Current new dispatches on the bombing, invasion and burning of Zamboanga City in the Philippines have caused grave concern in missionary circles in the United States, although according to a message received from the Papal Secretariat of State at Vatican City, all members of the Philippine hierarchy are safe.
Besides the Jesuit Bishop, Mgr. Luis bet Rosario, and his 32 Jesuit missionaries, the lives of nine diocesan priests, 38 Sisters Religious of the Virgin Mary, and four Missionary Canonesses of St. Augustine arc endangered. Two hunched miles east of Zamboanga City, but still in the diocese of Zamboanga, there are 20 Fathers of the Foreign Missions and 13 Fathers of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Fear is also felt for the preservation of the Memo de Zamboanga, the Jesuit high school with 375 students.
Zamboanga City is the scat of the diocese of Zamboanga, one of the oldest sees of the Philippines.
Just a few miles from Zamboanga City is one of the several Commonwealth Penal Rehabilitation Colonies. This Institute of Rehabilitation and its several thousand inmates is cared for by Fr. F. X. Reno, S.J., master of the 50 Filipino dialects and several foreign languages.
One of the unusual sights in Zamboanga is the shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar on the wall of the United States Army barracks. In Spanish times Our Lady is said to have appeared there to a Spanish soldier. The old fort was built 300 years ago by Jesuit missionaries to protect themselves and their flock from fanatical*Moros.