In the district of Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines, there lived a very a pious, wealthy and generous couple- Don Ignacio Arroyo and Doña Maria Pidal Arroyo. They repeatedly expressed to the Most Rev. James P. McCloskey, Bishop of Jaro their desire to contribute to the establishment of a religious congregation in the diocese. They not only pledged part of their wealth to provide for the foundation, but offered wholeheartedly most of all their only daughter, Maria Beatriz del Rosario Arroyo, who was already a perpetually professed member of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Intramuros, Manila.

Venerable Rosario of the Visitation - Foundress Dominican sisters of the Most Holy Rosart of the Philippines
Venerable Rosario of the Visitation – Foundress dominican sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines

On July 24, 1925 the formal permit for the foundation of the Congregation, formerly known as the Beaterio del Santisimo Rosario, was issued by the Sacred Congregation of Religious to Bishop McCloskey. The bishop of Jaro wanted the Congregation to educate the youth of the diocese, to take care of the orphans and the sick, and to teach Christian Doctrine to the people.

The Arroyo family residence in Molo, became the cradle of the new religious foundation which until now houses the Motherhouse of the Congregation. On February 18, 1927 four Dominican Sisters of the Dominican Sisters of Siena came to Molo, Iloilo City to form the nucleus of the Congregation. They were under the spiritual guidance of the Father Provincial of the Dominican fathers of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines; the Congregation later became officially affiliated to the Order of Preachers in January 16, 1959. The Mill Hill Fathers, the Augustinian Fathers and the Diocesan Clergy also helped in the spiritual and temporal affairs.

In 1947 when the then archbishop of Jaro, Most Rev. Jose Ma. Cuenco encouraged the sisters to engage in the apostolate of education in rural areas, Sisters were sent to school and congregational schools started to open in the Archdioceses of Jaro and Capiz. Soon schools were opened too in the Dioceses of San Jose de Antique and Bacolod. In 1964, the Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii asked for some teaching Sisters to administer diocesan-owned schools. In the early 70’s the Diocese of Tagum, Davao del Norte asked for the same. In 1982, a mission in Kenya was opened to take care of handicapped children.

In October 7, 1985, the Congregation was granted the Pontifical Right Status.

96 years later, the Sisters are present 42 houses in Philippines, USA, Kenya and Italy with 238 professed members and two Regional Houses (Hawaii Region and Mindanao Region) preaching and collaborating in the areas of education, catechetical instruction, retreat ministries and health services of the Church.

With many people attesting the sanctity of the Foundress, fifty years after her death, a formal petition was made for the opening of the cause of her beatification. On October 7, 2009 a Diocesan Inquiry for the Causes of Beatification and Canonization was opened and on June 12,

2019, a decree on the heroic virtues of the Venerable Mother Rosario of the Visitation was promulgated by the Church.

-Sr. Ma. Arlene Nacionales, OP Solemnity of the Annunciation March 25, 2021

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