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Blessing of the Villa Maria Seminar/Retreat House

Submitted by: rgsphil
On: 14/09/2019


Untying of Ribbon led by Sr. Regina Kuizon, province leader, Sr. Edna Fuentes, Villa Maria local leader and Sr. Loreen Granada, in-charge of the retreat house September 14,2019. Today is the Blessing of the Villa Maria Seminar/Retreat House.

Photo: Untying of ribbon led by Sr. Regina Kuizom, Sr. Edna Fuentes and Sr. Loreen Granada.

It took 600 working days, exactly one year and 71/2 months for the Villa Maria Community to build it. Now simply named Villa Maria.

While still being finalized, already there are advanced bookings from the Visayas and Mindanao by both priests and lay groups. Villa Maria can accommodate as many as a hundred in air conditioned rooms .

Today is a Saturday, Mary’s day. It is also the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Graciously willing to officiate at the Blessing was Fr. Heinz Kulueke SVD, former Superior General of the Society of Divine Word (2012-2018), who came to Cebu at the end of his term to resume his involvement in our ministry to the girl victims of sex trafficking.

All who came to the Blessing were invited afterwards to a sumptuous lunch which became a reunion of old-time friends and benefactors.

Live Jesus and Mary!

- Sr. M. Fe Mendoza RGS

              Villa Maria is a Love Story…

By Sr. M. Regina PIL RGS

It was Love that moved our superior general and her council to accept the invitation of them Archbishop Julio Rosales to have a Good Shepherd Home in his archdiocese. Love moved our missionary sisters from Ireland and the U.S.A. to respond to the invitation.

Thus on July 9 1951, two sisters American and Irish, accompanied by two Filipina auxiliaries set foot in Cebu City, temporarily occupying the former residence of the Archbishop. IN August, they were joined by two young and newly professed Filipina sisters. By 1954, the sisters and girls who were put under their care transferred to their permanent home in Banawa.

At first there was only one building—the girls’ building—the followed the Chapel and the Sisters’ Covent in 1955. By this time they had 254 girls under their care “It was time to think of putting up another building” was the annals state. And so sometime in the late 50s, this building where we are standing on now, was constructed. It was to house, St. Ursula’s School.

From that time, until now the three buildings have undergone many changes. St. Ursula’s school was closed in 1972 and the sisters implemented the “Definite Thrust of Community Development, Instead of formal education, the sisters now offered vocational courses. The building became known as the Good Shepherd Training Center (GSTC). The sisters reached out to the out-of-school youth living in the surrounding hills. Sitios were organized through bible study groups and forming Mothers’ Clubs.

The GSTC became a beehive of informal education and eventually retreat and seminar house to support the varied ministries/apostolates of the Good Shepherd. However after more than half a century of constant use, it bore the marks of deterioration and degeneration. It was no longer attractive to prospective customers. Hence, the need for the Renovation. But where to get the funds to undergo a MAJOR OVERHAULING? Together with our lay staff, we waited and prayed for a long time…

Again, LOVE came to the rescue… what will be blessed now is a MIRACLE OF LOVE.

LOVE AT THE SERVICE OF MISSION. Whatever will be earned from Villa Maria will be used for our ministries to girls and women in need of healing and wholeness.

Villa Maria, Good Shepherd Convent,
Banawa Hills, Guadalupe, Cebu City, Philippines.
Tel.No. 254-16-31.
Photos: Courtesy of Sr. Elena Jalop, Sr. Regina Kuizon and Fr. Nico Perez CSsR