The Saints of Colegio de San Juan de Letran


  St. Dominic de Guzman: Founder of the Order of the Preachers

        St. Dominic de Guzman was born in Caleruega, Spain in 1170 from an illustrious family of Don Felix de Guzman and Doña Joana de Aza. He began his studies for the priesthood at the University of Palencia and was ordained priest in 1195 and performed his priestly duties as Canon in Osma, Soria, Spain. In 1206, he decided to stay in Narbonne and undertook the mission of the Conversion of the Albigenses. 

        He founded the community of nuns at Pruoille which he made as his base of operations. He established the new community at Toulouse which is considered as the cradle of the Dominican Order. 

        In 1216, Pope Honorius III confirmed the Order of Preachers (O.P.) after which St. Dominic dispersed the brethren to the Theological Centers of Christendom. 

        He died in 1221 at Bologna on the Feast of St. Sixtus. He was elevated to the altar by Pope Gregory IX in 1234. 

 St. John the Baptist: Patron Saint of the Colegio

         There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came from testimony, to bear witness to the light that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light (John 1:6-8). 

        John the Baptist was born to an old temple priest, Zecariah, a Levite of Abyah, and an aging lady, Elizabeth, a descendant of the daughters of Aaron and cousin of the Virgin Mary. 

        John was formed from birth, knowing no wine or strong drink, taking nourishment from locust and wild honey. He was assiduously prepared for the work destined for him:” turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord, their God” (Lk. 1:16) and to “...prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight.” (Mt. 3:3). 

        When John emerged in the wilderness of Judea, he was wearing a garment of camel’s hair and a leather girdle around his waist. His preaching was so forceful and dynamic that he attracted people from Jerusalem, Judea and all the regions around the river Jordan where he baptized. He called on people to ...”REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.” (Mt. 3:1). 

  St. Vicente Liem Dela Paz: The Colegio's foremost Alumnus

       Our new saint, Vicente Liem de la Paz, was born in Tonking (now Vietnam) in 1732. He was a bright boy. Fr. Houy taught him human sciences and guided him along the path of virtue 

       Fr. Houy requested Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila, the only college in the Orient with high standards in the teaching of both sciences and the virtues then, for a scholarship grant for Vicente. Because of his qualifications, Vicente was accepted in Letran. After 8 years, he transferred to the University of Santo Tomas but continued living in Letran. He wanted to be a missionary priest. On September 9, 1754, he received the Dominican habit at the Santo Domingo Convent. After 4 years, he went back to Tonking, where Christians were being cruelly persecuted. There, he spent days and nights giving spiritual direction and administering the sacraments. Someone revealed his activities to the authorities and he was immediately arrested together with Fr. Jacinto Castañeda, a Spanish-Dominican. They were put into a cage - like animals. The King was disposed to be lenient to Vicente, for he was not a foreigner but he pleaded that there should only be one judgment for priests, whether foreign or native. They accused him of treason and the King pronounced the death sentence. 

       Vicente was tied to the stakes and beheaded on November 7, 1773. Before he died, Vicente gave thanks to God for the victory that had recently been granted to him. 

       On May 20, 1906, Pope Pius X solemnly beatified the glorious martyr of the faith and student of Letran, Fr. Vicente Liem de la Paz, O.P. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 19, 1988.