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Date: November 8, 2021Posted by: Marionette Martinez

On October 29, 1904, seven Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres (SPC), landed in Tinago Beach, Dumaguete, Philippines. The seven pioneers were: Mother Marthe de St. Paul Legendre, Sr. Anna de la Croix Anne, Sr. Marie Louise du Sacre Coeur Nivou, Sr. Ange Marie Bannier (French); Sr. Marie Josephine Rappeport (American); Sr. Catherine de Genes Gutteres (Portuguese from Macau); and Sr. Charles Aho, Chinese.

Sisters of St. Paul Statue in Dumaguete, often called the "Sisters Statue." Seven Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres set sail from Saigon and arrived in Dumaguete, southern Philippines in 1904. Their mission was to nurture the faith of the predominantly Catholic population recently freed from 377 years of Spanish rule but was then prey to the intense proselytizing campaign of Protestants, as well as patriotic influences of the Philippine Independent Church. Starting their missionary work under extreme conditions of poverty and enormous cultural difficulties, they nevertheless proved to be excellent nurses and educators. The first Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in the Philippines opened the first Paulinian School in Dumaguete Negros. (From Asia Images)

The arrival of the Sisters in the Philippines was a festive event with the ringing of the bells, the music of the band and the cheering crowd who welcomed the Sisters. The ship had stopped some hundred meters from the shore and the Sisters were brought by boat to fifty meters from the shore. Filipino boys crossed hands and formed a seat to carry each Sister from the boat to dry land!

In procession, the priests, Sisters, and the people then made their way to the Church for the Te Deum, the Sister's first act of thanksgiving to God. Like their Founders, the Sisters recognized that call of the Philippine harvest through the open window that was Dumaguete. (From A Hundred Thousand Miracles, St. Paul University Manila, 2012)