism, which give strength and courage in our everyday life.
ii. Life of prayer, which enhances our other activities whether spiritual or temporal.
iii. Happy death. Wearing of the Scapular will free us from eternal fire.
iv. Closeness to the Nuns. Challenge to help the Nuns.
v. Love and devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
vi. Aspiration to have a better life – life of holiness.
vii. Inspired by the mother-in-law, a TOC.
viii. Attracted to participate in religious activities.
ix. An invitation, a call from Mother Mary.

b. Is being a Carmelite Third Order member an inspiration in your life as a layman/laywoman? Why?

i. Yes because miracles happen from day to day; unstoppable outpouring of graces from the Lord through the Virgin Mary.
ii. Yes because everything asked were granted; receive countless graces; unity in the family and harmony in the office; made things easy in life.
iii. Yes because it answers our aspirations.

4. Fr. Peter explained that the guidelines for the Third Order Carmelites are clearly stated in the manuals (Blue Manual from Aylesford, England and the brown covered Carmel’s Call of USA).There are three (3) parts in the Blue Manual:

a. Spirituality
b. General Statutes
c. Local Statutes (which corresponds to the constitutions in Carmel’s Call and based on local needs)

Comment: The local statutes vary from country to country depending on the needs of the locality. Several options, as long as they are agreed by this body are possible.

5. The 1959 manual for TOC is already outdated so it was suggested to follow the TOC Rule of 1977, which can be found in the Blue Manual. Some topics on spirituality in the 1959 book can be used for reference.

6. From the Local Chapter’s reports and suggestions the following were discussed:

a. Scapular and Brown Habit: Upon reception the member is given a 8” x 6” brown scapular, the traditional habit or any suitable sign. Upon profession, the habit is a brown dress, a white cape and a scapular over the cape. Options will be made in the local chapters regarding black belt, black shoes and white veil.

[This explains why the Filipino Tertiaries have the wrong notion on what should constitute the real HABIT of a TOC. It is not the brown dress but the Brown Scapular. We have rectified this wrong notion at the present time]

b. Educational Materials: This will be under the care of the National Secretariat who will prepare a common syllabus.

c. Format of Business meetings was agreed upon.

d. Spiritual Guidance: The National Secretariat should be informed who is chosen to be the Spiritual Director of a TOC Chapter. The Spiritual director should be consulted when the group invites a priest or another person to give a talk to the tertiaries.

e. Apostolate/Activities: This would depend so much on the needs of the community. Activities may be varied, according the needs of the group, including rallies as long as they are good.

f. Criteria for membership:

i. Baptized in the Catholic Church.
ii. Catholic marriage (if he/she is married).
iii. Edifying life (even if separated but it is not of her/his own fault and provided that he/she is living an edifying life at the time of entrance.)
iv. Practicing Catholic
v. Devoted to Mother Mary
vi. No vices
vii. With commitment
viii. Age 17 and above
ix. With consent from the spouse if married and with the parents or guardians, if single.

g. Financial matters:

Financial contribution, however little, is needed to keep the group going. What should be avoided are exorbitant contributions. The Body approved that each chapter will contribute to the National Body every year to support the TOC National Secretariat’s running expenses.

7. Target activities: a) Campaign for O.Carm. vocations plus financial support; b) Regular communications via newsletter and regular reports; c) Common Education Program

8. Proposed Structure:

a. TOC National Council shall be composed of Priors/Prioresses, Masters/Mistresses of Novices and National Director.

b. The National Body will be under the guidance of the National Director and the daily running will be taken cared of by the Executive Committee and its Secretariat composed of two volunteer Tertiaries who will be chosen for their availability and skills. Avelina Berba and Carmelita Javier were unanimously chosen to be in the Secretariat.

c. Under the Execom shall be the different TOC Local communities.


Out of the three (3) drafts the following was chosen as the TOC Vision garnering 12 votes out of 14 qualified voters:

a. Motivated by Carmel’s call to live a life of holiness through prayers, action and prophetic charism and moved by love and devotion to Our Lord through our Mother Mary of Mt. Carmel, we are challenged to gather strength and courage to face situations of our everyday life by establishing closeness among ourselves and to help one another as members of the Carmelite family.

b. Being a Carmelite Third Order member is an inspiration in our lives as laymen because of the innumerable miracles and graces received, aspirations realized, unity and harmony achieved, religious vocations increased and service to God and to others attained through apostolic work and commitment strengthen.

1990: The 2nd TOC National Convention with the theme “Carmel in the Philippines Towards the Year 2000” was convoked by Fr. Peter Kramer, O.Carm. and held on April 19-22, 1990 at the Immaculate Conception seminary, Guiguinto, Bulacan. Facilitator was Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm.

Some vital and pertinent matters taken up as gathered from the Minutes prepared:

1. The participants came from the following communities: Cabanatuan, Guiguinto, Proj 7, Proj 4, Cubao, Sta. Ana and Dumaguete.

2. Total TOC membership consisted of:

Professed - 645
Novices - 76
Postulants - 52
Total - 773

3. It was agreed that TOC Communities adapt the Blue Manual.

4. The Topic on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation was given by Fr. Crispin Offermanns, O Carm via his talk “Solidarity in the Midst of the People in their Struggle for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation”.

Fr. Crispin explained the integrity of creation and about how to work for the preservation of our Planet Earth. This means to work for life. Our main concerns for the present however are the threats to life such as:

a. Militarization or the Armament race: The threat to life is caused by us and not by God; we want life not death; the answer to this is apostolate of peace.

b. Present Economic World Order: How to earn money in the shortest possible time no matter what it cost; the wish for freedom; God is a just God and a defender of the truth.

c. Indiscriminate Industrialization and Technology: God gave us earth but we don’t own it. We have to develop it, for there is a limit to its capacity to support us.

The challenge of Carmel is for reflection and prayers to move our life to be real witnesses to peace and truth; to promote justice and peace and to live in solidarity; to fight oppression and exploitation; to develop fellowship and respect for one another.

5. Membership:

a. Recruitment/Screening/Pre-requisites (refer to last year’s consultation minutes).

b. Duties/Obligations/Consequences

i. We will not admit sick and disabled
ii. Those professed already but cannot attend meetings anymore because of their sickness should be briefed about the chapter’s meetings and recitation of the Little Office should be followed. (These are called Hermit membership)
iii. Three (3) consecutive absences – may be cancelled from the list.

6. Carmelite pins – may be worn but not compulsory.

7. Attendance/Absences:

a. If the member has no desire to continue, he/she may be dropped.

b. If he/she continues to be absent and does not heed the local officers, then they can be referred to the National Council for proper guidance and action.

c. If a member is in non-attendance of meetings and uses the scapular for healing, said member can be referred to the National Council for proper guidance and action.

8. Difference between Vows and Promises:

a. Promise – is what a person will or wishes to do in a lifetime.

b. Vow – is a religious commitment.

1991: The St. Rafael TOC Community, Balut, Tondo was started by members from the Sta. Ana Community.

1992: Fr. Paul Medina, O Carm, then the National Director of the Lay Carmelite of the Philippines initiated the printing of the Amended Blue Book Manual.

The 3rd TOC National Convention was convoked by Fr. Peter Kramer, O.Carm., National Director and scheduled for April 23-26, 1992 at the Maria Assumpta Seminary, Cabanatuan City. Facilitator of the Convention was Fr. Paul Medina, O Carm. The theme was: “Organizing TOC Towards the year 2000”. A draft of the Local Statutes was prepared by an ad hoc commission and same was ratified during the convention.

Some pertinent matters taken up as gathered from the Minutes prepared by Avelina Berba, TOCarm:

1. Official representatives came from Sta. Ana, Project 4, Tondo, Proj 7, Guiguinto and Cabanatuan. Delegation from Dumaguete was not able to attend.

2. Expectations gathered from the participants were: the improvement of the local statutes; finding solutions to problems; knowing the relevance of the statutes for the year 2000; for the improvement of interrelationships.

4. The assembly approved the use of such new terms as:

· Local community for the Local Chapter
· Spiritual Assistant in place of Spiritual Director
· Spiritual Assistant may be a parish priest, a religious sister, a priest or lay person
· National Delegate instead of National Director
· Formation Directress/Director for Novice Mistress
· Lay Carmelite Order for Third Order Carmelites.

5. Fr. Peter Kramer O.Carm. taught a short song to the group which goes like this: “Into the land of Carmel, I brought you to gather loads of charming fruits.”

6. The draft of the Local Statutes was ratified on April 26, 1992 to take effect on July 16, 1992.

1993: The Divine Mercy TOC Community of Sikatuna Village, Quezon City was started by Ester Pascua, TOCarm, a member of Project 4 TOC Community.

1994: Two TOC Communities was founded: a) Our Lady of the Assumption TOC Community in Guinobatan, Albay by Lourdes Nuyles, TOCarm, a member from Project 4, Quezon City b) Our Lady of Mount Carmel TOC Community of New Escalante, Negros Occidental.

1995: The foundation of the Sacred Heart TOC Community in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. Also, the Immaculate Conception TOC Community, Sta. Cruz, Laguna was started.

Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm., presided over the 1st National Formators Convention for the TOC.

1996: The 5th TOC National Convention was held at the St. Joseph Seminary, Sibulan, Negros Oriental on April 11-14, 1996 with the following theme: “Journeying in Carmel Towards AD 2000”

Some vital issues of the Agenda taken up and resolved during the Convention as gathered from the minutes prepared by Nenita Mananquil, Assistant Secretary of the 5th National Convention:
a. Approval of the TOC Curriculum – Phase 1 and Phase II Formation Curriculum prepared by Tom Zeitvogel, TOCarm.

b. Dress Code:

· Aspirants/Postulants – Ordinary dress with small scapular.
· Novices – prescribed brown dress with ceremonial scapular with white strap, white veil.
· Juniors – Prescribed brown dress & ceremonial scapulars with striped strap and short cape, white veil.
· Solemn Professed – prescribed brown dress & ceremonial scapular with striped strap, long cape and white veil.

c. Dues: Monthly dues for members of Local Communities. It was agreed that 10% of monthly dues and whatever resources the community can share will go to the National Council.

d. Trainor’s Training: It was agreed by a majority of 35 votes that a Trainor’s Training shall be done per Region. Transportation and stipend of resource persons shall be shouldered by Communities.

· Vision: It was hoped that in the year 2000 there would be more comprehensive and well trained TOC formators in all regions.
· Mission: To form desirable and effective methods to be applied.
· Goals: To attain general education foundation in the new Toc Curriculum for the year 2000.
· Objectives:
i. To develop skills needed by facilitators.
ii. To provide knowledge of the use of visual aids.
iii. To discover new teaching techniques.
iv. To ensure effective methods to be applied.
v. To be able to plan in achieving mastery on teaching the new curriculum.

e. Regional Coordinators: RC to become members of the National Council.
· Regional meetings must be led by Regional Coordinators.
· RC must inform the National Council of any problem in the Community.

f. Carmel Youth:
· Vision: To develop future Carmelites.
· Mission: They should truly understand and infuse Carmelite life.
· Goal: To be able to invite youth to be committed and remain Carmelite.
· Activities:

a. A film showing of Carmelite life.
b. Involve them in choirs.
c. To serve youth with food to fill them physically during gatherings.
d. Expose them to Carmelite meetings.
e. Involve High School and college students and young professional (12-25 years).

g. Policy on attendance:

· Three consecutive absences without excuse, a member must be visited by members of Local Council. If member still does not obey, a drastic action may be taken.
· Those who go abroad and return have to see the National Director who shall assess the situation; he decides if he/she can resume and start anew or re-enter.
· For those who transfer from one community to another, from the Philippines to abroad, from one Order to another, the National Director shall make evaluation.
· For those taking a vacation for a year or so, they have to inform the National Director.
· When a member is expelled or dropped thru the consensus of the Council it must be relayed to the National Director and he responds in an official letter to declare his/her expulsion.

h. YCPF (Young Carmel Philippine Foundation) was launched during the Convention c/o Rey Caigoy, O.Carm.

1998: The following TOC Communities were founded:

a. Our Lady of the Rosary TOC Community, Rosario, Agusan del Sur.
b. St. Michael TOC Community, Bahbah, Prosperidad, Agusan.
c. San Isidro Labrador TOC Community, Palawan
d. Our Lady of Fatima TOC Community, Las Piñas City.

The 6th TOC National Convention was held at the Maria Assusmpta Seminary, Cabanatuan City on April 24-26, 1998 with the following theme: “Deepening Commitment in Carmel Towards the Year 2000”. The objectives were:

a. To realize God’s love dispels all fears.
b. To revitalize local TOC communities through spiritual activities.
c. To systematize recruitment and formation program.

Some vital and pertinent matters taken up and resolved during the Convention based on Minutes prepared:

1. Dress Code:

Female: Type A: Official one-piece burnt brown dress with Scapular, white veil and black shoes. For the professed a mantle is included. Type B: Brown dress any cut with Scapular and veil.

Male: Type A: Brown pants, plain barong with long sleeves; Type B: Brown pants and polo-barong, white; Type C: Brown pants and white polo shirt.

2. Priority to TOC: As Lay Carmelites we are expected to remain faithful to the call and therefore has consecrated ourselves to the Carmelite Family. To affiliate self to other organizations if need arises must not take away the priority to Carmel.

3. Absenteeism of TOCs and Disciplinary Action: Three consecutive unexplained absences must be dealt with by the Council first by paying the member a visit to find a remedy to what ails him/her. Disciplinary action shall be undertaken for uncommitted members.

4. On Hermitage: When a Lay Carmelite should become incapacitated to attend meetings and other Community activities, a member may apply for Hermitage. Her presence may be dispensed with but her prayer life should remain committed for the nourishment of her Carmelite Family.

5. Persons who are no longer a member of the Third Order shall not be allowed to wear the Ceremonial Brown Scapular.

2000: Our Lady of Pilar TOC Community in Las Piñas City was established.

The 7th National TOC Convention was held in Titus Brandsma Center on April 28-30, 2000. The theme of the Convention was: “Witnessing in Carmel Towards the New Millenium”.

The objectives of the convention were:

a. Systematization of the Third Order structure and program in the local, regional and national level.
b. Formalization of Commissions and Committees in the Third Order.
c. Delineation of Roles, Tasks and Functions of the Third Order Officers and Heads of Commissions and Committees.

Formation program as approved by the General Assembly:

TOC Formation Program by Nimfa C. Tangcuangco, TOCarm

1. Aims and objectives: a.) To ensure that all TOC communities have a uniform Orientation and Formation; b) to ensure that the present Curriculum is strictly followed.

2. Proposed guidelines presented:

A. Reorganize and re-activate the National Formation commission (NFC)

· Only members who are really willing and able to contribute their time and effort should be appointed as members of this commission.
· The NFC shall handle the preparation of Study Modules to be given.
· The NFC shall make a one year plan of action for the Formation Series taking into consideration separate formation for Aspirants, Postulants, Novices and Professed.
· The NFC shall give training seminars to the members of the Formation Giving Body.

B. Create a Formation Giving Body (FGB) to be composed of all Formation Directors/resses, members of the Education Ministry of the local communities, Student Friars, Carmelite friars and other TOC members with teaching capabilities and qualifications willing and able to contribute their time and talents to such endeavor.

C. The FGB shall work directly under and in coordination with the NFC. This Body shall take charge of giving formation seminars to all TOC members as pre-requisite for admission and profession.

D. The FGB shall be further sub-divided into the following groups.

· Aspirancy/Postulancy group: To give formation talks to Aspirants and Postulants.
· Novitiate Group: To give formation talks to Novices
· Juniorate group: To give formation talks in preparation for Solemn Profession
· Professed group: To give on-going and growth talks for all professed members.

E. The FGB shall be tasked to give Certificate of Attendance to those who have finished a certain course. This certificate will thus be required before one can be admitted to the Order. Ex: Before one can be admitted as a Postulant, he or she has to present a Certificate of Attendance relative to IFA-01 and IFA-02.

F. The venue for the formation series to be given by the FGB shall be Titus Brandsma Center. This pertains to the NCR, Las Pinas, Laguna, Bulacan and Cabanatuan Communities.

G. Another Center will be established for the Visayas and mindano communities.

H) Deadline for the creation of the FGB: one month after the National Convention – May 31, 2000.

I) Effectivity date: Three (3) months after the creation of the FGB.

The highlight of the affair was the formation of the TOC National Leadership Body called the National Council and the election of the 1st batch of officers as follows:

National Prioress - Nimfa C. Tangcuangco
Nat’l Formation Directress - Nanette Mananquil
National Secretary - Mila Exconde
National Treasurer - Dolores Galicia
National Auditor - Lyn Garcia
Regional Coordinators:
NCR - Philip Escudero
Luzon - Flor A’Jose
Visayas - Tessie Villegas
Mindanao - Josefina Hibaya

NOTE: In October, 2000 Nanette Mananquil resigned as National Formation Directress and Jose S. Generoso III, TOCarm replaced her.


Anonymous said...

I have been a Third Order Carmelite for almost 10 years and have learned and started to live the Spirituality. Without hesitation I say I am a committed Third Order member and as one, I find the articles written here further help deepen my understanding of the Order's charism. Please keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

To all the carmelites nuns of the carmelites monastery of the holy family at guiguinto bulacan especially SR. BENEDICTA and SR. GERALDINE i know that this word is not enough to show my care and love to all of you but i wanna say THANK YOU. ILOVEYOU! Mwaaah!

angie +M

Anonymous said...

To all the carmelites nuns of the carmelites monastery of the holy family at guiguinto bulacan especially SR. BENEDICTA and SR. GERALDINE i know that this word is not enough to show my care and love to all of you but i wanna say THANK YOU. ILOVEYOU! Mwaaah!

angie +M
april 27, 2008