Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Trials of Sr. Teresita Castillo

"Meditate on this and see how much the Mother and Son worked and suffered together to save the world."

-Message of BVM to Sr. Teresita Castillo, 18 Sep. 1948, on the meeting at Calvary

Among the many mystical experiences attributed to Sr. Teresita Castillo during her days at Lipa Carmel, few stand out as much as her reported encounters with the Evil One, in holy ground, no less. But there are others, positive ones, as well.

On her first few nights at the convent, Teresita was said to have been visited by the devil himself. She described him as being enveloped in a foul odor, of short stature (5'5), and having the most repugnant face wreathed in flame. The devil, she said, would often tempt her to leave the holy place, citing the grievances and great pains she had caused her family by her 'disobedience.' Teresita narrates that, on one occasion, the devil finally revealed himself to her. It was a terrible sight, the culminating note in a series of diabolical encounters. She describes how the devil would often mock her and strip her of her clothing; her bed would shake, and her arms would be covered with welts for days at a time. She attributes this to the times the devil would take the discipline from her bedside table and beat her furiously with it. Follows a brief narration of Teresita's final encounter with the Adversary, two days after the Feast of the Immaculate Heart. She had fled to a stairway leading to the prioress' cell when the attack happened.

"I felt that somebody grabbed my hands but I couldn't see anybody. And I said, "Natatalo na ako!" ["I'm losing!"] So I was holding on to the rails, trying to fight for myself, really. I wanted to go up. Fortunately, Mother Cecilia [ the prioress ] was out of her office... And so she saw me, so she went to me and tried to help me, and afterwards she told me that parang [ it was as if ] somebody is also pulling me downstairs whereas Mother Cecilia was pulling me upstairs. So I thought my body would be in halves already!"

Mother Cecilia also reports that she heard Teresita scream at one point in the struggle, "I have no eyes to see your indecencies!" Reportedly, the Devil had been insulting Sr. Teresita's mother, the Prioress, as well as screaming obscenities about the Bishop. The attack lasted all through the night, only ending at the sound of the community bell, at roughly a quarter before five in the morning. It was then that the prioress had discovered that Teresita had become mysteriously blind. The bond that developed between Mother Cecilia and Sr. Teresita was forged in the crucible of mystical experience. In one of her first appearances to Teresita, the Virgin asked her to wash the prioress' feet in a basin and to drink the water after. Many who doubted the veracity of the events of Lipa (and sadly, even some in Carmel!) maliciously cited this incident as proof of a lesbian relationship between the two. We must recall, however, that at Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin also asked Bernadette Soubirous to eat a little grass and to drink of muddy water three times. These are odious to our sensibilities because of our great pride. Thus Teresita's actions were a sign of profound humility, to the great frustration of the Evil One.

Unbeknownst to Sr. Teresita, Mother Cecilia herself had been receiving locutions from the Virgin. She was told by the Virgin that Teresita's eyesight would be restored on 7th September, the eve of Our Lady's Nativity. When that day had come, Bishop Alfredo Obviar, the auxiliary of Lipa, visited Carmel, and was told of Teresita's condition. Teresita herself felt the sign of the cross being made on her eyes, and immediately after that, began to see again. But it was not the signum crucis, but the kiss of the Mother Prioress.

Sr. Teresita, however, would also suffer another mystical phenomenon, although much later, when the apparitions of Our Lady were already taking place. She was said to have had 'visions of the Sacred Heart, of a multitude of angels and saints, of St. Cecilia and St. Therese of Lisieux in particular, and of a Lady with whom she took long walks in a lovely garden full of birds and flowers.' But perhaps most mysteriously of all, Sr. Teresita was also seen to lose consciousness, 'and then to silently re-enact, while lying on the floor, the agony of Christ on the Cross-- a phenomenon witnessed by the Prioress, Bishop Obviar, and the rest of the community.' The Lady had warned her that she would suffer much, and suffer Teresita did. Today, five decades after leaving Carmel, she remains obedient to the command of the Church to remain silent on the apparitions, but that may soon change, as the case of Lipa has been re-opened. Perhaps, that was the greatest suffering she could bear, to keep the message of Our Lady to herself.


christopher said...

What is her state in life now? Who did she go to live with and where? What was her stated reason for leaving the convent rather than staying and suffering more? Sorry, I just have a million questions about this since it's so new to me.

Archistrategos said...

Sr. Teresita left the convent in 1951, I think, after the apparitions were declared to be a "hoax". She went to visit the Papal Nuncio, Egidio Vagnozzi, to inform him of her decision, but was reportedly all but manhandled by the hotheaded prelate. She met with Mother Cecilia Zialcita, her former prioress, a couple of more times; it was on her advice that she exited Carmel, for the greater good of Our Lady's message (as she would not be required to ask for permission from potentially hostile prelates); the next two years following her exit were spent in great sorrow, for she loved the community very much. She lives in Manila at current, never married, but adopted a daughter, Grace. It is reported that she still receives messages from the BVM these days, and in obedience to the Church, has never violated her sanction to not speak about the matter too openly.

It is a very interesting story. The verdict of the Bishops, and how it was reached, absolutely reeks of corruption. It is rumored that the Nuncio may have had a part to play in the censorship. I will post more on this in the coming days, and hopefully, upload the sworn statements of the Prioress as well.

Archistrategos said...

Sr. Teresita is also reported to have received Holy Communion from an angel once, when she was too sick to attend Mass. Curiously, the three seers of Fatima also experienced this phenomenon.