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Remembering Leticia Tordesillas Albert, Foundress of the Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross 

by: Rev. Fr. Felix Ma. Pacia, MMHC

On July 11, the feast of St. Benedict, the priests and brothers of the Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross knelt down in prayer as they learned the passing away of their beloved foundress Leticia Tordesillas Albert. She was regarded as God's instrument in giving birth to a new religious congregation in the Church.

Tita Letty, as she was fondly called, was born in Manila on June 13, 1927, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua. She worked as an educator who specialized in English literature and music. She was married to Angel Albert and had four children. Her life as a wife and a mother led her to a series of events that culminated in a lifestyle conversion in 1970. She was found positive for pancreatitis and hemorragia purpura, a very rare blood disease. As she was lay dying she made a pact with the Lord: If she lived she would dedicate her life to His greater glory and to make His Mother known and loved by people everywhere. God heard her prayers. Thenceforth has given her life to doing His work. She is known among the squatters in Pasay and Pasig Line as "ang babaeng nakaputi". Among the inmates of the National Bilibid Prisons and Women's Correctional Institute, she is the "Mother Angel".

With a distinct Marian character in her ministry, she was later entrusted with a Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima which she brought around the country together with the message of prayer, penance and conversion - a ministry that she also brought to the public schools. 

On December 28, 1976, Tita Letty inspired several young men for greater service to Jesus and Mary and dedicate themselves for apostolate to the youth and prisoners. Through her spiritual guidance, this group of young men known as Youth Marian Crusade (YMC), evolved into a religious community, the Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross (MMHC), which in 1997 was elevated by the Church as a Religious Institute of Diocesan Right in the Diocese of Bacolod.

Like other founders and foundresses of religious orders, Tita Letty had to suffer many crosses, particularly, during the founding years. There were times that members were forced to live "in exile" for years, at which times she had to keep the hopes and missionary spirit of the group alive. Aside from enduring sicknesses, her cross weighed heavily on her being a laywoman who was founding a religious congregation for priests - a rarity in the history of the Church. Her witnessing in embracing the cross with love and joy and preaching about the redemptive value of suffering make her remembered by the members as a "troubadour of the cross". She taught: “Treasure each small suffering as a splinter from His cross."

For more than four decades, the MMHC continued uninterruptedly the apostolate handed on by Tita Letty: the ministry to the youth and prisoners and the propagation of Marian devotion. At present, the 41 clerics and more than 60 seminarians of the MMHC are assigned in 2 Archdioceses and 4 Dioceses in the Philippines and in mission foundations in Taiwan and USA. Their seminary and formation houses are located in Silay and Murcia in Negros Occidental and in Marikina City, Metro Manila.

After spending her last years in silence and contemplation, Tita Letty succumbed to liver cirrhosis last July 11, the feast of St. Benedict, at the age of 92. She was laid to rest at the MMHC seminary compound in Silay City. The funeral Mass presided by Bishop Patricio Buzon was joined by all the priests and brothers of the MMHC, some diocesan priests, daughter Ms. Joey Albert and granddaughter Trixie Pacis and mission partners and lay collaborators.