History

            In the year 1920, a group of six pious women from Lipa, led by Doña Laura Mendoza, went to Bauan, Batangas upon the prodding of Bishop Alfredo Verzosa, first Filipino bishop of Lipa to found a school and to assist in the catechetical ministry of the parish.  They established the Colegio de Sta. Teresa, a school for girls.

            This group of six women lived in community and their activities were directed by Doña Laura.   Later on, Bishop Verzosa wanted to form the community in to a religious institute to assist the local Church in the education of young girls and in teaching catechism in distantant barrios.  Other young ladies soon joined the pioneering community. 

            The community was named Congregacion de Maria de la Enseñanza Cristiana (Congregation of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Christian Instruction) which was canonically erected as a religious institute of Diocesan Right on May 1, 1923 by Bishop Verzosa. 

            In the same year, Bishop Verzosa invited the Augustinian sisters to formally train the community in the Augustinian way of life.  In 1925, Madre Laura got sick and left for Lipa for her much needed rest.  She was unaware that this would be her final goodbye to her sisters in Bauan.  Left without a leader, the community was later on disbanded by Bishop Verzosa.  Some sisters joined the Augustinians and the others joined the Franciscans which have established an assylum in Bauan. 

            Back in Lipa, Madre Laura busied her self assisting in the parish's catechetical ministry.  In 1927, she moved to a "camalig" (warehouse) where she took care of young orphans.  She named the "camalig" Asilo de Sagrado Corazon de Jesus.  The house also seeks to be a shelter to other women who would be interested in joining her in her mission of catechesis. 

            Not long after, 3 catechists from barrio Lodlod braved the rains on a stormy day to seek refuge in the Asilo.  With this group of three young ladies, Madre Laura intensified her work of catechesis.  Later on, some other girls joined the group. They cleaned and decorated the Church, sang during holy masses, catechized children and adults, and facilitated retreats for young women.  This group of pious women, who remained nameless until 1945 continued their work of catechesis and continued to live in community even during the Second World War. 

            In 1945, through the untiring efforts of Bishop Verzosa in seeking Ecclesiastical recognition for Madre Laura's group of catechists, Monsignor Guillermo Piani, then Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines, restored the former institute founded by Bishop Verzosa and Madre Laura but he suggested to rename the institute to better define it and to distinguish it from the already existing Religious of the Virgin Mary congregation.  The group was given the name Missioneras Catequistas (de Lipa).  

            On October 7, 1947, feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, the pioneering group of 8 sisters headed by Madre Laura, made their first profession of religious vows.  The congregation gradually grew and increased in number. 

            But the congregation was never spared of trials.  In 1950, Bishop Verzosa was forced to retire and go home to Vigan and the bishops who succeeded him wanted to disband the congregation.  In all these, Madre Laura kept silent and submitted herself to the will of God.  For her, if it was really the will of God, she had to submit however painful it was.  She was very obedient to the bishops. 

           Mother Mary Augustine of the Religious of the Good Shepherd stayed with the sisters from 1957 - 1960 upon the invitation of Bishop Olalia to provide religious formation to the community.  It was a period of religious intensification for the sisters.  They were not allowed to engage in any active apostolate and the acceptance of candidates to the institute was temporarily halted.  It was only in 1962 when the congregation again began to accept candidates.

           On July 6, 1969, Madre Laura passed away...


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