In the early 1960’s, Bagong Silangan was known as a rich agricultural area where rice was the main crop. During later years, a drastic conversion brought relocation efforts for informal settlers from the downtown, therefore establishing the barangay (village) as a separate entity and later formally recognized as part of Quezon City. The sudden expansion of the built-up area of the Metro led the settlers to flock to the area as a site of a downtown substitute. Thus, the barangay became infamous as a squatters’ area. Mayor Ismael A. Mathay, Jr. granted the rights of land ownership to the barangay people during his term of office as mayor of Quezon City. Since then, the population has been rapidly increasing and a continuing growth of children dependents is visible. Bagong Silangan is considered a high risk area for earthquakes and is considered urban in density and infrastructure.
In collaboration with the Carmelite Fathers and Brothers from the Order of Carmelites, Province of Blessed Titus Brandsma in the Philippines, the Sisters of Mount Carmel joined the effort to help the people in Bagong Silangan, thus the creation of a new parish was established, and a village named Carmel came into being. The Sisters of Mount Carmel minister to the people in this village through pastoral, catechectical, and education ministries.
On August 15, 2015, the feast of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they opened the school year program for tutoring and catechism for children. The teachers from Sisters of Mount Carmel Catholic School (SMCCS) extended their service in teaching the children for tutorial learning among the 6 years old, catechism 1 for children ages 7-9, and catechism 2 for children ages 10-12. Some high school students from SMCCS extended their community services to this local community by their feeding program, together with the mothers from Camel Village. Students from SMCCS have regular monthly Eucharistic celebrations where students are encouraged to offer goods that they can share with the children in Carmel Village. Parents from SMCCS are also very generous to the mission of the Sisters of Mount Carmel, especially to the children and families from Carmel Village. They also have programs for the mothers from the village who regularly gather together for their faith-sharing through Lectio Divina, which enables the parents to have a prayerful bonding with their neighbors.
See pictures below for updates of their activities. Photos courtesy of Sister Elsie Villason, O. Carm.