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Bro. Gregorio Lima Hontomin, OP: A Wonderful Dominican Cooperator Brother

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I never met Bro. Gregorio in person but putting together the bits and pieces of the stories about him, one can easily discover that there is something special about him. From the point of view of our faith, Bro. Gregorio was someone who lived his Christian life, as a Dominican cooperator brother beyond the ordinary. It is no wonder why after his death, many were already thinking of the possibility of him being recognized someday by the Church, as a person of heroic virtue. It was also for this same reason that the brethren of the Dominican Province of the Philippines have not failed to mention the possibility of his cause in every Provincial Chapter since after his death.

Bro. Gregorio did not write any spiritual treatise, as he was not trained or prepared for such an undertaking. However, from the interviews and oral testimonies that I have gathered over the past ten years, one could say that Bro. Gregorio may have been a person of few words, but he spoke eloquently through his life and works.

He was a native of the Batanes Islands on November 21, 1909. Situated in the northern part of the Philippines, it is a group of small islands that was evangelized by the Dominicans. The island where he came from is called Sabtang. Its people are known for basketmaking and building boats. Most likely, his talent, for which he would later be well-known (a handyman) may have had its incipience in his island and his culture as Ivatan, as the natives of the Batanes are called. Around 1930, he came to Manila and was employed at the San Juan de Dios hospital in Intramuros. It was there, as some would say, that he was recruited by a Dominican father to become a cooperator brother. In so far as documents would show, he is said to be the first native Filipino to enter the Dominican formation.

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