Silang’s Early Accounts Part 4, Local Miracles

Saint Ignatius LoyolaThe last part talks about their healing miracles attributed to the powers of catholic faith, i.e. the use of the cross, reliquaries, blessed beads and statues particularly that of St. Ignatius to cure whatever malevolence the natives were encountering. Such “saintly” importance can be still seen today, if you go to the church of Silang, one if its magnificent 17th century multi-level retablos is dedicated to the Jesuit saints with the statue of St. Ignatius at the center.

The following are excerpts, translated in English by FW Morrison of Harvard University, edited and annotated by EH Blair and JA Robertson with historical introduction and additional notes by Edward Gaylord Bourne, in the book, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XIII, 1604-1605, from the book Relacion de las Islas Filipinas written in 1604-1605 by Fr. Pedro Chirino, S.J. and published in Rome.

(Excerpt Part 4) The new residence of Silan and its Christians. Chapter LXXIX.

“I must continue the account which in other letters I have written to your Reverence of the favors which the Lord communicates by means of a print of our blessed Father Ignatius; for He is continually bestowing these favors upon those new Christians, on account of their strong faith in Him. A woman was brought in to us, sick and unable to speak, and was dying before us without our being able to obtain from her a word or sign so that we could give her absolution; the statement of her friends, moreover, that she had asked for confession, was doubtful. I was therefore anxious and grieved, until I brought her an image of our blessed father, and I said mass for the sick woman, and when I returned she was able to speak, and made a good confession; but utterance again failed her, and she died in peace.

“When I returned the second time, I was called in haste to visit a sick woman, great with child, who was suffering violent pains and torment. We went to see her, and it aroused our compassion to behold her in convulsions of pain, both she and the infant (which was entering the ninth month) being in danger of death. I sent for the image of our blessed father, and then left the sick woman with Diego, our good blind man, and his wife, who performs the duties of a midwife. So good service did they render, in conjunction with the intercession of our blessed Father Ignatius (to whom they were greatly devoted), that very soon they sent for me to baptize the child, which was born alive. I baptized it, but it died; and the mother regained her health.

“On Holy Saturday a young man came to me in alarm, saying that a demon was trying to choke his sister. I went to her house and found her suffering from an oppression in her breast and throat, and distressed by fear. I asked for the image, and when it was brought, I heard the sick woman’s confession; she was at once relieved from the oppression and anxiety. For her greater consolation I left the image in order that she might have good company.

st. ignatius.retablo“On the following day, the Lord accorded us a most joyful Easter Sunday. In the morning there came to me a man, but recently arrived from Indan, who said that his wife was in a very exhausted condition from the pains of childbirth. I sent him with a boy to take the image of our blessed father and carry it to his home. He departed at once, and when the image was carried into the house his wife brought forth her child. It seems that the Lord has chosen to confirm this newly-converted people in their recent coming to Him, and in their faith.

A few days ago, a Bilango came to us in haste to ask for the image in behalf of a woman who was in childbirth; and as soon as it was brought to her, she gave birth to a child. In Santiago also the fiscal, remembering what he had heard about our blessed father, entreated his aid, as his wife was in a like critical condition, and her life in great danger. Immediately her infant was born alive, and, while receiving the water of holy baptism, passed on to the bliss of eternal light.” Thus far I have cited the letter of Father Gregorio Lopez; he could easily have related therein many other unusual events and marvelous incidents which occurred among those new believers. He omitted them probably for the sake of brevity, and because many of them are quite similar–for which reason I too o mit them. But I must not fail to mention one incident which occurred during the absence of Father Gregorio Lopez, at which time his companion, Father Pedro de Segura, remained in Silan.

Two Indians came to this father one night, seeking relief for a woman who was the wife of one and a relative of the other. She was suffering violent pangs in childbirth, and was in a most critical state, being unable to expel the child. The two Indians earnestly entreated the father, in their simplicity, for some blessed beads. He gave them his own reliquary, and as they were carrying it away he bethought himself of the image of our blessed Father Ignatius. Immediately he summoned the fiscal (who is always a man of mature years and trustworthy character), and gave him the image to be carried to the sick woman. The Indian woman, when she beheld the image, took it in her hands with devotion and love, and at the same moment gave birth to a child as beautiful as an angel, to her own great joy and the wonder of those who were present. Soon afterward she named the child, on this account, Maliuag, which signifies “difficult;” and again, at the baptism, Ignacio, in memory of so signal a favor. The name which this woman gave her child at its birth gives me occasion to describe the custom of these people in giving names.

Jesuit Retablo