Victorina Laxamana Vicente, nicknamed Turing, was born on March 23, 1921 and was the 7th child among the 11 siblings of Maximo Vicente Sr., a known sculptor, and Crispina Laxamana, a landed principalia in San Luis, Pampanga. Thirteen years and six infant deaths passed before she was born and being the eldest and an only girl, she was truly pampered from birth. She was a frail child and cannot walk even at 2 years old and so her pious parents prayed hard for her health.
At the Cradle of Colegio de Sta. Rosa
“At the age of four, I had a very high fever which they said could have killed me. A celadora of Lourdes Church gave me Lourdes water, and this saved my life. I was enrolled at Colegio de Sta. Rosa, and my yaya always brought a basketful of medicine – the Madres said – because I was so thin and pale, and never smiled…The sisters gave me extra merienda, and I was the pet of the kitchen Madre. The sisters at Sta. Rosa loved me and often joked: “What are you a statue?” Then I answered silently by tapping on my lap to show that I am not a statue but a living creature.” (Memoirs of Mo. Therese on her childhood)
Legion of Mary
“I was made the next Curia President (in 1942)… This made me travel all the way walking from Quiapo, Binondo, Sta. Cruz – in spite of Japanese. Several times we felt the hand of God saving us from them, especially when I organized the Inter Parish Catechetical Convention, I was called to Fort Santiago to report… Another special incident was my extending the Legion in Pampanga. I rode the truck with Huks but they never molested me as I spoke Pampango. The first Praesidia in the land of the Huks was established thanks to Mama Mary.” (Memoirs, March 10, 1980)
The Carmelite Years
At the same time that Victorina was involved in these apostolic endeavors during the war, she was discerning her calling. She sensed that she was meant to follow St. Therese, her favorite saint, as a Carmelite nun but in 1937, however, Fr. Francis Cosgrave, CSsR (Redemptorist SD) counseled her to enter the Canonesses of St. Augustine (ICM sisters now) who was running St. Theresa’s College because of her active disposition. It was not realized though due to war and tragedy that befell Fr. Cosgrave in 1945. Several months after the war, her new SD, Fr. Artemio Casas changed the future of her vocation.
Mo. Theresa of Jesus, OCD (1882-1958), affectionately called Ma Mere, Foundress of the discalced Carmelite nuns in the Philippines. It was to her that Victorina frequented at the Carmelite Monastery at Gilmore Avenue, San Juan and to her that she revealed her desire to follow St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Carmel. She entered Carmel of St. Therese in Quezon City (Gilmore) on May 30, 1946 and received her religious habit. But on the following day, she, along with 4 others, were flown by an army plane to Batangas to establish the Carmel in Lipa. She received the name Sr. Mary Therese of the Sacred Heart during her clothing day. (In the picture, conspicuously absent from those who accompanied her was her mother who could not accept her daughter’s decision to enter the Monastery).
Charism: Contemplation of the Holy Face of Jesus
Spirituality: To see God’s presence continually, with Mary.
Purpose: To help build the local church as a community through the promotion of relevant spirituality, formation of the laity and pastoral works.
When the Foundress died in 1995, the sisters continued her legacy. At present, the Institute has expanded their mission in Ballesteros, Cagayan; Alaminos, Pangasinan; and Mexico, Pampanga. At present the superior general is Mo. Ma. Teresita P. Bantillo, HFJ.
The name of the association is CRUSADERS OF THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS (CHFJ), a catholic religious lay association founded by Rev. Mo. Mary Therese L. Vicente, HFJ in the Archdiocese of Manila. Its official address is at Holy Face Center & Convent, 1111 F. R. Hidalgo St., Quiapo, 1001 Manila.
The Crusaders’ identity is derived from the nature of the spiritual and pastoral objectives of the Sisters of the Holy Face of Jesus, essentially and explicitly stated in their Constitution and in the items that directly apply to the spiritual and pastoral life of the Crusaders of the Holy Face of Jesus as members of a lay association in the Church.
The official name of the organization is the “Young Apostles of the Holy Face of Jesus” (YAHFJ). This is a religious youth organization founded by Mo. Mary Therese Vicente, HFJ on August 4, 1990 at Quiapo Manila. A non – stock, non – profit organization affiliated to Archdiocesan Youth Organization and Movement of the Archdiocese of Manila.
The Young Apostle of the Holy Face of Jesus as a nationwide organization is under the guidance of the Sisters of the Holy face of Jesus.
The Little Friends of the Holy Face of Jesus (LFHFJ) is an association for children, ages 5 (or even younger) to 11 years old. This organization takes a very important place in the Congregation’s apostolate for the youth because of their vulnerabilities. That is why, in their formation and developmental programs, involvement of families or significant persons in their lives are necessary. These children, when they reach 12 years of age, will be enrolled to become members of the Young Apostles of the Holy Face of Jesus. As they mature, they are likewise encourage to become Crusaders of the Holy Face of Jesus where they can continually fulfill their noble roles in the Church and in society according to their status in life.
Mission: We commit ourselves to the formation of genuine Catholics or at least mature Christians by the inculcation of our Christian Faith and Values of love, justice, and peace.
Vision: We envision a pastoral institution that serves for the wholistic formation, development and renewal of the poor and the faceless of the society where they can be led to an experience of fullness of life.
Mission: We commit ourselves to an integral evangelization through pastoral works that give formation and education to the laity.