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Carmelite Monastery
PO Box 8838
Monastery Road, 4400
Naga City, Philippines

The Origin of the Christmas Stockings

by Sr. Margaret Mary, O.C.D
Carmelite Monastery
Naga City, Philippines

In 1964, we had to borrow money from the bank to start the construction of our Chapel and the unfinished part of the monastery so we had to do some fund drives, to prepare for our payments to the bank once a year. One of the sisters proposed to cut out a stocking from a piece of paper with the inscription: "Will you fill my little stocking to build my Bethlehem?" signed, "Jesus". We enclosed in an envelope and mailed to our benefactors and friends. Thank God, it brought a very good response. Many responded favorably. So the following year, we improved it and again, one of the sisters suggested a better way. We sewed a real stocking, the same size and sent a card with it, for the kind donor to insert their offering inside the small stocking, large enough to fit in a check or money order. This delighted little children that they were excited putting in their little contributions. We suggested for the donors to write their names, address and petitions on the card we sent to them. In return we offered 3 Masses per month for all the donors and we placed their cards by the Blessed Sacrament. The response increased every year. We had to print many more cards. But one day, our benefactress who donated the property to us, found out that we still had quite a big balance with the bank so she decided to write it off with two checks. We were finally freed from our debt so we decided to stop this stocking project as the purpose has been fulfilled.

But many stocking benefactors kept on asking us to continue so we decided to expand our project with the poor. It was our custom every Christmas, to distribute toys and candies and bread to our poor children who attended Catechism classes in our chapel. We also had adults coming for that. So instead of just candies and toys, we decided to distribute rice, groceries, old clothes, shoes, etc. to poor families but it has now grown so much that we distribute to 6,000 more or less plus giving to those who come to our door throughout the year. Many still keep on asking for these stockings because they claim that many of their petitions have been answered. Certainly it is also their faith in prayer plus the fact that the money is used for the poor, not for us. God has very special love for the people, that is one of the reasons why He chose to be born poor, in a stable. So whatever is given to the poor in His Name, is given to Him. And our promise is to include their intentions in our daily prayers and three Masses a month, as our act of gratitude to all our kind benefactors who share with us even when times are hard.

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