Last Feb 2, Tess, Dhang and I flew to Cebu City to visit a dear friend who is suffering from cancer. The following day, a first friday we heard mass at Ayala Center and met another friend, Ditz, a former officemate who mentioned that they were attending a marian pilgrimage going to Carcar and Sibonga where the crying madonna was located. I immediately decided that we must visit those places, besides the miraculous Guadalupe cave which was originally in our plan.
Everything fell into place when another friend in the industry offered his car for our use! I believe this is mama mary's gift to us for our experience that day was truly enriching.
First stop as suggested by Ditz's husband was Sibonga so that if we were early enough we can witness the monks' vespers.
Of course we couldnt leave that early so we were not able to catch their early prayers. When we reached Lindogan in Samala which is part of the region of Sibonga, we passed through some mud road till we got into a the place of prayer. They are still reconstructing the chapel, the path and even the giant statue of Our Lady of Fatima just at the entrance.
Below is a marker placed last 2004 to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary whose intercession was sought in a Penitential Rosary Walk to protect the place from a plague which took lives of infants and children. It was placed also during the 8th anniversary of the monks arrival in Lindogan, Samala (Sibongan).
Below is the photo of the pathway one has to trekk after the parking lot.
As you ascend the steps on the side of the above photo, a cherub welcomes you with the sign below "Sacred place please respect".
Inside the chapel with Mitos. It is still being renovated.
Upon entry to the chapel, we went to the leftmost side where you are supposed to leave your shoes and walk barefoot. You will immediately notice the various marian statues.
At the end of the marian statues, is a photo of the Crying Madonna. Her heavily beaded white veil which she wore when tears flowed from her face is on top of the altar. Devotees line up and take turns in wearing the veil while praying to our Mother.
On the sides of the walls are various photos of the Blessed Mother, when the congregraation witnessed some of miraculous events, such was below, when a laceration appeared on her forehead.....
and when it disappeared..........
the sudden drops of tears on her face while a group of pilgrims were praying the rosary the afternoon of Dec 29, 1998....
her sudden shedding of tears and changing of facial occurence from clear white to brownish black (before her coronation). Perhaps Our lady is telling us that she is not only Our Lady of Fatima (which is honored in the chapel) but also Our Lady of Montserrat (Spain) or Our Lady of Czestochowa (Poland) both black madonnas.
These are just some of the wheelchairs and wooden aides given by those who got healed because of Our Lady's intercession. Many written testimonials from various patients including serious cancer patients adorn the walls of the chapel.
Before exiting the chapel, beside the religious store one can have masses said for their loved ones. Photo below shows one of the monks and tessie. I had masses said for various intentions and since I told the monk we have a seroiusly ill friend back in cebu city as well as the fact that we came all the way from manila, he gave me a stampita with a pressed rose plus a small pack of dried rose - with the following instructions. 3 petals on olive oil, which can be used to apply to the sick, and seven petals in water which the sick can drink plus prayers.
For the sick who can go on pilgrimae, he suggests bringing some clothes and they will put this under the statue of Mama Mary for three days while they pray for the recovery.
Outside there is a path to do Stations of the Cross but we no longer had time to pray this for we still had two other pilgrim sites to visit.
Most important though which we cant afford not to visit, is the Blessed Sacrament. The Monks are keepers of the blessed sacrament, so as a fitting end to our pilgrimage we went to the main chapel housing this. (photo below)
Since the miracles were not yet approved by the church, they had no printed pamphlets regarding stories surrounding the various apparitions and healings. I was able to get hold of a newspaper given by the monk (my persistence paid off) and will quote some parts here.
This came from the newspaper "Freeman", featured frontpage and the author is he business editor, Maripal San Diego - "I saw Mama Mary Shed Tears"
"Together with a crowd of more than 500 people, I saw the statue of Our Lady of Fatima shed tears for more than 30 mins at the shrine of the Marian Brothers of the Eucharistic Adoration (MBEA) in the afternoon of Sept 8, her supposed birthday at Lindogan, Simala, Sibonga.
The MBEA, is popularly known as the Blue Brothers due to their colored habits. ...The Marian celebration started with a song......One of those who made a verbal testimony of what he saw in 1998 was Cris Sedoriosa, a lay missionary of the Alliance of Two Hearts.
Right after the testimonies, a birthday song was sang then the ritual of changing her dress with a new one followed.
Just a few seconds after the donated new dress was placed on her, I saw the statue shed tears. Everyone was stunned.
I was one of those who rushed to tha makeshift alter with my eight year old son in tow, and went to as close as I could which was about three feet away. Up close, I did see tears trickling down her cheeks and even down on her nose and chin.....
All the time, we were all watching her tear-sticken face, as the line moved slowly. All sorts of interpretations of her weeping was said aloud. Those are tears of sadness, said one. No those are tears of joy because we are here to greet her, said the others.
Then I saw her face change to that of a very old woman, with more wrinkes than the elderly people I know.
Although the shrine was lighted by several bright bulbs, a voice among the stnned crowd asked for anyone with a flashlight to focus it on her Her changed face. A flashlight turned up and this showed a wrinked, shrunken face of an old woman.
Ten mins later, the second time when the flashlight was focused on Her weeping face, it turned back to its beatiful and youthful look.......
The statue was supposedly acquired by he Blue Brothers from a factory in Pampanga fro free since this was a reject, meaning it did not pass its quality control. It is made of fiber glass.
In an interview with Dr Jesus Juario, scientist and Dean of the UP Cebu College, he said that for a fiber glass to produce water or trickling water is scientifically impossible.
""This is not possible scientifically. Moreso when you said that it was raining early in the afternoon and drizzling in the morning. There was no humidity then that could possibly cause that. But with my expeirence with fiber glass, this occurence could not be explained"".
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Posted by Mary Anne Tolentino