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The Family of Saint Therese in the Philippines

 Background of the Organization

            The Teresa Charities for The Elderly Program, Inc. was launched last October 1,2006  on the Feast Day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the Patroness of the Mission. Deacon An Vu Than of the Teresa Charities in Portland, Oregon, USA through Ms. MarivicTupaz and Fr. Antonio Abuan, MS, collaborated with the Claret Urban Poor Apostolate (CUPA) headed by Fr. Eduardo Apungan, CMF with Ms. Luisa Arnaldo to establish a partnership to carry out the implementation of the project in the Philippines.


            Is to “love the Lord, the Good Shepherd and to come to Him through the Little way of Love  of St. Therese of the Child Jesus


            The elderly finds meaning and fulfillment in life and are grateful for the abundance of blessings, love, care and compassion which they receive from the Lord.



            It carries the mission of implementing and promoting the Little Way of Love by living the spiritual and corporal works of mercy to care for the poor especially the edlerly



            Five-fold objectives of the Program:

1.      FAITH: To journey together in the spiritual growth of the elderly and its members and to nourish their deep relationship with God and with one another through prayers and sacraments

2.      HOPE: To facilitate the on-going integral formation and care for the elderly and to foster healthy community life through fellowship, bonding and recreation among its members, volunteers and beneficiaries

3.      LOVE: To assist the families of the elderly who are in the home care program through medical and socio-pastoral help

4.      SERVICE: To foster the virtues of compassion, care and love of the members and volunteers for the elderly through trainings and spiritual exercises.

5.      SHARING: To access, consolidate and mobilize human resources and other ways and means to support and sustain the ministry

Programs and Activities:

1.      PRAY: Buhay Panalangin

Objective: To journey together in the spiritual growth of the elderly and its members and to nourish their deep relationship with God and with one another through prayers and sacraments (FAITH)


·        Bible Sharing

·        Community Prayer/Rosary

·        Anointing of the Sick

·        Monthly Celebration of Mass

·        World Day of the Sick

·        Feast of the Holy Rosary

·        Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Celebration

·        Recollection

2.      CARE: Buhay Pangangalaga

Objective: To facilitate the on-going integral formation and care for the elderly and to foster healthy community life through fellowship, bonding and recreation among its members, volunteers and beneficiaries (HOPE)


·        Soup Kitchen for the Elderly

·        Rice Distribution for the Elderly

·        Healthcare Services for the Elderly

·        Community Outdoor Activities

·        Community Indoor Activities

3.      HELP: Buhay Pagpapahalaga

Objective: To assist the families of the elderly who are in the home care program through medical and socio-pastoral help  (LOVE)


·        Home Visitation

·        Anointing of the Sick

·        Giving Communion (With Seminarians)

·        Food Delivery to the Homecare Elderly

·        Access to some medical equipments

·        Lunar Year Charity Activity

·        Sharing/ Praying together

·        Listening to their stories

·        Cleaning the house

·        Prayer

4.      SERVE: Buhay Paglilingkod

Objective: To foster the virtues of compassion, care and love of the members and volunteers for the elderly through trainings and spiritual exercises. (SERVICE)


·        Volunteers Team Building Activities

·        Recruitment of members

·        On-going Formation

·        Regular Meeting

·        Christmas love drive activities

V.      SHARE: To access, consolidate and mobilize human resources and other ways

and means to support and sustain the ministry.  (SHARING)

VI.   Administration & Operations: Buhay Pamumuno at Pamamahala

Objective: To set clear direction and good leadership to the projects and to ensure the proper management of the activities and resources ( WORK)

Clientele of the Organization

            The direct clientele of the organization are generally the members of the elderly sector in the urban poor communities and in the relocation sites. The beneficiaries  are those who are sick, abandoned, not given opportunity to medical, pastoral or less access to any form of care and basic social services.

Area of Operation

1.      Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish  in Quezon City  (Claret Parish) 

the pastoral jurisdiction of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish (IHMP) under the Claretian Missionaries, Teresa Charities are serving the urban poor communities of the IHMP since 2006 and 2013 Teresa Charities for the Elderly Program  helped in setting up the  Parish Age of Legacy Ministry (PALM)

2.      The Payatas Dumpsite is covered by Barangay Payatas. It is one of the many communities under the pastoral care of the Vincentian Missionaries running the  Ina ng Lupang Pangako Parish. The Teresa Charities entered into pastoral collaboration through the rice subsidy and organizing of the elderly sector of the parish.

3.      Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal

The Teresa Charities served the newly-occupied Relocation Site in Montalban coming from the several urban poor communities of Metro Manila in partnership with Claret Urban Poor Apostolate (CUPA)

a.      The first area is known as the Southville 8B Housing Project composed of more than ten thousand units (10,000) of around 200 Blocks under 4 Phases. This is part of Barangay Sn. Isidro, Rodriguez Rizal.

b.      The second area is known as Phase 1k1 Housing Project composed of around 1, 300 units. the entire community (Blocks 1-6) has been organized by Teresa Charities n and the Teresa Mission Center sits as a venue for community activities. This is part of Brgy. San Jose, Rodriguez, Rizal.

All these three (2) newly-occupied relocation sites are under the pastoral jurisdiction of Maria, Ina ng Kapayapaan Parish (MIKP) by Rev. Fr. Jun Suriben.  

Contact Information

Ms. Luisa Arnaldo

Program Coordinator-Philppines

Office Address:

No. 53  Lirio St. Barangay Old Capitol Site, Quezon City, 1101 Philippines

Mayumi cor Mahinhin Sts. Barangay UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101 Philippines

 (Claret Parish)

Telephone Nos. :

 Mobile           :  09999945968

Residence       : 06) (02) 261 74 96

Office              : (06) (02) 436-00-06

Email Address:    

A Visit of the Deacon Founder to a FAST Growing Family

Ms. Lisa Arnaldo

FAST Coordinator

“A family that prays together stays together.” This is indeed an assurance to every family who prays the Holy Rosary together. The focus is not an act of being together but an act of communion to God by nourishing our relationship to Him.

The Family

Several years ago, a “family” has laid down a foundation in the Philippines. It was being commissioned by the “father” from the Portland, Oregon, USA. It started with the charity works for the poor, the sick and the abandoned elderly in the heart of the slum areas and shanties. Many had come to help the family in the noble tasks to share love and bring people to God. The family has grown and continued to reach out to those in dire need of love. The family was called the “Family Association of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.”

A Flashback

A Claretian Missionary, Fr. Eduardo Apungan, CMF, was in the forefront of community organizing and leading a ministry to the slum areas when Ms. Lisa Arnaldo was the Program Coordinator met Fr. Antonio Abuan MS, a La Sallette Missionary who introduced Ms.MarivicTupas of the Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Portland Oregon, USA about the desire of Deacon An Vu to help in the urban poor communities through the ministry to the poor elderly. All these acquaintances and circumstances gave birth to the foundation of the Family of St. Therese. The family was born out of the desire to help the poor elderly in the slum areas.. It was a gift of vocation to the church in the Philippines.

Moments of the Visit

The previous visits of Deacon An Vu, the  Founder, has been always part of the consolidation efforts and charity works. Usually, a Mission Team composed of family groups or individuals joined the missionary charity works. This time, despite of the fragile health, the founder visited the Teresa Family alone with great enthusiasms and joy in his heart. He dreamt a lot for the future growth of the family, a new Missionary Congregation of Missionaries under the charismatic and missionary spirit of St. Therese.

Prayer and Reflection

There are remarkable moments in this visit. First, it is the moment of prayer and reflection. Two batches attended the recollection and retreat on the life, spirituality and mission of St. Therese which was facilitated by Fr. Eduardo Apungan, CMF, Sr. PilarUnggay, SCMM and Deacon An Vu. The first batch has more than 50 single ladies in attendance while the second batch was attended by almost a hundred members, associates and volunteers altogether. Both gatherings culminated with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Charity and Mission

The second moment is the moment of charity and mission. Deacon An Vu together with the committed volunteers visited the homecare beneficiaries, those who are sick, bedridden and abandoned in the relocation sites of around 12,000 families from different slum areas of Metro Manila. Another visit was in Payatas Dumpsite. The visit to the dying reminds of the more than 30 homecare beneficiaries who returned home to the Creator and remained the tender loving embrace of Jesus. Those being visited uttered their words gratitude and showed their acts of gratitude by their smile of being loved. One claimed that because of the visit, he felt the loving embrace of God through the little act of charity. A simple act of feeding is an act of God’s presence in the midst of the world full of consumerisms and technological innovations that contribute to mediocrity and apathy or the absence of love.

Love and Inspiration

Charity and mission sometimes need the system and structures where it can be found a better place. Deacon An Vu visited the TERESA Charity Center in the adjacent relocation site. It was the gathering of the TERESA volunteers. It was the third moment called love and inspiration. It was so inspiring to look for the increasing number of volunteers. The pastoral works ranged from community organizing to on-going formation, from rice distributions to religious-liturgical activities and from charity works to providing a place for those in urgent need of dropping by for sharing and counselling. The center serves as the place for the relief and rehabilitation operations, refuge for the hungry victims of flash floods brought about by the recent typhoons asking for food to eat and clean water to drink. It helps not the only the elderly but also the whole communities and adjacent communities in partnership with the church, local government agencies and the NGO’s.


With much inspiration, it was a blessing that Fr. Ephraim King Gaza, CM, a Vincentian Parish Priest of the Ina ngLupangPangako Parish (Our Lady of the Promised Land), a dumpsite community called Payatas, welcomed the St. Therese Family for the big gathering of elderly beneficiaries. They came in different colors of their shirts from different slum areas of Metro Manila, different relocation sites in Montalban and they converged in the dumpsite parish. It was a gathering of more than 350 members of the “family.”It was a moment of faith celebration.

In the spirit of thanksgiving, the humble and a known bishop of the poor, Bishop Antonio Tobias, DD,presided in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Religious congregations such as the Vincention Missionaries, Claretian Missionaries, La Sallette Missionaries, Daughters of Charity, Our Lady of God, Mother of Mercy, Sisters of the Providence and other religious groups joined the moment of celebration. In the homily, Bishop Tobias has welcomed St. Therese Family in his diocese and appreciated its efforts for the poor which that diocese is dreaming for.The Eucharist was culminated by the offering and dedication of the young people of the image of Our Lay of LupangPangako to the altar. The young people of the parish sold plastics collected from the dumped garbage as their contribution to the plastic-free society.

Grace and Gratitude

In between of the very tiring pastoral visit of the deacon-founder to the people in the communities and members in the houses was the visit to the different people and congregations, parishes and dioceses instrumental to the life of the “family.” It was a moment of grace and gratitude. He arranged a meeting the newly-recruited volunteer, Sr. Pilar Unggay, SCMM, from of the Sisters Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, in the historic shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Quezon City. The place is a reminder of St. Therese of the Child Jesus encounter with Jesus in a religious life of the Carmelite Family. The meeting was in view of searching for the formation programs for the members.

He also met the Parish Priest of the Maria, Ina ng Kapayaapaan Parish(Mary, Mother of Peace Parish) in Montalban, Rizal – a place known for the relocations sites of urban poor, or slum dwellers in the urban center of Metro Manila who were mostly victims of calamities, forced demolitions of shelters in view of the urban development and the homeless poor families. Fr. Demetrio Suriben ,Jr, welcomed not only Deacon An Vu but the whole family of St. Therese with great enthusiasm. He expressed his gratitude for the outstanding charitable works and pastoral concerns of the “family” to the poor and deliveryof services especially in times of calamities in the relocations sites. The homeless elderly people found a family in St. Therese Family and a home in the Teresa Houses.

His visit with the Diocese of Novaliches was a fruitful one for the Bishop offers the Diocese for the pastoral works of the family and looking forward for more partnership activities.

Before he left for Vietnam, Deacon An Vu scheduled an appointment to the Provincial Superior of the Claretian missionaries of the Philippine who became instrumental in the foundation of the family through project partnership and pastoral collaboration for the last six years of laying the foundation, consolidating the activities and recruiting more members for the family.

Hope and Vision

Deacon An Vu left the Philippines with full of hope. He visited another relocation site near the beach for the future house for the elderly. The sending off activities in the spirit of celebration of life was conducted in the National Wildlife and Parks. It was attended by more than 120 volunteers to the family who renewed their commitment to be part of such mission. He left for Vietnam on October 18, 2012.

He left with the greater vision of the growth of the Family of St. Therese in the Philippines. In God’s time and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through the prayers of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the FAMILY will live!

Payatas Dumpsite Gathering with BIshop Tobias:

Payatas Dumpsite Home Care:

Recollection of Associates of the Family:

With Bishop of Novaliches Diocese:

With Bishop Ongtioco of Cubao Diocese:

Recollection of Single Ladies:

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