Patron of the UST Faculty of Pharmacy
Feast Day: December 8
The Virgin Mary was enriched by God with gifts to fulfill her mission as the mother of God (cf. LG 56). When the angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace” (Lk 1:28), she faithfully responded: “Let it be [done] to me according to your word” (Lk 1:28-38).. In fact, in order to give the free assent of her faith, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace. On December 8, 1854, the Church proclaimed: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus). Embracing the divine will, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son to serve the mystery of redemption with Him and dependent on Him, by God’s grace (cf. LG 56).
Since the 15th century, the Universities in Europe had a special influence in the promotion of the Immaculate Conception which was not only an intensely debated topic, but also had a clear impact on the early graduates of Pharmacy, who considered her as their patroness. During the reign of Reina Isabel II from 1833 until 1868, the pharmacists in Spain were obliged to take an oath to the Immaculate Mother upon finishing their degree and receiving the title. In such a solemn act, white gloves were used to symbolize the cleanliness and purity of the medicines they were to prepare, and their commitment to Science as their profession.
In 1871, UST is the first to offer Pharmacy in the Philippines. Based on his research, Fr. Lorenzo Rodriguez, OP, the Dean from 1946 to 1968, declared that the Faculty did not have a patron ever since. Since the Immaculate Conception has been generally regarded as the Patroness of Pharmacy, the UST Faculty of Pharmacy adopted her as their patroness on November 9, 1948. The first celebration was held on December 7, 1948, which coincided with the inauguration of the second UST Botanical Garden. An image of the Immaculate Conception was blessed in the Office of the Dean on February 26, 1949, and remains to be enthroned there until the present. On October 11, 2015, the Council of Regents confirmed the Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of Pharmacy. Subsequently, the first ‘White Coat Ceremony’ was held on December 7, 2015.
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 484-494.
- Rodriguez, OP, Lorenzo, “A Century Progress of the First One Hundred Years of the Faculty [of Pharmacy] of the University of Santo Tomas,” Acta Manilana, February 1972, Series B, No. 2 (14), p. 73.
- Pablo, Carol Geraldine, “Lorenzo Rodriguez, OP: Trailblazing Pharmacy Education, Research, Practice and Services in the Philippines,” Philippiniana Sacra, Vol. LI, No. 152 ( January-April 2016), pp. 98-99.
- Ramos Carrillo, A and Moreno Torrel, E, The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Patron of Pharmacists in Spain: A Theory to Explain this Patronage, Sevilla, Spain.