Two hundred ninety nine (299) years may seem remote and bleak, yet in the personal lives of each A.R. Sister and the collective life as an A.R. Congregation, it is fitting and honorable to say that, Mother Dionisia and Mother Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz are our genuine models of persistence, humility and prayer, after the Blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel, an image of which is venerated at the San Sebastian Church. Having braved nature, family relationships, religious events and unthinkable challenges and trials, without planning to found a religious congregation, those who succeeded them perpetuated their community life, ideals, spirituality and their heart’s desires which has eventually led to the birthing of one of the oldest women congregation in the Philippine Islands, the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters.
For centuries, our A.R. sisters remained as beatas living in a community called the Beaterio de Terciarias de Agustinas Recoletas. We send the heavens our deepest gratitude for on the 19th of August 1929, His Excellency Michael O’Doherty, Archbishop of Manila, signed the Decree of the Canonical Erection of the Institute as a Diocesan Congregation. The Beaterio became the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries. Fast forwarding time and events, on the 18th of October 1929, Fr. Celestino Yoldi, OAR, presided the First General Chapter of the Congregation. On the 20th of November 1970, days before His Holiness Pope Paul VI came to the Philippines, the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters finally received their Decretum Laudis or the Decree of Praise as an institute of Pontifical Rights.
From being clothed with the habit of mantelatas and from wearing the Pre-Vatican II garb to the present habit of the A.R. Sisters, we are grateful to the pillars of our Congregation that the present manner of dressing (wearing the religious habit), manifests external modesty of the interior observance of chastity, poverty and obedience. We are garbed with God’s loving mercy and compassion marked by our existence in the past 299 years pressing on to 300 years come July 16, 2019.