THE AUGUSTINIAN RECOLLECT SISTERS, OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL, AND THE FOUNDRESSES OF THE CONGREGATION of the AUGUSTINIAN RECOLLECT SISTERS
The blood sisters Dionicia Mitas and Cezilla Rossa Talangpaz, founded the Augustinian Recollect community of women in the Philippines having been inspired by the Holy Spirit and desiring to live closely with Christ and with His mother under the title of OL of Mt. Carmel. The Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR), coming to the Philippines in the 17th century, providentially nurtured the vocation of the Talangpaz sisters who were accepted as “beatas”.
Having brought to the Philippines the image of OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL from Mexico in the 17th century, the Augustinian Recollect Fathers became instrumental in the widespread devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Now venerated at San Sebastian Church (Quiapo, Manila), the Virgin of Carmel was the inspiration of the Foundresses, MOTHER DIONICIA MITAS and MOTHER CEZILLA ROSSA TALANGPAZ in establishing a community of pious women. Their desire to serve God through Our Lady led them to flourish as a community living in a Beaterio.
Sor Dionicia de Sta. Maria and Sor Cezilla Rossa de Jesus were born in the bosom of Calumpit, Bulacan. The sisters were born from the union of Don Andres Talangpaz and Dona Isabel Constanza Pamintuan. Dionicia Talangpaz was born on March 12, 1691 while her sister Cezilla Rossa was born July 16, 1693. On the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1725 in the Church of San Sebastian, they solemnly declared their intention to become Recollect Tertiaries before Fray Diego de San Jose, Prior of San Sebastian Convent who officiated at the rites. In their new life, Sor Dionicia de Sta. Maria and Sor Cezilla Rossa de Jesus experienced difficulties and trials which may be likened to persecutions. They were tried in their existence and subsistence. However, the two bore and endured everything in humility and silence.
From the Beaterio de San Sebastian de Calumpang which began with Mothers Dionicia and Cezilla Rossa in 1725, started the growth of the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters (AR). Sor Cezilla Rossa died on July 31, 1731 and Sor Dionicia on the 12th of October 1732. The Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters, which originated in 1719, is also the precious fruit of the missionary zeal of the Augustinian Recollect Fathers (OAR) in the Philippines. It was canonically established as a religious Congregation on August 19, 1929 and was declared of juridical autonomy by the Holy See on November 20, 1970. The golden jubilee of the Congregation as an institute of Pontifical Right falls on November 20, 2020, with grateful festivities by the CARS.
The lives of Mother Dionisia Talangpaz and Mother Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz have left an undying legacy to the Beaterio they founded. Today, the Augustinian Recollect (AR) Sisters are serving actively in various apostolates in the Philippines, USA, Australia, Spain… inspired by their Foundresses on their journey towards that eternal landmark, BEYOND THE STARS.