THE Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines, in Molo, Iloilo yesterday said the congregation has not filed a cause, or a proper petition, for the sainthood of Mother Rosario Arroyo, a grand-aunt of Jose Miguel Arroyo, the President’s husband.
 
"The Dominican Sisters are just planning to launch the cause for the veneration of Mother Rosario. We have not yet launched a cause," said Sr. Maria Veneranda Mission, O.P., secretary general of the congregation which Mother Rosario or "Mother Sayong" founded.
 
The filing of a "cause" is the first of several steps for a candidate for sainthood.
 
Presidential brother-in-law Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. (and Negros Occidental) on Monday said that the First Family will pray for the beatification of their relatives, Mother Rosario and Teresa Arroyo.
 
He said Mother Rosario is the sister of his grandfather Jose Ma. Arroyo and the daughter of Maria Pidal while Teresa Arroyo is his aunt or the sister of his father Ignacio Sr.
 
He said the Arroyos and the Tuasons are also distant relatives of St. Teresa de Avila of Spain. "We are hoping we will add a few more saints in our family," he said.
 
Sister Mission said the congregation has not been corresponding with the Arroyo clan.
 
She said congregation has been gathering materials since 1957 for the filing of the cause. Mother Sayong died that year of heart failure.
 
After enough materials are gathered, the cause will be filed before the archdiocese where the candidate for saint lived and did most of his or her work. The archdiocese will then conduct a review and if it finds merit to the petition, it will endorse this to the Vatican. The Vatican will review the endorsement.
 
Sister Mission said the eight-member Mother Rosario Commission which is in charge of the gathering has obtained "ample materials about the life and works" of Mother Sayong.
 
The gathering of materials includes interviews with people who have been with Mother Rosario.
 
The materials are kept in the Molo church, which was spared of bombings during the Second World War.
Asked if media exposure of the matter is putting pressure on the congregation and the commission, Sr. Mission said they will wait for the return of their prioress general, Sr. Maria Celestine Bancal, O.P., before proceeding with the preparations for a cause. The prioress general is arriving from the United States next month.
 
On news about the possible canonization, she said President Arroyo must be proud of her kin.
 
"Maybe it’s a family thing. Something to boost the family pride. Maybe because the President feels is it a way of coping with her stress," she said.
 
Bishop Pedro Quitorio III, spokesman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said the CBCP has not received a petition for Mother Sayong.
 
According to the website AmericanCatholic.org, the canonization procedure must begin five years after the candidate’s death, although this was waived in the case of Mother Teresa.
 
Local bishops investigate the life of the candidate and the findings are sent to the Vatican.
 
After approval by a panel of theologians and cardinals, the pope proclaims the candidate is "venerable," meaning a role model of Roman Catholic virtues.
 
Two Filipinos have passed the veneration process – Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo and Pedro Calungsod.
The next step is beatification if it is determined by the Church that the candidate is responsible for a miracle after death.
 
Finally, for the designation of saint, the Church must certify proof of a second posthumous miracle.
 – Czeriza Valencia