Ateneo de Manila’s ROTC cadets pray the rosary during World War II

When the Pacific War began, President Quezon disbanded all the ROTC units in Manila. The Ateneo ROTC cadets disobeyed the order and volunteered to fight as one unit in Bataan. At sundown they came together to pray the Rosary, which initially earned them snickers from the”hardened” soldiers. In time they won respect for their behavior.

One time, at a lull during the fight, an Atenean heard a soldier desperately calling for water to quench his thirst. Without hesitation, the Ateneo cadet gave him his last supply of drinking water from his canteen.

There are many other heroic tales, but there will be another time for them. This year, the Jesuits are celebrating 150 years of priestly ministry in the country. The Ateneo de Manila, now 150 years in existence, is trying its best not to let the event pass in silence. As the Latin poet, Virgil, wrote, “Forsitan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit” (Perhaps someday, it will be a delight to recall even these things).

Fr. Jose S. Arcilla, S.J., “150 Years of Jesuit Presence” (Business World Online, 16 Nov 2009)

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

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