About Ateneo de Manila | Culture and Traditions

Mary, for you

Ateneo de Manila's devotion to Mary, Mother of God

"We pray, you'll keep us, Mary, constantly true!"

Ateneans value symbols of devotion to Maria Purissima, Queen of the Ateneo. Among them are the rosary in the pocket, the blue Miraculous Medal, and the alma mater song “A Song for Mary”.

In the hours before his death, Jose Rizal is said to have clutched a rosary given to him by his family before he died. The same rosary is on display at the University Archives (opposite), together with a small statue of the Sacred Heart that he had carved as a student at Ateneo.

When he was found dead on February 11, 1986, former Antique governor Evelio Javier was clutching his rosary, which he always kept in his pocket. When he was still alive, the Atenean governor often found himself walking the grounds of the Loyola campus, clutching the same rosary, pacing and praying. Those who knew him said Evelio often returned to Ateneo, his home, whenever he needed to get away from the world’s confusion.

In 2001, in the final moments of their first championship series after over a decade, the Ateneo Blue Eagles faced a relentless opponent and extremely unfavorable odds. Sensing that things might take a turn for the worse, the team captain gathered those on the bench and led them in praying the rosary. Ateneo lost that championship. But after the games, the Hail Mary Team, as the Blue Eagles are called, led the Ateneo faithful in the singing of “A Song for Mary”.

“In the olden days, the Atenean was identified by having a rosary in the pocket, and you might think that the rosary is good to have because it will make you lucky. But no. The rosary will not make you pass exams or train you to cheat. The rosary is given to you as an opportunity to be truly Atenean, and to take heart the alma mater song, ‘Mary for you, for your white and blue.’ The rosary is given to you so that you might learn to persevere, struggle through, and finish what you begin. The rosary is there to remind you to always be generous, magnanimous, and self-giving.
In the end, the rosary is yours so that you may always turn to God, the true Power, the one who can bring you, not luck as many ordinarily understand it, but a good and meaningful life.”
Fr. Jojo Magadia, S.J.