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This Filipina nun’s legacy continues through the order of nuns she established

ROSARIO ARROYO
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Mother Rosario Arroyo is much loved and often invoked. Some say her intercession has already brought miracles.

Maria Beatrice Rosario Arroyo was born on February 17, 1884, in Molo, Philippines. She was the only daughter born to  Ignacio Arroyo and Maria Podal; the Arroyos also had two sons. Three days after Maria’s birth she was baptized in St. Anna’s Church in Molo and officially named Maria Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo. 

Maria’s family was well to do, and her parents were well known for their generous almsgiving. The Arroyo sons and daughter were taught the importance and virtue of giving of themselves at an early age. This virtuous sense of self-giving became part of who they were, especially Maria.

The young woman could have lived a life of luxury, but her upbringing had left her keenly aware of the misery and plight of the poor and downtrodden. Her compassion for others was genuine and intense. Maria was unspoiled by the quality and abundance of material things that were hers for the taking. She just wanted to share what she could with those less fortunate.

Maria began attending the Colegio de San Jose around the time of her First Holy Communion. This school was run by the Daughters of Charity, and she remained here until she finished her elementary education. From there, she began the initial steps toward religious life. She entered the Convent of St. Catalina in Manila and made her profession of vows on January 3, 1914.

Despite coming from affluence and having great wealth, Maria chose a life of poverty, devoting her life to the poor. She entered the Dominican Order and with the help of two other Dominican nuns, created the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary. The date was February 18, 1927. From that point forward, she was known as Mother Rosario Arroyo.

The Congregation continued to grow and, after 32 years in existence, the First General Chapter was convened. Meeting from January 3-6, 1953, Mother Rosario was elected the First Superior General of the Order. She served for three and a half years before heart failure caused her passing on June 14, 1957. 

Mother Rosario’s legacy has spread itself around the entire world. Her order runs schools, colleges, retreat houses, and convents, not only in 10 dioceses and archdioceses in the Philippines but also has a membership of over 250 serving people in the Mariana Islands, the Diocese of Ngong in Kenya, several cities in Italy, and in the United States in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii. In all, the nuns run 31 schools, two colleges, two retreat houses, a charitable institution, and a clinic. Another 40 or more sisters work in foreign missions.

Reports of miracles attributed to Mother Rosario have been credible enough that the cause for her canonization is underway. On July 28, 2009, the process was initiated by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Philippines. Based on evidence of miraculous cures that had occurred, the official opening of Mother Rosario’s cause took place on October 7, 2009. The ceremonies were conducted at the parish church of St. Anne, in Molo, Mother Rosario’s birthplace.

Miracles that saved people from aneurysm, leukemia, and cancer were among the first documented. In 1983, a Manila woman, Angela Palma, who had been diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to live, prayed to Mother Rosario to be cured. The cancer was found to be gone, and in 2003 she was still alive without medical explanation for her survival.

Another reported miracle involved a woman with leukemia. In 2004, she was miraculously cured after the intercession of Mother Rosario was invoked. A year later, she was found to be disease free without ever having had any blood transfusion or chemotherapy.

These are just two examples of purported miracles that have taken place because of Mother Rosario’s intercession.

On June 11, 2019, Mother Rosario Arroyo (Maria Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo) was declared by Pope Francis to be a woman of “heroic virtue” and now bears the title Venerable Rosario Arroyo. If any of the miracles credited to her intercession are verified, then she will be ready to progress toward beatification.

Venerable Rosario Arroyo; we ask for your prayers.

 

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