The Home of Children officially known as SAINT RITA ORPHANAGE was originally conceived by Mother Carmen Alba, an Augustinian Recollect Sister and a 3-term Superior General (6 years per term) – and now of happy memory, when riding through Quiapo and Sta. Cruz, Manila she saw small boys pestering vehicle riders, especially those in cars, asking for alms, but would use the money for questionable ends. When the giver would hand them a few coins only, they would shout at the car owners, and even resorting to the language of the streets. Thereafter, putting up an orphanage became Mother Carmen’s obsession so that children of their like would have the proper guidance. Mother wrote: “We wanted to help these these small ones, less fortunate in life that they grow up properly trained in their rights and prepared for their future places in society.”
Doña Rita Bernardo Vda. de Diaz
Mother Carmen could not make up her mind in choosing between Manila and Tagaytay City for the orphanage site, but God in his infinite wisdom, inspired Doña Rita Vda. de Diaz, a landed lady of Parañaque, Metro Manila, to donate a portion of her land in Sucat, Parañaque along Dr. A. Santos Avenue, then a sea of greenery in its pristine beauty. Doña Rita donated the lot to the Congregation through Mother Carmen Alba with Sr. Marta Llanes, AR. as liaison between the donor and the donee. The donation took place in 1962, in November. Another portion was bought by the congregation and this barren and rocky surface, a portion of which was once planted to rice, gave way to the Orphanage, the Home of Children, pictutesquely “the heart” and concern of Saint Rita Village.
The Doña Pia Vda. de Guidote Fund Helps Build the Orphanage
A substantial amount left by Doña Pia Vda. de Guidote to Reverend Mother Carmen enabled Mother Carmen to get the building started.
Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and wife Laura Pitch In
Mr. Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, then the world junior lightweight boxing champion, and his generous wife, Laura Sarreal Elorde, pitched in with more funding and with the help of other generous people, the project was finally completed. It was blessed on February 3, 1967.
Saint Rita Chapel Rises
The Elordes had the St. Rita Chapel constructed as the physical center of the spiritual life of the orphanage as well as of the St. Rita Village. Its cornerstone was laid and blessed on March 29, 1964. As to its beginnings, Saint Rita Orphanage is likened unto “a grain of mustard seed sown under the shade and beside the watercourse, God’s Mother – Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, which someday will grow up so much that rational birds will come and settle in, on its branches.” – (Fray Benito de San Pablo)
Sisters’ Convent Rises
The Sisters’ Convent followed soon, a part of which “temporarily housed the bundles of humanity” who came into our simple abode or shelter. This was in 1964. Saint Rita School and the Sisters’ Convent were blessed on December 15, 1964 by Bishop Hernando Antiporda, of happy memory.
Kinder and Grades I to IV Classes Commence
Meanwhile classes for fifty (50) children commenced with a four-room hollow blocks structure built on purpose by the Elordes who believed that in time the orphans or the less fortunate would need the School and that the school would in turn help the Orphanage.
In December 1964, the Orphanage making use of a portion of the convent, welcomed five children with ages ranging from 2 weeks to two years. As time went on this number rose to fifty-five. Many had overstayed in the institution. Efforts were exerted to locate their true homes. Some were adopted. Many were returned home and had enjoyed familial love.
The agency had extended its services to the neighboring poor with its affiliation to the Christian Children’s Fund, Incorporated in 1972, through the energetic spearheading of the Reverend Alton Gould who talked with Mother Carmen about the CCP Network. The CCP working through Saint Rita Orphanange was serving 338 children children and their families located in eight different areas in the Parañaque suburbs before its shut down on March 25, 1984.
SRO Gets MSSD License in 1979
Records show that the Orphanage was first given an MSSD License as a child- caring agency on December 25, 1979 until December 28, 1981 subject to licensing assessment. On March 26, 1982, St. Rita Orphanage was given the license to operate with MSSD LICENSE NO. BFCW 14. Its CERTIFICATE OF ACCREDITATION as a Child-Caring Agency with CERTIFICATE NO. 06 CCA was awarded to Sr. Esperanza Heffler, Directress of the Saint Rita Orphanage on December 12, 1983.
Maiden Issue of VOX CARMELII Comes Off the Press
In July 1983, St. Rita Orphanage published the maiden issue of VOX CARMELII, its official organ. It is published once in two years, in English, so as to consolidate the agency’s activities within a specified period. We hope that through our internal publication we can disseminate to our concerned publics, government institution and agencies, benefactors, donors and friends whatever activities, projects, programs we undertake in order to acquaint them with our services within the dimension of our apostolate and commitment.
Funding comes from the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters, Inc. (CARS, Inc.), and from corporate and individual donors.
Charitable individuals/ institutions/companies who have something to share to the orphanage from their generous hearts and from the abundance of their graces are most welcomed. The survival of the children in the orphanage depends on generous individuals… like YOU!
To those who in one way or another remember our beloved children in St. Rita Orphanage, please accept our heartfelt gratitude. Thank you so much! We pray that God’s abundant blessings be your reward.
That the purpose or goals for which the Saint Rita Orphanage was organized are as follows:
Programs and Services:
- To provide temporary residential care to the abandoned, the neglected and the indigent children in order to provide opportunities for total human development: physical, emotional, mental, intellectual, educational, economic, cultural, religious and spiritual.
- To assume care, maintenance, protection and custody of these children until such time as they be adopted, cared for by foster parents or returned home to relatives.
- To provide temporary shelter to children whose parents are currently under financial stress or temporarily incapacitated until such time when their parents or guardian can take upon themselves their responsibilities.
- To provide them with Christian education so as to be able to live he Gospel at an early age and take their part later in the building of Christian Communities ready to serve the people of God.
- To reach out to a certain degree in proportion to the Agency’s capacity to help indigent children and their families in terms of man-power, health, material and financial assistance/ services.
- To function accordingly per Agency’s purposes and goals.
- Residential Care
- Health and Nutrition
- Medical/ Dental Care
- Hospitalization . Therapy, if needed
Spiritual / Moral Formation
- Inculcation of Values
- Participation at Holy Mass
- Reception of the Sacraments, i.e. Baptism, confirmation, Penance and Holy Communion
- Preparation for Return Home
- Community Outreach
After care service
- Staff Development through Seminars to DSWD