Ateneo Alumni Associations of North America, Inc.
Ateneo Alumni Association
    of North America, Inc.

The Jesuits in Davao



The Jesuits in Davao: 1868 to present, by Sch. Amado T. Tumbali, SJ, Assistant Province Archivist; July 6, 2016 - A royal decree in 1860 ordered the Jesuits to replace the Recollects in Mindanao. Consequently, the Jesuits first arrived in Tamontaca in 1862, then Tetuan a few months later. When the first Jesuits of Davao arrived from Zamboanga on 7 October 1868, there were only about 100 Christians, excluding soldiers. With a cost of 400 pesos, the Jesuits bought from the Recollects a house with furnishings and a garden. The names of these Jesuits are: Fathers Ramon Barua, Domingo Bove, Ramon Pamies, and Brother Antonio Gairolas. Barua, who also pioneered the Jesuits’ restoration in Tetuan in 1862, was the superior. Immediately, they began the construction of a new residence and church.  On 17 December, accompanied by the governor, the Jesuits crossed Davao Gulf to plan for a mission in Samal Island. But due to the natives’ unwillingness to contribute their resources, the idea of a permanent station failed, although Samal continued as an area of ministry, until 1898 when a residence was established finally in Peña-Plata.

Jesuits riding boats and crossing the gulf was almost common scenario in the last half of 19th century Davao. From the town, the missionaries travelled to the Pacific coastal areas ranging from Sigaboy to Sarangani. Growth of Christianity was averagely successful. In every visitation, there usually had around 200 to 300 natives baptized. As reinforcements of Jesuits gradually increased, residences were eventually built in Mati (1889-1894), Sigaboy (1896-1897), Peña-Plata (1898), and Malalag (1899).

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Ateneo de Naga at 75

Crossing New Frontiers at Ateneo de Naga, by Mara Cepeda on rappler.com; June 10, 2015 - For one school in the heart of Bicol, it all began with a letter.

Monsignor Pedro Santos, first archbishop of Caceres, was concerned about the lack of a prestigious academic institution for the lay people of the Nueva Caceres Diocese. On November 3, 1939, he wrote to Fr John Hurley SJ, then-superior of the Philippine Jesuit Missions, saying that “such a condition cannot but produce a complete lack of Catholic education among our youth.”

Santos invited Hurley to convince the Society of Jesus, known for providing holistic education, to take over the Camarines Sur Catholic Academy for boys, which was being run by the diocese at the time.

“The diocese at present does not possess much in the way of financial means, but gives the land necessary for the school and whatever personal help your reverence may hope to expect from a former student under the fathers of the Society of Jesus,” said Santos.

On May 2, 1940, just half a year later, the Jesuits renamed the school the Ateneo de Naga, with Fr Francis Burns SJ as its first rector. He was with 6 Jesuits.

Such was the beginning of the Ateneo de Naga University (ADNU), which celebrated its 75th founding anniversary on Friday, June 5, with the theme, “Celebrating 75 years of Magis, Living the Spirit, and Forging towards New Frontiers.”

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Jesuit Life in the ADMU

Quezon City: The Jesuit Life in the Ateneo de Manila, published on LankanSining, by John Paul "Lakan" Olivares; April 29, 2016 - Driving northbound along Katipunan Avenue coming from the White Plains/Blue Ridge areas, the first thing you see as you descend the Katipunan Flyover Bridge is the gigantic Blue Eagle adorning the Ateneo Gym. Built in 1949, the Blue Eagle Gym, as it is now called, was one of the first buildings constructed when the Ateneo de Manila decided to move from the war torn Padre Faura campus in Manila, to the rolling hills of Quezon City (then still a part of the Municipality of Marikina).

Established in 1859 as the Escuela Municipal de Manila, in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, the school had grown quite considerably and was finally named the Ateneo de Manila University in 1959.

Run by the Society of Jesus, the Ateneo is a shining sample of Jesuit education in the Philippines. Not only does the Ateneo offer elementary, secondary, and tertiary education; but it has been a beacon for many a young man to enter the Jesuit order. This is most evident by the presence of the Colegio de San Jose or San Jose Major Seminary, which is found in the back slopes of the Ateneo campus. Designed by Architect Felix Mendoza and completed in 1967, the San Jose Seminary is the second home to Jesuit aspirants, aside from the Sacred Heart Novitiate in far off Novaliches.

Up the road from the San Jose Seminary are the Loyola House of Studies and the Loyola School of Theology and Philosophy, where the young Jesuit novices are prepared for the priesthood.  

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Book on Father Masterson

Reflections on the launching of the book on Father Masterson, by Anselmo B. Mercado PhD, published on Mindanao Current, December 20, 2014

How this Book came to be is quite an interesting story by itself. But, it is also a long story. So, I will skip this with the hope that it will entice you to buy this book.

The choice of a title for the book was really a tough one for the Committee of Authors. Over the past few months, we came up with about 13 suggested titles. We brought it down to three in the short list. But, we still could not unanimously agree to a one distinct title. So, we submitted the short list to Archbishop Ledesma for his opinion, hoping that he could break the deadlock. His reply came to us saying: “Let me suggest another title. But, whatever you guys decide, I will abide by it.”

To make another long story short, we finally decided on the title: “Fr. William F. Masterson, S.J.: The Story of a Brooklyn Jesuit Missionary and the Xavier U Aggies.” 

Father Masterson's impact was tremendous! We could see it in many various ways: in the schools he was assigned to serve in, in the organizations and institutions he got involved in, his influence on the students, especially on the Xavier Aggie students, and on other people, his impact on the development arena he worked on – poverty, agriculture development, leadership, cooperatives, family affairs, spiritual development, etc.

In the the book are articles or stories that were either written by the editors of this book, or were gathered by them from authors who were knowledgeable about our subject or who worked with him and were friends of his.  

So the writers drew mainly upon their own personal impressions and experiences and memories to craft their tales. The articles, let me just say, were written from the memories of their hearts, some quite comprehensive that combine those of the heart and analyses of the Masterson vision of development.

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