The Augustinian Recollect Sisters’ teaching apostolate dates back to the early years of the “Beaterio” when Spain as a sovereign power imposed her colonial policy of spreading Christianity in the Philippines. On June 4, 1754, Marquez de Obando, the Spanish Governor General, through his secretary, chose Sor Nicholas de San Jose, the Prioress, Sor Clara de Santa Rita and Sor Ignacia dela Santisima Trinidad to teach your girls the Christian faith and the development of refinement in character. The establishment of teacher- training institutions was brought about by the promulgation of the Educational Decree 1363, thus, giving the Sisters an opportunity to earn the title of teachers.

In 1907, under the direction of Reverend Celestino Yoldi, a Recollect priest, a well- defined and delineated program of education was prescribed. Kindergarten, special classes in Spanish, painting, embroidery and piano lessons were offered. On September 29, 1911, Colegio de Sta. Rita, Manila, became the Congregation’s first learning institution offering primary and intermediate classes which was registered in the Bureau of Education. In 1912, English was included in the program of instruction which gained immediate approval by the government. In 1929, the complete secondary curriculum was recognized. Gradually, domestic Science, Vocational course, Education, Liberal Arts and Spanish for all levels were offered. Hence, Colegio de Sta. Rita was changed to Saint Rita College.

In 1948, the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEED) was opened, then the complete Liberal Arts (AB) and the BSE followed in 1951. Computer course was offered in High School and the College in 1993 and HRM in 1994. Later computer literacy was offered to all students. Before World War II, eight schools were opened in the provinces. The war brought great damage that only five schools survived. Determined to continue serving the Church through the teaching apostolate, the Sisters underwent the task of rehabilitation and opened new ones. In 1969 there were 39 schools managed by the AR Sisters, some owned by the Congregation while others were diocesan. Today, the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters is present in some 34 schools throughout the Philippines. Few are in foreign mission in the USA, Australia and Spain. The teaching and feeding mission in Africa were forcibly closed in 1995 when civil war broke out. Through the efforts of the Sisters and personnel, the Basic Education Department of Saint Rita College – Manila, Inc. has attained Level II PAASCU Accreditation in 2010. Revisit was conducted in 2015 with a positive result, gaining re accreditation for five years. Currently, the School is preparing for the upcoming PAASCU Resurvey Visit, scheduled on February 7- 8, 2022.


St. Augustine inspired by the Holy Spirit and desiring to live closely with Christ and with others, founded the Augustinian Congregations for women. The Order of Augustinian Recollects, coming to the Philippines in the 17th century, providentially nurtured the vocation of the Talangpaz Sisters who were accepted as “beatas”. Having brought to the Philippines the image of OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL from Mexico in the 17th century, the Augustinian Recollect Fathers became instrumental in the widespread devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Now venerated at San Sebastian Church, the Virgin of Carmel was the inspiration of our Foundresses, MOTHER DIONISIA MITAS and MOTHER CEZILLA ROSSA TALANGPAZ in entering religious life. Their desire to serve God through Our Lady led them to establish a community of women living in the Beaterio.

Sor Dionisia de Sta. Maria and Sor Cezilla Rossa de Jesus were born in the bosom of Calumpit, Bulacan. The Sisters were born from the union of Don Andres Talangpaz and Doña Isabel Constanza Pamintuan. Dionisia Talangpaz was born on March 12, 1691 while her sister Cezilla Rossa was born July 16, 1693. On the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1725 in the Church of San Sebastian, they solemnly declared their intention to become Recollect Tertiaries before Fray Diego de San Jose, Prior of San Sebastian Convent who officiated at the rites. In their new life, Sor Dionisia de Sta. Maria and Sor Cezilla Rossa de Jesus experienced difficulties and trials which may be likened to persecutions. They were tried in their existence and subsistence. However, the two, bore and endured everything in humility and silence.

From the Beaterio de San Sebastian de Calumpang which began with Mothers Dionisia and Cezilla Rossa in 1725, started the growth of the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters (AR). Sor Cezilla died on July 31, 1731 and Sor Dionisia on the 12th of October 1732. The Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters, which originated in 1719, is also the precious fruit of the missionary zeal of the Augustinian Recollect Fathers (OAR) in the Philippines. It was canonically established as a religious Congregation on August 19, 1929 and was declared of juridical autonomy by the Holy See on November 20, 1970. The lives of Mother Dionisia and Mother Cezilla have left an undying legacy to the Beaterio they founded. Today, the AR Sisters are serving actively in various apostolates in the Philippines, USA, Australia, Spain…inspired by their Foundress on their journey towards that eternal landmark BEYOND THE STARS.

Mother Dionisia and Mother Cezilla