jesuits sell xavier house, the house where 3 points of history were made
i remember this house clearly. since childhood, i would over the years pass that house on many occasions. it started as a small child as i rode in my dad’s car on the way to his regular bowling game and tournament at paco, manila. then as a teen-ager i went to that house a few times as it was the headquarters of the Student Catholic Action of which i was a member of. then as an adult as i drove my own car going to work in makati or bringing and picking up my wife to work in manila.
it is xavier house.
but those are not the 3 points of history that i refer to. well, it is the 3 points of history in my life but this house has a far greater history than just my own personal history.
this property is as old as the jesuits are in this country, built way back in 1859. the first jesuits in the country used this house. the second point of history is this is the place where Radyo Bandido, the voice of the EDSA Revolution was directed from, by fr. reuter. the third and equally important is this is the house of fr. james reuter.
i know that name very well. i have not met him but have read him, heard his voice and have seen his pictures. i have seen him grow beautifully old in pictures but his words seem to be as clear as the first time i heard it when i was a small boy.
i associate that name with praying the rosary, the devotion to Mary and on matters that are important to the country specially those that concern morality and spirituality. love of christ and love of country – that is what i remember the name fr. james reuter, sj to be.
as far as i am concerned and most likely for most of everyone else, fr. james reuter is one of the most prominent jesuits in the country. he has actually defined in my mind as a child what being a jesuit is all about. i did not start schooling in a jesuit school but through him i got to know what a jesuit is. at that time fr. reuter sounded to me as a communication expert and i thought these jesuits are very good im communication.
he is also one of the most prominent filipinos. i don’t even know if his nationality is actually filipino, but it does not matter, with what he has done for the country, he is a filipino to me. for me, james reuter is as filipino as juan de la cruz is.
but now this man who i have not met but know personally through his voice and words is now being asked to leave his home. his home is being sold, including all three points of history, to turn it into a supermarket.
a sad day for history, three branches of history – my personal history, the history of the country and the history of the jesuits in the philippines.
from the news article:
“Reuter said he fully understood that the SJ had run into serious financial need to sustain its operations.
“There was talk, there is talk of selling Xavier House for money. The superior apologetically said that. That to my mind will be a terrible mistake,” he said.
“It’s not that they want to sell this house, but they need money, and that’s a terrible thing. Love of money is a vice and the Jesuits don’t have that. They need money, which is a different thing,” said Reuter.
He shuddered at the thought that the house would be demolished to give way to business. “You shouldn’t sell a place like this for money,” he added, saying the money could be raised in “some other way.””
Fr. Reuter’s home sold to mall
MANILA, Philippines—Xavier House, a property of the Society of Jesus on Pedro Gil Street in Sta. Ana, Manila, that served as a broadcast hub of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, has been sold to the SM Group.
Fr. James B. Reuter, a living hero of the historic 1986 People Power, said he had been asked by SJ superiors to move out of Xavier House and relocate to either Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City or Xavier School in San Juan City.
A representative of the country’s leading mall developer confirmed the sale Monday.
But Fr. Jose Cecilio Magadia, provincial superior of the Jesuits in the Philippines, denied Monday night that a deal had already been reached. “Not true,” he said of the reported sale of Xavier House to the SM Group.
Fr. Bobby Yap, treasurer of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, said “the property has not been put on the market. We have not spoken to SM at all.”
Yap, nevertheless, confirmed plans to sell the Sta. Ana property and other Jesuit-owned real estate “in light of financial problems the province is facing.”
The representative of SM, who declined to be named for lack of clearance to speak publicly on the matter, said that the sale had been consummated.
“A supermarket is being planned in the area, which will serve the community and at the same time enhance the value of real estate in the area,” the representative said.
Where history, architecture meet
MANILA, Philippines—The Jesuits have been occupying Xavier House since 1947 or for 62 years now.
What is remarkable about this building is its architecture—the pillars on the ground floor facing the Pasig River, the vintage tiles in the bathrooms, the shiny wooden floors on the second level which are probably narra or mahogany. These are rarely seen today.
Xavier House also played an important role in the history of our country, and in the history of the Jesuits in the Philippines.
When strongman President Ferdinand Marcos called for “snap” elections in 1986, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), through Jose Concepcion Jr., requested for volunteers to watch the polls and the counting of ballots.
Fr. James B. Reuter, director of the National Office of Mass Media which was housed in Xavier House, gathered his office staff and about 95 members of the so-called “Reuter babies” to help monitor the snap elections.
The Reuter babies were the priest’s former theater students who developed strong bonds with their mentor, which have remained long after school days were over.
From our base in Xavier House, we sent these young boys and girls to the precincts which needed “watchers.” The information they gathered was relayed to the radio and TV stations of the Catholic Church members which make up the Philippine Federation of Catholic Broadcasters, also known as the Catholic Media Network.