MANILA, Philippines -- Despite the Catholic Church’s several brushes with different sectors of society for its sometimes rigid application of doctrines, many Filipinos still cling to their religious beliefs hoping for miracles and guidance in their lives.
Proof of this was the thousands of Filipinos who went to the Vatican City and the millions more who waited in the Philippines for the canonization of Pedro Calungsod, the second to become a Filipino saint.
In fact, the Catholic Church still has a long list of names that are en route to becoming the next Filipino saints.
In an interview with ANC, Fr. Aris Sison of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Cubao said: “At mass this morning, I said I hope it doesn’t take another 25 years to get a third one.”
The first to become a saint was Lorenzo Ruiz, a missionary who was killed in 1637 and canonized in 1987.
Calungsod, who was killed in Guam in 1672 trying to convert natives, was canonized 25 years after Ruiz.
Sison named three on the list, led by Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. Based on the home.catholicweb.com, Mother Ignacia was the foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, the first religious congregation for women in the Philippines.
Pope Benedict XVI accepted on July 6, 2007 the findings of the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that Mother Ignacia “is found to possess to a heroic degree the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity toward God and neighbor, as well as the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude.”
The second is Isabel Larrañaga Ramirez, who was born in Manila. She established the Sisters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an organization targeting Catholic education for the youth.
The same website said Ramirez was "decreed as a Servant of God possessing heroic virtues by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and on March 26, 1999, Servant of God Ramirez was elevated to venerable by Pope John Paul II.”
Venerable is a title given to a deceased person who has attained a certain degree of sanctity, but has not been fully beatified nor canonized.
The third on the list is the late Lucena Bishop Alfredo Maria Obviar. He died only on October 1, 1978.
Based on the website, Obviar is the founder of the Missionary Catechists of St. Therese. He was declared Servant of God on March 6, 2001.
To be canonized a saint, at least two miracles must have been performed after the death of the “venerable.”
The country may have a long way to go before it can canonize another Filipino saint. So for now, Filipinos should focus on the works of Calungsod, Sison said.
“This is the time for us to get to know St. Calungsod and what he lived for…It is the time for us to study our faith and to spread it,” he added.
He said this is the time to renew the Catholic faith amid the divisive forces in society.