The Carmelite Monastery, Cebu

There has to be balance in life, we are constantly reminded. Dark and light. Loud and quiet. Modern and historic. This sense of balance, and much more, we find at the Carmelite Monastery.

Established in 13 May 1949, the monastery, forbidden to guests, sits quietly beside the church. It is home to the Carmelite nuns who focus on contemplative prayer. The sisters once had a special guest — former President Corazon Aquino, who sought refuge among the nuns in the monastery during the height of the EDSA People Power Revolution. As the standard bearer of the opposition, Cory had to be secured, flown all the way from Manila to Cebu.

For this historical significance, a visit to the Carmelite Monastery should transcend religious boundaries.

The faithful, on the other hand, have slightly different reasons when heading for the monastery. Many visit the monastery, bearing fresh eggs as gifts, to ask for good weather. We don’t know how the practice started, but anyone — birthday celebrators, student leaders, big-event organizers, and practically anyone who require a rain-free weather for the event — troop to the Carmelite Monastery for that purpose.

Many of the faithful go there to make prayer requests, writing on a piece of paper, then dropping it on a box. The Carmelite sisters go through these prayer requests and include them in their prayers. It feels like having a prayer army.

Many of the faithful, us included, go to the monastery to soak it’s solitude, expressing our gratitude for blessings that came our way and praying for special intentions. Found in Mabolo, the monastery is just a few blocks from Ayala-Cebu. The source of solitude, a place of historic significance, in the middle of a modernizing Cebu.

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