Monastery of the Transfiguration: A Quiet Retreat

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The entrance to the Monastery compound

 

     “Peace to all who enter.” This is the sign that greets you at the entrance of the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Benedictine monks in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.  After following a relatively narrow and winding road upwards, you come upon a place that appears to calm you just by being there.

 

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The narrow pathway going up ...

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Fogged draped mountain range along the path going to the Monastery

 

On August 6, 1981, Solemnity of the Transfiguration, a survey headed by Abbot Eduardo Africa visited the site in San Jose, Malaybalay, Bukidnon. After careful study, the team decided that San Jose would be the most suitable place. On September 14, 1981, the Conventual Chapter of the Benedictine Abbey approved the establishment of a foundation in Bukidnon and authorized the acceptance of the land offered by the Bishop as well as the purchase of the adjacent property…

 

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The fertile land surrounding the Monastery

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A simple wooden chapel

 

… Architect Cecilio Maceren of Cagayan de Oro drew up the plans of the monastery . Construction started in July 1982. Archabbot Notker Wolfe, O.S.B., and the community of the Archabbey of St. Otillien donated the bells of the monastery. Then, there were Rev. Fr. Columbano Adag, O.S.B., Dom Marcos Salvana, O.S.B., Dom Henry Victor, O.S.B., and Dom Francisco Hubilla, O.S.B., who set up  residence on the site, to personally oversee the construction, from the first beam to the last nail. Dom Gabriel Asejo, O.S.B., later joined the group. On April 2, 1983, Holy Saturday, Fr. Abbot Africa appointed Rev. Paulino Macaraeg, O.S.B., Prior of the Monastery  and Rev. Columbano Adag, O.S.B., Subprior. On August 6, 1983, the Monastery of the Transfiguration  was blessed and inaugurated in solemn rites during the canonical visitation of Rt. Rev. Dennis Huerre, O.S.B., Abbot President of the Subiaco Congregation and Rev. Mark Butlin, O.S.B., of Ampleforth Abbey, England. (http://transfiguration.ph/content/view/5/27/)

 

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The painting that adorns the private chapel of the Monks

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Inside the private chapel

 

     The Monastery of the Transfiguration became autonomous on January 25, 1986. It is a community composed of monks who vowed to follow the Rule of St. Benedict by living a contemplative life in their quest for God. The community observes the traditional horarium which consists of prayer(seven times during the day), manual labor and spiritual reading.

 

     I do not think we were suppose to roam around the private area of the Monastery, but we were there early to catch a glimpse of sunrise (or what was left of it) since the Monastery is one of the best places to observe the mountain range of Mt. Kitanglad.  That early morning, the whole place was so serene (and sacred) that one would feel instantly at peace in this place.

 

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Panoramic view of Mt. Kitanglad from the top of the Monastery

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Even the stray cat observes silence in this place

 

     While quietly roaming around the premises, we observed that there were  many quotations from the bible strewn around the place for one to read and appreciate. It was like giving you things to think about while walking around the place.

 

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City rats may have a hard to to stay still ...

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Visitors leave messages (graffiti?) in the cacti

 

     The monks also offer spiritual retreats especially during the holy week.  You cannot find a better place than this to do some soul-searching.  And given the chance, I would like to go back here and live with the monks for a few day – to eat, pray, love.

 

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Call them for the retreat schedule

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The traveling barkada (Dr. Leila Santiago-Flores, 2nd from the left, is our gracious host)

 

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