Our Lady of Pillar of Imus
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According to the Official Archives of the Recollects in the Philippines this is the history of the devotion to the Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Imus that was brought in "Hacienda de Imus" ( Imus City ).
- In 1623 Fr. Martin Lumbreras Sanches Perez Peralta, ORSA (Martin de San Nicholas, 1598–1632) came to the Philippines. Fr. Martin, being a native of Zaragoza, had a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin under the title "Nuestra Señora del Pilar". He brought with him an Image of Nuestra Señora del Pilar which was first brought to the church of San Nicholas de Tolentino at Intramuros, Manila where it was enthroned on a small altar specifically made for the image. The devotion to the Virgen del Pilar grew within the walled city of Intramuros, a group in honor of the Virgin which was called "Obras Pias de la Nuestra Señora del Pilar" was formed by a devotee and named Juan de la Virgen del Pilar; this group's goal was to handle the funds of the Church.
- On the 28th of May 1694 the Recollect Friars all agreed that the image of the Virgin of the Pillar be transferred from her small altar in the San Nicholas de Tolentino Church to the Casa Hacienda de Imus (Cuartel at present), the image was temporarily placed in the Enfermaria (a room where priests rest). On the 13th of March 1766 the Recollect Corporation approved a plan to construct a new church in the Hacienda in honor of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Imus that the people of Imus often referred to as "Nana Pilar"(Our Mother Pillar).
The Miraculous Image
Several miracles and explainable events are also narrated by the people of Imus attributed to Nana Pilar, the following are some of the accounts:
- On the 27 of August 2010 Nana Pilar manifested her protection; there was an outing of the young clergy in Morong, Bataan, where young priests, deacons and seminarians joined. While they were swimming in the beach a strong under current brought one of the deacons, Rev. Marco Cyril Convento (now a priest), to the deeper part of the sea. The deacon's companions were in distraught as they tried to save him from drowning. They were starting to fear the worse and started praying for him when all of a sudden the deacon was seen in the shallow part of the sea, without a single trace of injury. In thanksgiving they headed to the nearest church in the area; they were all astonished to find out that the town is also under the patronage of Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Reverend Convento and his companions attribute this miracle to no other than the Patroness of the Diocese of Imus: Nana Pilar, to whom they've dedicated their vocation.
- Ms. Vida Ramirez Corral accounted two miracles that happened to her mother. First was in 2002, when her mother suffered a stroke caused by a large clot in her brain and an operation should be done immediately to prevent further complications, but as the doctors were about to start the surgery they were surprised to find out that the clot got smaller and the operation was no longer needed. Curious about such an astonishing find, Ms. Corral's mother told them that before the scheduled operation she was visited by Nana Pilar. The Virgin once again showed how powerful prayers through her intercession is when in 2003, Ms. Corral's mother was diagnosed with Cholelthiasis (stones in the gall bladder) and once again scheduled for an operation. Days before the surgery, tests were conducted to know the status of the patient, they find out that not a single trace of the stones could be found, and the operation was no longer needed. Once again Ms. Corral's mother accounted that Nana Pilar visited her in her dreams and touched her affected area.
- In 2001 the Virgin of the Pillar manifested her love for her children when a miracle, through her intercession, happened; It was almost fiesta already when one of the seminarians of the Tahanan ng Mabuting Pastol Seminary, named Conrad Merdeguia, was stricken with Dengue. His platelets were severely low and that the worst thing that could happen to him is to die. Hoping that prayers could help, Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle who was the parish priest of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pilar in Imus City asked Conrad's co-seminarians to dance during the Karakol for that year, with only one petition in mind: to ask Nana Pilar's intercession for Conrad's healing. Their prayers were quickly granted when a phone call from the hospital right after the Karakol that Conrad has miraculously recovered from Dengue already and was already out of danger. At present Mr. Merdeguia is already a professor in Theology in a school at Masbate, Philippines.
- Not know to many that a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church once served the Parish of Imus. He is St.Ezequiel Moreno OAR. It was in 1892 that Fr. Moreno was sent to be the Administrator of the Hacienda de Imus and to help the parish priest Fray Jose Maria Learte, ORSA with the Cholera epidemic that greatly affected the Hacienda. It is said that Fr. Moreno often prayed in front of the Image of Nana Pilar and ask for the cessation of the Epidemic; the outbreak did kill 3,200 Imuseño, but with the grace of God and intercession of the Blessed Mother it did stop. Fr. Moreno served Imus from 1882 to 1885. He was raised to the Altars as Saint of the Church on October 11, 1992, coincidentally on the eve of the feast of the Virgin of the Pillar, by Pope John Paul II.
- In the late 1940s as the Japanese soldiers were about to leave the county they had a plot to bomb the Isabel bridge near the Cuartel, but this never materialized because a mother carrying her son had stopped them from doing so. Later on when the Japanese soldier went by the church, he marveled at the countenance of the Virgin in the altar for he knew that he had seen the face before. He called the other soldiers and asked them to come and see for themselves the image of the Virgin in the altar. It was then that they all agreed that the Virgin in the Altar is the same woman who stopped them from bombing the Isabel bridge near Cuartel.
In the recent times, the maternal protection radiated by Our Lady of the Pillar to Imuseños is frequently felt, be it through actual miracles or ones that are spiritual felt by her devotees, Nana Pilar's guidance and love has always reign in the hearts of the people of Imus.
According to the devotees, the Town of Imus is steadfast because it is being overseen by its Mother and Queen. Calamities and misfortunes are minimized or eventually eliminated because of the loved being shown by the Virgin of the Pillar. Just like the Blessed Apostle James, in time of despair, Imuseños immediately run to their mother, Nana Pilar to ask for her intercession; in times of sickness, the also turn to Nana Pilar for her help and guidance, while some are healed others who are still in their beds with illness are given strength and the ability to accept the will of the Lord.
Hacienda de Imus
Imus City was formed part of the Hacienda de Imus owned by the Recollect Fathers in 1686. These include the Encomienda de Binakayan (Binakayan, Kawit) and Perez-Dasmariñas (Dasmariñas City) which is a former barrio of Imus.
- Like Cavite City (originally called Cavite La Punta) and Noveleta, Cavite (La Tierra Alta) the Hacienda de Imus (now Imus City) use to be a barrio of Cavite el Viejo (now Kawit, Cavite), whose parish church was built by the Jesuits during the administration of Manila Archbishop, Garcia Serrano, from 1618 to 1329. For more than a century and a half the people of Imus had to endure walking or traveling 4.5 kilometers of dirt road to attend religious services or transact official business in the Cavite el Viejo. The difficulty of communication between Imus and Kawit was long-standing complaint of the Imuseños until another religious order, the Order of Augustinian Recollects, as a consequence to the British occupation of Manila in 1762, established a Parish Church in Imus, in what now known as Bayang Luma (now Bayanluma).
- However, the church was far from the estate house acquired by the Recollect Corporation, and when the church was destroyed by a strong typhoon of September 1779, the Recollect Friars transferred it to Barrio Toclong and then finally to Sitio de Balangon, now the present site of the church.
- In 1769, the workers of the Hacienda together with the Cabezas de barangay completed the relocation of their houses into a reduccion. The reduccion was a process of resetting the people near the church called Bajo de Campanas to facilitate the evangelization of the people and also to put them under the control of the Spanish Authority. The people who refused to live within the reduccion were called taong labas which often times had the connotation of being lawless people.
With the establishment of the Recollect Church the people of Imus gained their religious emancipation from the Jesuit run parish of Cavite el Viejo. The Recollects, however, wouldn't be contented with the little victory. In 1774, Racollect Fary Pedro San Buenaventure, ORSA petitioned the government to "separate the inquilinos of Imus from the political jurisdiction of the government of Cavite el Viejo". After a considerable time of waiting, the petition was granted and Imus became an independent Municipality on October 3, 1795 (9 days before the Feast of Nuestra Señora del Pilar).
Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the petition of the miracles claimed by devotees in 2012, authorizing the coronation of the image via a Papal bull. The Canonical Coronation was carried out on 3 December 2012 in Imus Cathedral by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese.
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