I was initially confused about the name of this austere church in Lipa, some call it Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and some Our Lady of Mediatrix. A few Google queries answered my questions. According to the Archdiocese of Lipa website, the church is officially called the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel of Mary Mediatrix of All Grace (a mouthful, I know), and is part of the Carmelites convent in Lipa City.
The story goes that the church was founded in 1946, a year after Lipa was ravaged by the Japanese forces during the Second World War. The Carmelites from Manila then transferred to Lipa, which coincided with the feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace.
Two years after the founding of the church, a miracle was reported on the church grounds with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace, appearing in front of a nun named Teresita. The apparition was declared by the Catholic Church as fraudulent and ordered everything related to the incident to be put away. Teresita left the monastery and the convent was sealed from the public.
42 years later, a new apparition occurred in 1990 with the Blessed Virgin supposedly requesting the statue that the Catholic Church previously ordered destroyed (which the convent did not obey, but instead hid) be displayed inside the chapel again. The request was granted by the convent and rose petals allegedly started raining from the sky a few days after. The statue was then reportedly seen to have come to life by six children playing at the convent ground.
Whether these stories are true or not, Marian devotees began pouring to the church especially on the 12th of September, the Blessed Virgin’s feast day.
History aside, the church, which really looks more like a chapel in size, is not as impressive as its larger neighbor, Lipa’s San Sebastian Cathedral. The lack of ornamentation and the almost modernist design are quite noticeable and is what makes it stand out amongst the usually exuberantly embellished churches.
The cream-colored facade’s only decoration is a light white trim and most of its character comes more from its massing and window punctures. The Carmelite seal is imprinted on the church’s foyer with a lone white statuette of the Virgin Mary and a simple Celtic cross as its companions.
Its interiors are as austere as its exterior with its clean white walls. The only accent inside is the light blue ceiling crossed by dark wooden trims. The floors are made of simple white and gray marble. Although the altar is capped by an overhead dome, it was also treated with restraint as with the rest of the church, no grandly painted ceilings here.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Lipa may not befit the grand cathedrals of olden eras but it is an interesting church nonetheless. Coupled with its miracle-laden history (which I know nothing of when I visited it, hence no photo of the controversial Blessed Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace statue), it’s still definitely worth a visit if you pass by Batangas.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
Address: P. Torres Street, Poblacion, Lipa City, Batangas
Contact Number: (043) 756-2234
Mass Schedule: Mon-Fri: 6am | Sat: 6am, 7am, 11am, 4pm | Sun: 6am, 7:30am, 11am, 4pm