2023-01-23 PHILIPPINES

75 years of Marist Presence

It was in 1948, when four pioneering American Brothers set foot in the country and planted the Marist mission in Cotabato. This year, 2023, marks celebrating the DIAMOND JUBILEE (75 years) for the Philippine Marist Brothers.

An article in the book “Daring in Hope, Fifty Years of Marist Presence in the Philippines” explains how the American Brothers arrived in Philippines.

In 1945, shortly after the Japanese invaders had left the country, especially in Mindanao, the Marist Brothers received a renewed urgent appeal from the Oblate Fathers. This was to help in bringing the blessings of Catholic education to the boys and girls who lived in their diocese of Cotabato, located on one of the southernmost islands of the Philippine archipelago.

In answer to this appeal Br. Louis Omer Duprez, who was then Provincial of the American Province, flew to Cotabato in 1947 to make an on-the-spot survey of the condition in that far-off place. He recalled: ‘Measured in terms of teaching facilities or material worth, Cotabato is one of the most forlorn spots on the face of the globe. But the people are good and the need for Catholic teaching is great. Working with the good Oblate Fathers there is a great opportunity for apostolic work among untold numbers of God’s children in a land that almost seems to have been forgotten.’

The Provincial Council of the USA approved the establishment of the Mission and in 1948 a call was issued for volunteers to serve in this new and distant field. Out of a host of volunteers, four Brothers were selected to form the nucleus of this first Mission. There were Br. Maurus James Doherty from St. Ann’s High School in New York; Br. Peter Leonard Thommen, from Central High School of Lawrence, Mass; Br. Humbert Damian Teston, also from St. Ann’s HS, and Br. Herbert Daniel, from St. Agnes High School, New York City.

With the establishment of the Notre Dame High School in Cotabato, the American Province of the Marist Brothers began its first foreign mission activity” (Daring in Hope. Fifty Years of Marist Presence in the Philippines)


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