The life of Mother Ignacia

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Monday, March 3, 2014


THE Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, 1663-1748, Foundress, in 1684, of the Beaterio de la Compañia de Jesus, now known as the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM), the first Filipino religious congregation for women granted with papal recognition.

“Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo is found to possess to a heroic degree the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity toward God and neighbor, as well as the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Decretum Super Virtutibus, July 6, 2007)

Ignacia del Espiritu Santo was born of a Chinese father, Jusepe Iuco, who was from Amoy China, and a Filipino Mother Jeronima of Binondo, Manila. She was born when the Philippines was almost a century old as Spanish colony.

It was an age when Christianity had hardly begun to take root in the hearts and lives of the people and when the social climate was characterized by racial prejudice and discrimination.

On March 4, 1663 Ignacia received the gift of Catholic faith. She was baptized at the Church of the Holy Kings of Parian by the Dominican missionary, Fr. Alberto Collares, OP.

As it was the custom of pious parents at that time to give their children devotional name at baptism, they chose Espiritu Santo for her last name. She was named Ignacia in honor of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Ignacia comes from the Latin word "ignis" which means "fire."

As her name suggests, she would be living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

True to her name, she lit the fire of the Holy Spirit. The small community of beatas that she started in 1684 at the age of 21 became the first Filipino religious congregation for women in the Philippines.

Today, March 4, 2014 we commemorate with gratitude the 351st Baptismal Anniversary of Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo.

Inspired by and faithful to her charism and spirit to seek the greater service and honor of God, the sisters are actively participating in God’s mission of proclaiming the Good News through various ministries: retreat, education, pastoral and social ministry, seminary, dormitory and overseas mission.

May the gift of faith we received at baptism lead us to rediscover our life of faith and a renewed conversion to God.

Let us all together be identified with the message, so that the message we bring be always seen in the light of who we are… women and men of faith and humble service.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 04, 2014.

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