Since education plays a continuing role in the scheme of our national progress, it is therefore imperative for the Augustinian Recollect Sisters to seek ways and means of establishing schools that could adapt to the numerous challenges of development.
The Augustinian Recollect Sisters’ Teaching Apostolate started with the “Beaterio,” in response to the mandate of the King of Spain to keep shelter for young girls and as means to spread Christianity in the Philippines.
The year 1754 marked an important point of progress in the AR Educational Apostolate when the Spanish Governor Marquez de Obando, ordered on the 14th of June, of the same year his clerk, Vicente Lopez Pilares to examine the Sisters and choose those prepared for teaching. Three Sisters, the prioress, Sor Nicholasa de San Jose, Sor Clara de Sta. Rita, and Sor Ignacia de la Santisima Trinidad, were found fit for the task. As a consequence of this decree the teaching apostolate begun.
The promulgation of the Educational Decree of 1863 gave an opportunity for the Sister’s professional growth because of the establishment of teacher-training institution. It was during this mig-nineteenth century that some Sisters earned the title of teacher. This enhanced their competencies by using Spanish as the language of instruction.
In December 21, 1898 when the American Army took control of the country, the authorities begun the educational work by continuing the system of education established by the Spaniards.
However in 1902 the American Civil Government passed an Act creating the Bureau of Education. In 1906 the government followed the laissez-faire policy on private education, so that even with the passing of the Act making English as the medium of instruction, Spanish and the dialect were still allowed in the private schools. Nevertheless, English was gradually introduced and adapted as the language of instruction.
In 1907, a significant landmark in the history of the Congregation tookplace. Reverend Father Yolde, a Recollect priest, prescribed a well defined and delineated program of education. Kindergarten, special classes in Spanish, painting , embroidery and piano lessons were offered.
On September 29, 1911, Colegio de Sta Rita, Manila became the Congregation’s first learning institution offering primary and intermediate classes which was registered by the Bureau of Education.
In 1912, at the request of several families and with the aid of efficient American educator, English was included in the program of instruction which gained immediate approval by the government.
In 1929, the complete secondary curriculum was recognized. Gradually domestic Science, Vocational courses, Spanish courses for all levels, Education and Liberal Arts had been offered. Hence, Colegio de Sta. Rita was changed to St. Rita College.
In 1931, three Sisters, Sor Dolores del Sarado Corazon de Jesus, Sor Carmela de Sta. Teresita and Sor Cecilia de la Purisima Conception were sent to Kueitefu, Honan, Oriental China to help the Recollect Fathers in the teaching mission. They experienced severe trials, yet, they kept on doing their apostolate. A few years later, the communists took over making it impossible for them to carry on the work further. Hence, the Sisters were forced to return to the Philippines.
Before World War II, eight schools were opened in the provinces. After the war only five schools survived and the rest were devastated, but the Sisters were determined to continue their service to the Church so they undertook the task of rehabilitation. Moreover, there was a need to open new schools to answer to the demands of the time. In 1969 there were 39 existing sshools, some owned by the Congregation and others by some dioceses.
Due to lack of personnel, a number of Sisters have been withdrawn from some diocesan schools. At present there are 32 schools in the Philippines administered by the Sisters, 7 other AR Communities with various apostolates such as Orphanage, Retreats and Dormitories and 4 foreign missions.
A.R. ADMINISTRATIVE HANDBOOK|