Categories
Newsletter

UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Sesquicentennial Anniversary Community Pantry

We live in uncharted times, with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging everyone equally with no seeming end in sight. For many Filipinos, the most immediate effect has been a distinct disruption to their food security, what with either unemployment or underemployment having been one of the most common side effects of the pandemic in a socioeconomic context.  In recent times, one shaft of light has beamed down on the darkness enveloping the Manila metropolitan area and warmed everyone’s hearts – and that shaft of light has been the rise of community pantries to fill the marginalized sector’s cupboards.

Taking inspiration from the food banks set- up in other countries by charitable institutions, where people can turn up and be provided a set amount of food, the first community started inauspiciously on April 14, 2021. Ana Patricia Non set- up a simple cart along Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, laden with vegetables, rice, and other food items and labeled it the Maginhawa Community Pantry, along with the now famous principle, “Magbigay ayon sa kakayanan, kumuha ayon sa pangangailangan”. Word spread fast as people saw the original, and fanned by social media, multiple such pantries sprung up organically, not only in the NCR, but in other provinces, stretching as far as Zamboanga. Fueled by the generosity and empathy of fellow Filipinos, these pantries are filled with food, able to provide for the marginalized.

In the spirit of Bayanihan, the UST Faculty of Medicine is also organizing a one-day community pantry on May 29, 2021. This is part of the Sesquicentennial anniversary celebrations of FMS. With this, the Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc.  encourages everyone to extend help and support.

In these uncertain times, AFI strives to stay true to its founding principles, to support the initiatives of FMS and encourage its alumni doctors to extend help, this time, to UST’s nearby communities.

Note: If you are interested to be part of this worthy endeavor, you may directly coordinate with the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

Categories
Newsletter

Continuation of the Article of Fr. Lucio Gutierrez, O.P. (Part 2)

The Hospital of San Pedro Martir

 

There were many reasons for the foundation of the hospital that was to take care of the Chinese. The main one was the Domincans’ desire for the conversion of the Chinese to the Christian Faith. Many of these Sangleys, who flocked by the thousands to Manila, became sick. Dying in utter poverty and abandonment, they were forgotten by their fellow Chinese, who in their interest to do business and get rich, had no thought for their weak and poor fellow citizens. In China, institutions to take care of the widows, the poor, and the abandoned were unknown. The death of many Chinese in total abandonment and solitude, Aduarte says:

“compelled the religious to take pity upon them and gather the poorer ones in their small house and lay them in their own beds. Since they had no blankets, and they could not get any, the poor friars used their own copes to cover the sick. They considered a great gain, and a very big one, to change their copes of coarse frieze and sackcloth, and use them as a cover for charity. Charity indeed covers everything and honors a person more.”

 

Here then was set in motion the creation of what later on would become a hospital. It was small and poor; the food for the sick was brought from the Santo Domingo Convent. At times, the friars gave up their own food. This was possible while the patients were few; soon they grew in numbers and taking care of them became a problem.

 

Another reason for the establishment of the hospital was given by Pedro Rodriguez, O.P., a protagonist of the growth of San Gabriel Hospital in later years. He wrote:

 

“About the foundation of the hospital, we will state down here what the Lord Bishop Don Diego de Soria told me, together with Rev. Fr. Bernardo [de Santa Catalina], founders [of the Province]: that one of the reasons that the Order of Our Holy Father St. Dominic had to establish the said hospital, outside the main reason, which was the conversion of the Chinese, was the desire those Fathers had that in the convent of Santo Domingo, that was being established under strict observance that those who would live in it should never eat meat. Dispensation from this command, due to light reasons, opens the door to more freedom and relaxation. Thus, they desired that the sick people, and all other who might need to eat meat, would do so in the said hospital and not in the convent of Santo Domingo.

 

For this purpose, they established the hospital at the beginning in a piece of land, property of the convent, situated behind the garden of the convent. They started to bring the sick Chinese, catechized, and baptized them. From the convent they supplied the food. The friars helped with the alms from the masses and other alms they obtained from the people to buy lots for houses from where rent could be drawn, and so that the pious work started to shelter the native Chinese could be continued.

 

In that very place was the hospital placed for a certain time. First it was called Hospital de San Pedro Martir, and for some reasons, it was built later outside the wall of the city, close to the Parian of the Sangleys. In the time it was there, the Rev. Fr. Juan de Castro, the first provincial, and Rev. Fr. Francisco de la Mina died there. Much later, it was transferred to the other side of the river, in the place where it is now, the place the noble and devoted Knight Don Luis Perez Dasmariñas gave to the Sangleys as their dwelling place, to satisfy them for the abuse he might have committed against them when he transferred them there [Binondo].”

 

It follows from this Relacion that Miguel de Benavides and Juan Maldonado built a little house of nipa behind the wall of the Santo Domingo convent’s garden. It carried the name of San Pedro Martir, and there they brought the Chinese who were sick, catechized and baptized them. At that time, we cannot probably speak yet of any hospital in the real sense of the word. Out of pure love, Benavides and Maldonado brought to their own quarters the most seriously sick. We know from Juan Cobo, who a year later took charge of the Chinese ministry, together with Benavides, that the latter placed the sick on his bed, while he himself slept on the floor.

 

Juan Cobo’s Report of 1589

 

By September of 1588, just over a year after the arrival of the Dominicans to the Philippines, Juan Cobo and Miguel de Benavides had been expressly entrusted by the Order with the ministry of the Chinese in the Parian. On June 17, 1588, Bishop Salazar had officially entrusted the ministry of the Chinese to the Dominicans. They also were waiting for the permission to erect another house, for the service of the Chinese, at the right side of the river of Manila, already called Pasig, for in the initial reports, the river is referred to always as the river of Manila. The place was Baybay, for nearby lived thousands of Chinese, mainly fishermen and farmers.

 

We have mentioned for the first time the name of Juan Cobo. He sailed from Spain in July of 1586 together with the founders of the Province of the Holy Rosary, forty of them for Mexico. He remained there on official business. In 1588, he was in Manila. A year after his arrival, that is, in 1589, he wrote a long and most interesting Report/Letter where we can gather many relevant points about his ministry with the Chinese. He sent it back to Spain and was published in full by Renesal in his Historia. This Report/Letter, oftentimes referred to by historians and scholars, has not been studied in- depth. From it, we can knit together to a great precision, the initial history of the hospital for the Chinese.

 

Cobo writes:

“Later, during the second year [after the arrival of the Order] when I came [1588], the Order took apart Fr. Miguel and me to another distinct house, at the other side of the Parian. In such a way that between Santo Domingo and San Gabriel is found the Parian of the Sangleys. Here, a very poor church was built under the advocacy of San Gabriel, the name that fell to it by lot and a poor house where we two went to live in. We came into it at the beginning of September of the year 1588. This was the first church for the Chinese that was built. We believe that there is no other Parish Church today except this one. All the Chinese Christians, who were very few, both those who lived here in the Parian, and those who came from Tondo, a very wide river in between, came here. The Chinese started to frequent our Church and our house..”

 

Here, there is no mention of any hospital, or of a more serious care for the sick. We can see that the house mentioned by Cobo had been transferred to the eastern part of the Parian. The Parian now was between Santo Domingo convent and the small and poor church of San Gabriel built by Cobo and Benavides. The name of the Church and house was San Gabriel. The name San Gabriel fell, according to Cobo, by lot or luck.

 

Aduarte places the change of name of the hospital at the time of the transfer of the church, the house, and the hospital to the right side of the Pasig River, to Binondo; but this transfer happened in 1598. More will be said of this in the process of our study, thus no more mention of San Pedro Martir.

 

Benavides, who had already been in the ministry of the Chinese for a year, and Cobo, newly assigned now, had their hands full. According to Cobo, by Christmas of 1588:

 

“Thinking that it was too much effort for the Chinese Christians of Tondo to cross the river [to attend the Mass/religious services], they built another church for them, which is like a visita or ermita, where the Mass is celebrated. We divided ourselves, one to one side [of the river] and the other to the other side during feasts.”

 

We, thus see, that by the end of 1588, there were two churches built by the Dominicans to take care of the Sangleys. One was at the eastern side of the Parian, but very near it and the other in Baybay, near the ‘town’ of Tondo. There was just one house near the Parian and near the church where the two religious, Benavides and Cobo, lived. The church and house in the Parian was called San Gabriel, while the house in Baybay was dedicated to the Purification of Our Lady, in Spanish Purificacion de Nuestra Señora.

Categories
Newsletter

San Gabriel Hospital: A unique social service to the Chinese in the Philippines (1587-1774) (Part 1)

An article by Fr. Lucio Gutierrez, O.P.

Source: First International Conference, History of Medicine in the Philippines   

Abstract

 

The history of San Gabriel Hospital finds its beginning with the arrival of the Dominicans to the Philippines in 1587 and their apostolate among the Chinese, called Sangleys, at that time. The hospital in its beginning was small. When the governor of the Philippines, Luis Gomez Dasmariñas (1593 – 1596) saw the great fruit harvested by the Dominicans, he granted them permission to build a bigger one in the Parian.

 

Years later, they transferred the hospital to the right bank of the Pasig River, to the district of Binondo. From the start, the Hospital was opened to both Christians and pagans. In fact, it had been established to help the poor and abandoned Chinese who came from China and had no one to turn to. It was also used as a means of evangelization. The Dominicans, like all the other religious orders in the Philippines, felt a great admiration for the Chinese and for the greatness of their culture and civilization.

 

The history of San Gabriel is indissolubly connected with the history of the Chinese in the Philippines. It suffered the same ups and downs of the Chinese in the country. From the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Chinese, either in extreme provocation or for other reasons, rose various times in revolt against the colonial government; in the end, they were defeated. Everything ended in barbaric massacres perpetrated both by the Spaniards and the Filipinos. During the British occupation of Manila, 1762-1764, the Chinese placed themselves decisively in favor of the British. Once the invaders left, and peace between Spain and England was signed, Charles III (1759 – 1788), King of Spain, disgusted with what he considered high treason by the Chinese against their adoptive motherland, signed in 1766, a degree of expulsion from the Philippines. This degree was executed by the Royal Audiencia of Manila in 1769.

 

Introduction

 

The history of San Gabriel Hospital is not easy to recapture; its beginnings are obscure and difficult. Since the creation of the first church for the Chinese in the Parian of Manila was called San Gabriel, the hospital, as a result of the ministry of the Dominicans to the Chinese, was also called San Gabriel. The Hospital had a history of almost 200 years of continuous social and medical services to the Sangleys as the early Chinese merchants and traders in Manila and its environs were called. Founded in 1587, the very year of the arrival of the Dominicans in Manila, it was closed in 1774 through a royal decree from Spain. That also brought the Dominican apostolate of the institution to an end.

 

The ‘Spell’ of China

 

The missionaries who left Spain and sailed for far away Asia were moved by the desire to bring all people to the knowledge of God and free them from the ‘slavery’ to Satan. According to the Dominican historian, Diego Aduarte, in his well-known Historia, the Dominican missionaries were impelled to come to the East by the desire of

 

“…the conversion of the Great Kingdom of China which, without any comparison, is bigger in the number and quality of its people than any other kingdom on earth; their intellectual capacity higher, and their refinement far superior than any other nation”

 

Aduarte laments the fact that so gifted a people, so culturally advanced were totally blind to the things that mattered most, the things touching to the life, to the spirit, and their everlasting salvation. For the missionaries, salvation and sharing God’s eternal life was paramount. Aduarte said that the Chinese held the view that no people had ever reached their level of culture. This intellectual pride kept them blind to the liberating truth of the Gospel of Jesus. He says:

 

“The desire of their conversion was the greatest and most important force that moved the founders of this Province [Holy Rosary Province] to come to the East.”

 

It is then in this context of the evangelization of the Chinese Sangleys in the Philippines where we have to find the beginnings of the Hospital of San Gabriel.

 

Forty Dominicans sailed from Spain to Mexico and the Philippines in July of 1586. Fifteen arrived in the Cavite Port on July 22 of 1587. Three days later, on July 25, Feast of St. James, Patron Saint of Spain, they entered Manila. The Bishop of the Philippines, Domingo de Salazar, O.P. had desired intensely the conversion of the Chinese, in general, and of the Chinese in the Philippines, in particular. In fact, in a letter he wrote to the Spanish King, he mentioned that one of the reasons that ‘forced’ him to accept his ministry as first Bishop of the Philippines was the nearness of the Philippines to China and the hope of conversion of the Chinese.

 

Two Dominicans, pioneers in the apostolate for the Chinese, were assigned to this ministry already in 1587. The first was Fr. Miguel de Benavides, one of the founders of the Province of the Most Holy Rosary, a former professor of theology in the famous Colegio de San Gregorio de Valladolid, Spain; later on Archbishop of Manila and founder of the University of Santo Tomas of Manila. The other one was Juan de Maldonado, of Alcala de Guadaira, Sevilla.

A reading of Aduarte’s Historia, and the masterful introduction of Jesus Gayo in his Doctrina Christiana, enables us to follow the history quite well. A detailed reading will free us from the many errors some historians still fall into. The literary production of the Dominicans of the first generation in the Philippines was of primal importance for culture and religious anthropology. The printing of the Doctrina Christiana en letra y lengua china also in 1593; the Doctrina Christiana en lengua española y tagala in 1593, together with Shi-lu Pien Cheng-Chiao Chen-Ch’uan, or Testimony of the True Religion, again published in 1593, made them true pioneers at the time of the Spanish Contact in the Philippines.

 

The presence of the Chinese in this Philippines is definitely much anterior to the arrival of the Spaniards in the country in 1565. It is difficult to assess how numerous they were before the Spanish arrival and how deeply they had influenced Philippine culture. With the arrival of the Spaniards, their numbers grew every year by leaps and bounds; their numbers grew into the thousands.

 

Some of these Chinese merchants, traders, and artisans who came from China every year returned home as soon as they had sold their wares. However, some remained behind and established themselves in Tondo, interacting with the natives. In the process of time, these Chinese became fishermen and farmers. They concentrated especially in the area called Baybay, known formerly as Longos. The larger group, the Sangleys lived and mixed with the Spaniards in what later on was called Intramuros.

 

The Spaniards, less than a thousand of them, became fearful of the Sangleys and thought of gathering them in one nearby place, where they could have supervised and controlled. Governor-General Ronquillo de Peñalosa (1580-1583) kept them in one place – east and northeast of the present Intramuros. It was a marshy area easily flooded by the Pasig River and the place came to be known as Parian. Aduarte tells the following about the Parian:

 

“Ordinarily from eight to ten thousand Chinese live here. On various occasions more than fifteen thousand were found there.”

 

Why the special connection between the Dominicans with the Chinese in the Philippines? Aside from the ‘spell’ of China, mentioned earlier, and the dream of entering the mysterious Grand Cathay of Marco Polo, the physical proximity of the new Dominican foundation in Manila, the Santo Domingo Convent, to the Parian of the Chinese was the occasion for the daily contact between the Dominicans and the Chinese. According to the first Dominican chroniclers, the Chinese’s curiosity about the life of the Dominicans led to admiration. On the part of the Dominicans, this increased their zeal for evangelizing the Chinese.

 

About the writer:

Fr. Lucio Gutierrez, O.P. earned a doctorate in Church History from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and started his academic career in UST in 1968. He taught Ancient Church History, Medieval Church History, and Modern Church History at the Ecclesiastical Faculties and the Graduate School.

He passed away last December 21 2013. He was 75.

Categories
Newsletter

Anargyroi Graduating Scholar: Charles John Latorre

Chasing Dreams with Humility and Gratefulness

 

I still remember the night when I got a text message from an unknown number. It was a cold Friday night and I just woke up from my sleep after a very tiring day. At this point, I was not expecting anymore that I would get the scholarship since it has been days since I was interviewed and I have not received any news from them. Then a message popped up, and from then on, it has been one tough and exciting journey. It has been almost four years since I took my first step in the corridors of the Medicine Building. I met new people who became my family. I met new doctors who became my mentors. I met patients from different aspects of life who told me their stories that is honing me to become the doctor that I want to be. Finally, I met myself who grew and became a better person.

There are times that this road has become a bumpy one. There are moments where I would breakdown due to shear stress and work overload. There are times I just want to give it up. But we were always reminded by our mentors on why we are doing this. We are not only doing this for ourselves or for our family, but we are doing this for the people. The people who will need our help someday. The people who will see us as their only hope to live. The people whom we will take the oath for. These are the people that made me strive, smile, and do wonders for.

In two months, I would be graduating from my beloved alma mater. The alma mater which developed and took care of me for the past four years. The alma mater that transcends not only the present and us, the future Thomasian doctors, but also the ones who also took the same steps in the four corners of the very same building that sheltered me. The bond that transcends time made not only the Regent’s Scholarship Program possible but also other programs such as Faculty Development, Community Outreach Programs, and Modernization of Facilities. It did not only help us but also everyone from the Thomasian medicine community. In the future, I wish to do the same as well. To give back without anything in return. Knowing that the best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.

 

My very first day in the Operating Room

Everything has changed these past four years except for one, my dream. The dream is still the same, to become a competent, committed, and compassionate doctor for all. It was and will always be. This would not have been possible if not for those good willing doctors, our benefactors, who helped us in every step that we took.

This concludes the series of write ups from the graduating scholars, from the bottom of our hearts, maraming, maraming salamat po.

 

 

Categories
Newsletter

Anger: Passion for Good and Evil by Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P

Anger is defined in the dictionary as: a strong feeling that come when one has been wronged   or insulted, or when one sees cruelty or injustice; the feeling that makes people want to quarrel or fight. Anger can lead us to action in correcting wrongs or lead us to perdition when we lash out at those around us, and thus we ask:

 

Is anger good or bad?

 

In Theology, we describe anger as a passion. Therefore, we cannot say in principle that it is good or bad in itself. The passions are powers given to man to attain what is good for him in this world; but they must be under the control of reason and will. The passions are like the power of an automobile. As long as the driver is in command of the automobile, the driving power of the motor will take him safely where he wishes to go; but if he loses control of the car, both the driver and the car come to grief.

When a person loses control and allows him/herself to be ruled by his/her passions, by anger, he/she is led into destruction, to the ruin of his/her human personality. There is a sort of downward spiral: anger may turn into bitterness and bitterness into hatred. The case of Cain killing his brother Abel is the best illustration.

Holy Scriptures tells us that we are flawed people in relationships with flawed people, in a fallen world, but with a faithful God. Because we see and know that the world is moving in ways we know should not be, we can and oftentimes fall into anger; that is why at times, the Bible also says that God Himself was angry with His people. This is an anger that wanted to set things right.

Christ in us will empower us to increasingly engage our fallen planet with the restorative anger of love, the rescuing anger of mercy, and the advocacy anger of justice. How can this be achieved?

Chapter 13 of the Gospel of John, which is read on Holy Thursday, narrates the story of the washing of the feet of the disciples, followed by the departure of Judas and the denial of Peter. This episode illustrates how anger operates in the human heart and how it is transformed into hatred or into love. Let us look into four protagonists of this story: Jesus, Peter, Judas, and the beloved Disciple. Three men responding differently to God’s love manifested in the love of Jesus:

Judas rejects and fears love. He pushes Jesus away. He hates him. Peter cannot understand Jesus. In bitterness he denies him.

The Beloved Disciple overcomes this intense moment of anger and frustration and surrenders to Jesus‘ love and becomes an intimate friend.

We discover these three attitudes in each one of us at different moments of our lives. That is why they are set for our consideration on the most sacred celebration of Christianity: the sacrificial death of Christ as the supreme act of love of God for us:

Judas is both a friend and one of Jesus’ chosen ones, who turns to hate him and finally agrees to help get rid of him. In a language difficult for us to understand, the gospel says that Satan enters into the heart of Judas and he leaves the place where Jesus has washed his feet and shared his food with him. He is imprisoned in darkness. He is filled with anger and self-hate; he cannot remain still. He is unable to open to Jesus, he had to leave. The evangelist comments: It was night. Not just outside, but more so in Judas’ heart. Hatred is the darkness of the heart.

Like Judas, at times, we can be in revolt towards Jesus and want to be left alone, autonomous, and not dependent on love. Anger takes the best of us and it may turn into hatred.

Peter is unable to understand the weakness, the vulnerability, and humility of Jesus and protests. He swears he will stand bv Jesus no matter what. But then he goes on to deny him three times. Unlike Judas, Peter weeps bitterly over that and asks for forgiveness. He has to become humbler and to trust even when he does not understand.

Like Peter, we can have moments where Jesus and the way He lives and loves confuses us. We may want to do things that are acceptable on the social or political level or change things in our own way. In pursuing tangible, visible, instant results, we may turn away from a communion of love with Jesus. Bitterness ought to be transformed into love. This is why after his resurrection, Jesus asked Peter that painful question three times: “Peter, do you love me?”

The Beloved Disciple is shown reclining on the heart of Jesus. With his head resting on the heart of Jesus, the beloved disciple must have sensed the wounded, anguished heart of Jesus, his vulnerability, his littleness, his pain in the face of Judas’ betrayal. Jesus is terribly hurt, wounded by the rejection of his love. The closeness and hardness of Judas, the hate emanating from him, must have awoken deep anguish within Jesus. The Beloved Disciple must have wanted to comfort and to console the wounded heart of Jesus by showing Him his love and trust.

The Beloved Disciple reveals to us that we are called to be in communion with Jesus and to receive in our hearts all that is in His heart, the love and pain: to remain in Him and He in us, one in love.