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Introduction of Sr. Justine Rosales, DC at the Eucharistic Celebration commemorating 147 years of DC presence at Hospicio de San Jose

 

 

Good morning and with joyful hearts, welcome to you all!

Year 2012 is a year of thanksgiving for us, Daughters of Charity, most especially for us here in Hospicio de San Jose.  Why?  Because of the following reasons:  First, we are celebrating the 150 years of presence of the Daughters of Charity in the Philippines and secondly, June 1, 1865, 147 years ago, the Daughters of Charity took over the management and administration of Hospicio de San Jose.  Thirdly, because we received many blessings from God through our donors and benefactors enabling us to fulfill our dreams for the poor:  the Sanctuary for Abused Women and Children, inaugurated last March 19, the soon to open Residence for Women and Children Living with HIV-AIDs, and these two projects of ours that we are launching today:  150 Sponsorships for Children and Older Persons and Daily Lunch for 150 street peoples and families.


Since we are celebrating today 147 years of service of the Daughters of Charity in this institution, let us recall the beginnings of Hospicio de San Jose briefly.  It is a love story that started in God’s heart, nurtured in the hearts of a generous couple who sowed the seeds of a giant tree, towering over countless care-giving institutions.  It was in 1778 when a benevolent and grateful couple donated P4,000 for a hospice for the poor. Don Francisco Gomez Enriquez, having been cured of a fever said this was a thanksgiving offering that he had promised to God.  In his will, he and his wife, Dona Barbara Verzosa also donated P24,000.  Other donations were added later to the principal fund such as the P25,000 which was a legacy of Don Felipe Cerain.  Three years later Dona Barbara died and Don Francisco was called to Spain by the King.  The funds left were transferred to Obras Pias, a charitable organization.  On Dec. 27, 1806, the King of Spain issued a decree providing for the establishment of Real Hospicio in Manila.  At the end of December, 1810, the sheltering of the poor and needy was carried out.  It was first established in Arroceros St., corner Concepcion St., Manila. 
The interference of the liberal City Council called Ayuntamiento, the inadequate financial  support of the government, the wars of America and the paralization of foreign commerce almost  brought an end to the existence of Real Hospicio.  Hence, Hospicio was closed for 12 years. (1832-1844).  General Ricafort, the most active and industrious governor general at that time worked hard to gather funds and suggested to the King of Spain ways to remedy Hospicio’s financial concerns and the King granted all his requests.    On November, 1844 Real Hospicio was re-opened in Nagtahan .

In 1862, by royal decree of Queen Isabella II of Spain, the Daughters of Charity came to the Philippines and in June 1, 1865 the Daughters of Charity took over the management and internal administration of Hospicio upon the invitation of Dona Margarita Roxas de Ayala.  Sor Josefa Rivas, DC was its energetic and exceedingly compassionate Superior for forty years  and was also in-charge of services like the kitchen, the laundry and cleaning.  Sor Gaspara Melchor took care of the young girls, saving 100 of them from the plague before succumbing to the disease.  Sor Petra Echevarria took care of the demented and mentally ill.

On November 21, 1873, Real Hospicio was permanently established on this island.  In 1901, during the American regime, the US government tried to claim Real Hospicio as a government property because it was created by a royal decree of the King of Spain.  To block the controversial claim, Hospicio’s Board invited the Archbishop of Manila to join them and later on became its Chairman, which remains until today.  St. Joseph became the Patron Saint and the institution was renamed as Hospicio de San Jose. 

In 1910, under the able stewardship of the Daughters of Charity, Hospicio served as an orphanage, a home for the aged, an asylum for the mentally ill, a reform school for boys, a refuge for girls and a home for abandoned babies where they were properly fed and well taken cared of.

According to Morilla Maria Norton, who penned the chapter “ San Jose Asylum” in the 1911 book titled “ Charity in the Philippines”, where she depicts the achievements of the Daughters of Charity, she ends with a quote on how “ noble purpose, order, patience, enlightened by a spirit of Charity, even in a limited environment, can accomplish wonders.” The acquisition and maintenance of various properties of Hospicio can be attributed to their economical ways and good management. 
The Daughters of Charity have been recognized as the forerunner of social work in the Philippines.  The Sisters have been faithful to the charism of their founders:  St. Vincent de Paul ( Patron of Charitable Works) and St. Louise de Marillac ( Patroness of Christian Social Workers).  For 147 years, Hospicio stands as a testimony of the uninterrupted service of the Daughters of Charity to the poorest of the poor:  the old and the young, the able and disabled from the “womb to the tomb” and even beyond the four walls of the institution to run to the relief of victims of disasters and calamities and to eradicate the hunger of street peoples and families.  So, we have thousands of reasons to celebrate this day in thanksgiving to God for allowing us to be His channel of charity to the “least” of His brethren.  So, with hearts full of joy and gratitude, let us all rise to sing our praises to God.