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Survivor of De La Salle College Massacre Passes Away at Age 93

Gloria Carlos Vera was one of the 70 civilians who took refuge in the De La Salle College in 1945.

During the Second World War and the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, many were wounded, tortured, killed, and had their rights taken from them during this dark period in our country’s history called ‘The Battle of Manila.’ These inhumane crimes, massacres rather, were committed by Imperial Japanese forces and considered as one of the more tragic events that happened in February 1945.

But even with the thousands of deaths that were recorded, there were also some who survived the brutal and gruesome events that occurred in 1945. One of them is Gloria Carlos Vera, who was part of the De La Salle College (now De La Salle University) massacre. She lived to tell the tale of her dreadful experience until her death last Saturday, February 6, at age 93. (Read: 28yo Cebuano Priest Shares Healing Journey From a Rare Disease)

The De La Salle community mourned her death as she was one of the last living survivors of the massacre. “Condolences to the family of this brave woman,” the De La Salle University Department of History said in their post.

De La Salle College Massacre

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(Left) A plaque with the names of the 16 Brothers who died on that day can be seen outside the Chapel. (Right) The building during the war. It is now called St. La Salle Hall. (Photos from Dr. Vic Torres / IT’S XIAOTIME! and Sunny Velasco / IT’S XIAOTIME!)

The infamous De La Salle College massacre happened on February 12, 1945. About 20 Japanese soldiers barged into the school that served as a refuge site for 70 people, including 16 Christian brothers from Europe. Forty-one civilians were killed from the incident. (Read: 5 Religious People Who Were Detained in Their Fight for Human Rights)

“Just after we had eaten lunch, all of us gathered for protection from the shelling at the foot of the stairs in the southern wing. A Japanese officer accompanied by 20 soldiers entered and took away two of the house boys whom they had badly wounded. Then the officer gave a command and at once the soldiers began bayoneting all of us; men, women, and children alike,” Fr. Francis Cosgrave, CSsR said. He was the current chaplain of the De La Salle College at the time.

Fr. Cosgrave narrated the horrible scenario wherein he was also badly wounded, but was still able to give final rites and absolution blessings to the dead. And now, every February 12, a memorial Mass is held at the Chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the exact place where the massacre was committed. (Read: Bulacan Church Dedicated to Korean Saint Now a Diocesan Shrine)

A plaque with the names of the 16 Brothers who died on that day can be seen outside the Chapel. “They shall shine as stars for all eternity Christian brothers killed in line of duty,” the plaque says.

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