Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, Balic-Balic (1947-2012)
Only July 8, 1909, Pope Pius X approved the Association of the Miraculous Medal as a living and constant reminder of the apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary in 1830, whose feast is celebrated annually on 27 of November. In the apparition, the Virgin Mary gave a model of the medal to the seer, a 24 year old woman named Catherine Laboure (Note 1). According to Mary-Anne Barcelona and Consuelo B. Estepa (2004), in their book Ynang Maria: A Celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines, two Philippine churches house images of the Miraculous Medal, namely the old San Marcelino Church under the Vincentians, and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Muntinglupa City (Note 2). However, there is another image of the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Manila not mentioned.
Around November 27, 1947, Nenita Villaviciencio established the first unit of the Our Lady Miraculous Medal Association in the MHTP with the permission of Fr. Bernardo Torres (Note 3). According to Nenita Villavicencio, in her article Ang Pinagsimulan ng Medalya Milagrosang Birhen, it was around March 1947, before Holy Week, when she started seeing the Virgin Mary in her dreams which lasted for around two weeks. Unable to understand her experience, she decided to confide to Fr. Bernardo Torres, the parish priest, and asked two friends (Maria Liston and Joaquina Manalo) to accompany her. In return, Fr. Torres asked Nenita to have a Miraculos Medal of the Virgin made for the Bisita Domisilyara and praying of the Holy Rosary. As a start, they recited the Rosary at around 1:30 pm together with Fr. Torres, Clemencia de los Santos, an Aling Simeona, and an old lady named Felisa. Later, they held the Rosary at night to give chance to others who might be busy during the day. Eventually, Fr. Torres suggested that a bigger image of the Virgin Mary be made so that the parish can have a second patron. On November 15, 1952, Fr. Torres officiated the blessing of image of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal of Balic-Balic, Sampaloc, Manila. On February 27, 1966, Bishop Antiporda officiated the blessing of the side altar of the Miraculous Medal with the title as the second patron of the Most Holy Trinity Parish of Balic-Balic, Sampaloc, Manila. During the same period, the Miraculous Medal Association of the MHTP grew to about 130 members (Note 5).
However, after sixty-five years, the passing of time has not been so kind to the devotion to Our Lady of Miraculous Medal. Today, the image of Our Lady of the Blessed Trinity can be seen in the altar where once the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal stood. Except during the nine-day novena period prior to her feastday, the image of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal is housed inside a floor to ceiling glass enclosed space near the side of the main entrance of the church (together with all the other images of saints). From the peak of about 130 members during the 1960’s, the Miraculous Medal Association shrunk to about less the twenty members. How long can the devotion last? Maybe, Barcelona and Estepa were right after all, only two images of the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal exists in Manila. That of Balic-Balic, not counted before, may soon disappear.
1. Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM), Vincentiana, July-August 2006. Retreived from http://cmglobal.org/vincentiana-novus-en/files/downloads/2006_4/vt_2006_04_09_en.pdf
2. Barcelona, M.A., Estepa, C.B. (2004). Ynang Maria: A Celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines. Anvil Manila.
3. Most Holy Trinity Parish 50th Fiesta Souvenir Program, 1982
4. Nenita Villavicencion, Ang Pinagsimulan ng Medalya Milagrosang Birhen, MHTP Fiesta Souvenir Program, June 6, 1982
5. MHTP Fiesta Souvenir Program, 1964, p.48-49