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Benedictines in the Philippines




In the middle of the 19th century, a hostile and anticlerical government in Spain closed the novitiates. Years later, concessions were granted allowing novitiates which operated missions in foreign countries to open. Hence, the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat in Cataluña, Spain started to establish missions in the Philippines and in Australia.


The Benedictine monks arrived in the Philippines on September 12, 1895. They started missionary work in Surigao in 1896. R. Rev. Jose Deas y Villar, OSB, founded the Benedictine community in Mindanao. Thus, grew the roots of Benedictine tradition in the Philippines.


A few years after the monks’ Mindanao mission, the Benedictine community transferred their residence and apostolate to Balmes St. in Quiapo, Manila. The Benedictines witnessed many political and social changes in the Philippines as our people struggled under the Spanish and American colonization. Despite tremendous odds, however, they remained steadfast and pursued a new apostolate: education.


Under the leadership of Fr. Juan Sabater, OSB, El Colegio de San Beda was established on June 17, 1901. Fr. Sylvestre Jofre, OSB, the first rector, dedicated the school to the cause of Catholic education and the making of Christian gentlemen committed to excellence and service of God and country. In 1926, the College was transferred to its present location in Mendiola St. By the 1960’s the Benedictine community consisted mostly of Filipinos and leadership was gradually transferred to the Filipino monks.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 25 January 2017 10:25)