La Milagrosa/Quintana-Pereira Scholarship
The La Milagrosa/Quintana-Pereira Scholarship honors the memory of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Chapel, or La Milagrosa, which provided a warm and welcoming haven for the Spanish-speaking community of Philadelphia for 100 years; and it honors the two women whose generosity kept the chapel alive for that century and beyond.
Founded in 1912 to benefit Spanish-speaking Catholics in Philadelphia, the chapel (located at 1903 Spring Garden Street) was the first to offer a regular Mass in Spanish. Throughout its history, La Milagrosa was the only place of worship in Philadelphia to provide services exclusively in Spanish. A parishioner referred to it as the “Plymouth Rock for the Hispanic laity in Philadelphia.”
Sister Agueda Quintana, a Sister of Mercy of Spanish heritage, conceived the idea of a Spanish-speaking chapel in 1909 and provided crucial early support. In June 1912, after the chapel was created, she pledged a substantial sum for its upkeep so that it would secure “the spiritual well-being of the Spanish-speaking Colony of Philadelphia.”
Nearly three-quarters of a century later, another generous donor stepped in. In July 1978, Hilda Pereira established a trust to operate another building, on the 2000 block of Green Street, for the benefit of the chapel. She specified that if the Green Street property was ever sold, the proceeds should be used for the benefit of “Spanish-speaking residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with preference to those residents residing in the ‘Fairmount’ neighborhood of Philadelphia.” She further specified that one of the uses of any such proceeds would be the creation of a scholarship fund, “to aid and advance the educational opportunities of Spanish-speaking residents of Philadelphia.”
The Green Street property was sold in 2005, creating the fund that will carry on the mission first articulated over 100 years ago. The fact that a fund remains is particularly poignant today. In 2012, the owners of the chapel, the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Mission, headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, decided to sell the chapel, months after the chapel’s parishioners had celebrated its 100-year anniversary. Although the parishioners tried valiantly to save it, they were unable to raise the funds to do so.
The chapel and its mission carry on through this scholarship.
Historical context courtesy of friends of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Chapel