Stella Maris College, Quezon City
Established in 1955, Stella Maris College (SMC) is known for academic excellence and provides training in mathematics, English, social sciences and natural sciences. SMC, located in the heart of Cubao, Quezon City, is a private Catholic learning institution founded in the Philippines by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (fmm).
The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary is a Roman Catholic religious institute founded by Mother Mary of the Passion in British India in 1877. In 1882, the sisters chose Saint Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan rule as their ideal of a Gospel life and became the “Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.”
The school strives to train its students to become competent and engaged citizens who witness to truth and charity in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and Blessed Mary of the Passion.
Our Lady, Star of the Sea is a title for the Virgin Mary. “Star of the Sea” is a translation of the Latin title “Stella Maris.”
The school’s logo is a ship sailing on stormy waters, guided by a Star. The ship symbolizes the Stellan, while the sea is a metaphor for the difficulties she may face in life. The star, which guides the Stellan in the storm and shows her the way, is Mary, the Star of the Sea. The motto, “Ad Veritatem Per Caritatem” (Latin for “To Truth Through Charity”) is enclosed by a rope with ornamental loops and bows. These not only highlight the importance of Truth and Charity, but also show that they are closely intertwined.
More information about SMC’s and FMM’s history can be found on the Stella Maris College, Quezon City website: http://www.stellamariscollegeqc.edu.ph/history.html
Hail, Stella Maris!
Hail to thee! Oh, alma mater dear!
From far and wide, ever we shall strive
We’ll face life’s fight without fear
From fifty-five, each fruitful year
We have learned to smile all the way
As thy voice we hear, recall each day
Lessons of love and loyalty
The blue and the white shall ever be
Let high her colors wave
For a treasure is she
The Star of the Sea
Mother of the True and the Brave!
The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in the Philippines and Abroad
It all began with a mistake. The mistake was made by some Franciscan Missionaries of Mary who were going by train to Belgium. With so many valises at the vestibule of their busy convent in Paris, and with everybody coming and going at all hours of the day, how were they to know that they had picked up a traveling bag not their own?
Well, the valise belonged to a priest who had come all the way from the Philippines (where on earth is it) to ask Very Reverend Mother General, Mere Marie de la Redemption, for just six nuns to begin a parochial school and workroom in a town called Lipa for Bishop Joseph Petrelli.
The priest was Father Gustav Petrelli, the Bishop’s brother, and he had just been refused his request because of lack of personnel. But God wanted the foundation in Lipa. So the valise was lost. The embarrassment it caused Mother General worked out for the good Bishop’s joy. For when she apologized to his brother, it was to repair her daughters’ fault with an assurance that she would send Sisters to the Philippines. Six, she promised. Actually, she sent twelve.
They arrived in Manila on a feastday of Our Lady ̶ December 10, 1912. The same day saw them installed in the fully furnished convent of Lipa, complete to the last matchbox, thanks to the Bishop’s prevenient thoughtfulness.
And so the story of their Philippine apostolate began. It sprang forth from the humble parochial school of Lipa, Batangas. From this original task, it would branch off to charitable works: catechetical, medical, social.
After Lipa would come other schools and social and catechetical centers: Atimonan and Sariaya in Tayabas (now Quezon), San Pablo in Laguna, Bauan in Batangas, Jimenez and Oroquieta in Misamis Occidental, Manila, Quezon City, and Cebu City. The vicissitudes of the Pacific War would work the destruction of several of these schools, but the period of reconstruction would witness reparation of the damage. And at present, besides Stella Maris College, four other schools share in the educational work: Our Lady of Loreto College in Manila; Saint Joseph’s Academy in Sariaya, Quezon’ Holy Rosary School in Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental; and Stella Maris School of Cebu City.
Lepers and lepers’ babies receive care and attention from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary at Tala, Rizal. While four Sisters work inside the government-owned sanitarium, others stay at the nursery of Our Lady of the Star to raise up babies born of the Hansenite parents but segregated from birth.
Saint Anthony’s Girls Institution in Manila takes care of orphans and gives them the benefits of Christian education. In the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Sisters likewise help the poor of several districts of Manila, including Tondo, Sampaloc, Balicbalic, Santa Cruz, and Trozo, in free clinics.
Saint Francis’ Convent in Baguio City serves as a resthouse for the Sisters whose health no longer allows them active apostolate. And to train young Filipinas in the Franciscan vocation, Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate was built in 1950 in Tagaytay City.
Coming from 19 nations, 232 Franciscan Missionaries of Mary at present work in these eight houses in the Philippines. Of this number, 193 are Filipinas.
In the foreign missions field, 18 Filipina F.M.Ms diffuse Christ’s charity through educational and social work in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Burma, Pakistan, Ceylon, Australia, Ghana, Liberia, and the United States.
But these Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in the Philippines and these Filipina foreign missionaries are only a part of the whole Institute, whose world membership exceeds 10,850, and who work as Mary’s “little army” in 400 houses found in 65 countries.
They silently help the Church in building up the Mystical Body of Christ in 228 dispensaries, 90 hospitals and clinics, 20 leper asylums, 379 schools and colleges, 55 boarding schools, 23 schools of nursing, 177 kindergartens, 49 nurseries, 606 catechetical centers, to mention a few of their apostolic works of charity.
But whether they teach in schools, tend the sick in hospitals, work in social centers, or spread truth by means of the printing press, their one aim is to win souls for God’s kingdom on earth.
Their mixed life of contemplation and activity draws vitality from their threefold vocation of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Expiation for sin, and the Apostolate. Every day before Christ exposed in the Eucharist on their altars, they adore for those who do not adore; they offer their lives as reparation for sin; and they engage in charitable works to bring Christ’s charity to men and lead men to God.
Eight Franciscan Missionaries of Mary were raised to the honors of the altar by Pope Pius XII: in 1946, Blessed Mary Hermine and her six companions, who had been martyred at Tai-Yuan-Foo, Northern Shansi, in China during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900; and in 1954, Blessed Maria Assunta, who died in Tong-Eul-Koo, Shansi, in 1905. As regards the cause for beatification of Mother Mary of the Passion, Rome will, we hope, soon make a favorable pronouncement.
Since its foundation in 1877, the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary has grown like a mustard seed. The Philippines came within its reach in 1912. In these 50 years, this branch of the world-wide tree has, in turn, flourished and ramified toward the foreign mission fields.
Faced with such wide vistas, we Stellans cannot help contemplating them with something of eagle-eyed vision. Besides, we are part of the scene, for we live within the scope of its influence. So, in the spirit of Franciscan simplicity, we joyfully learn from our Franciscan teachers to walk in the footsteps of Him who came to teach us all this truth, beauty, and goodness.
And to reach Him, Mary is our way.
Source: Stellan ’63 (SMC Yearbook), courtesy of Susanna Rosales