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Historical Profile

We, the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer were founded in Ciempozuelos, Madrid, Spain on June 1, 1864 by Bishop Jose Maria Benito Serra,OSB and Antonia de Oviedo Schonthal,OSR for the evangelization and integral human development of sexually exploited women.

About that time, Spain was in extreme political turmoil with profound social changes. The economy suffered severely with poverty affecting the less fortunate of the social classes. Because of this, people started migrating to the capital of the country. It was not unusual for the young who were alone and without work to engage in prostitution for a living.

Instead of solving these problems, government and society rejected these girls and eliminated all possibilities of help. The history of the Oblate Sisters, inclusive of the chronicles of Madrid, reflects with sincere realism the situation they were in. Many of these young women had no alternative but to continue with their life style or die of hunger. Frequently, they had to pay a high price with sickness, abandonment, incomprehension and the rejection of all.

  • Prostituted adult women and their context ( family)
  • Drug dependent women adults/minors and family
  • Neglected teenager, unwed/prostituted mothers and babies and their families
  • Sexually exploited street girls and family
  • Sexually abused girls within the family and their context
  • Girls at risk and family

 

In the Philippines, we decided to get involved and worked for the human/social transformation of two vulnerable groups and their context: the “hard-core” sexually exploited street girls and those sexually abused within the family. The decision was based on the assessment of these youngsters’ situation and need.

Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer, Inc. is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission with the registry number 121094 and secured a license to operate from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in March 1990.

 


St. Mary's House


A generous family, the Benitez family donated a 2,000 square meters to us. Resources were tapped from the Congregation of the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer (Spain and Venezuela) and some international organizations in Europe to build a spacious two story building for the project located at Barangay San Jose, Tagaytay City, inaugurated on December 17, 1989.

St. Mary’s House is a recovery shelter, an open setting where sexually exploited/abused girls are given the opportunity to avail of a healing process from their abusive, traumatic life experiences, participate in center and specific community activities and lead a life as normal as any other adolescent of their age. The project provides the care, safety and security of a homelike environment where the girls can experience love and protection of responsible adults and their peers. It helps them to enter into a process of healing, recovery and human/social development through which the adolescents may become fulfilled members of society. This program started in March, 1990.


Serra's Center for Girls(SCG)


Later in September 29, 1993, Serra’s Center for Girls was opened in Pasay City through the invitation of Brother Francisco Tañega, FMSI, M.D., Program Director of Pangarap Shelter in Pasay City. The parish priest Fr. Ricardo Frias of San Raphael Parish located in Park Avenue, Pasay City offered the third floor of the building beside the church for us to be used while doing Street/Bar Outreach in the vicinity of Pasay and Manila. Serra’s Center for Girls became a partner of Childhope-Asia, Philippines and Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation. In 1995, the sisters rented a house in Taft Avenue, Pasay City because some girls wanted to stay in the center. In 1997, Consuelo Foundation decided to construct a permanent building for the use of a program for the sexually abused and prostituted girls and it was inaugurated in the year 1999.

Serra’s Center for Girls is a recovery shelter, an open setting where sexually exploited/abused girls are given the opportunity to avail of a healing process from their abusive, traumatic life experiences, participate in center and specific community activities and lead a life as normal as any other adolescent of their age. The project provides the care, safety and security of a homelike environment where the girls can experience love and protection of responsible adults and their peers. It helps them to enter into a process of healing, recovery and human/social development through which the adolescents may become fulfilled members of society. An outreach program for the prostituted women who work in the bars or in the streets as free lance sex workers was also established.


Antonia De Oviedo Center(ADOC)


On May 25, 1998 the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer opened its third mission house in the Philippines through a rented house in Espina Compound, B. Rodriquez Street, Cebu City. This house was later blessed and inaugurated as ANTONIA DE OVIEDO CENTER – Cebu on June 1, 1998. The first community of sisters who came to Cebu then made initial steps to reach out to young women in the prostitution zone through their outreach work in the red light area in the city namely, Brgy. Kamagayan, Junquera and Colon Streets. In July, 1999 the sisters joined Stop Abuse of Minors Association (SAMA) in their endeavor to help young women who suffer from sexual abuses and exploitation. Due to the increasing number of girls and women who wanted to be sheltered, the Congregation decided to move to a bigger rented house located in Limkaking Compound, Andres Abellana Street, Guadalupe on July 1999. Later, in October 1999 ANTONIA DE OVIEDO DROP-IN SHELTER formally opened at the 4th Floor of a rented apartment in Sanciangko corner Pelaez Street, Cebu City. In the year 2000, a program for mothers and babies was also established. The Drop-in Shelter later transferred to its new location in Flores Street, Pasil, Cebu City in 2002. In 2003, the Congregation bought around 2,000 square meters property located in Guadalajara Village, Guadalupe, with an old house which the Congregation remodeled for the sisters and girls’ residence. In 2004, an extended facility for the girls was built in cooperation with ANESVAD – Spain. In 2005, the building for the Social Reintegration Phase of the project was built through the financial assistance of MISSIO – Aachen, Germany. On the same year, a new building for the Drop-In Center of the program was also built through the financial assistance granted by ANESVAD – Spain. These two new buildings are located in Mabolo, Cebu City and are both utilized for the implementation of the different program components such as: Bar/Street/City Health Outreach, Community Outreach, Drop-in and Social Reintegration Phase of the Project.

The mystic that encouraged the Founders was inspired by Christ the Redeemer. They conceived their mission as a means of salvation, as an integral liberation directed to the whole person. The woman in need is loved by Jesus, for He gave up His life for the salvation of many, especially for her, as it is reflected in the Gospel: Parable of the Good Shepherd, the story of Mary Magdalene and the Good Samaritan.

The name Oblate of the Most Holy Redeemer is by itself a synthesis of the Spirit and the divine gift that gave birth to the Congregation and that today is very much alive in each Oblate Sister. She, in the words of Antonia de Oviedo, will walk in the redeeming footsteps of Christ, resemble Him and feel like He did. As the name of the Congregation implies, the Oblate Sisters offer and commit themselves to those for whom this beautiful Mission was begun.

The Founders never forgot that their Mission to be successful required techniques, a method, a pedagogy. A pedagogy that, if it is authentic, would draw forth from the reality of the girl and the mystic would bring us closer to her. That is why it is not surprising that since the beginning, LOVE has been the core of every method used in the Congregation. Love expressed in joyful welcome and acceptance of the woman in need, in the commitment to walk in life in solidarity with her, to enjoy Christ’s salvation together and work for her total human development.