to the fore the virtues of Venerable Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo (1663-1748) which makes her an example of Christain life not only for the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) but also for the lay faithful to whom the RVM minister in their apostolate.
Venerable Mother Ignacia’s biographer, the Jesuit Father Murillo Velarde, appropriately called her “ mujer verdaderamente fuerte” a woman truly valiant, truly courageous, because she established and led the native Beatas, as the RVMs were originally called, despite the biases, criticisms and opposition from the 17th and 18th centuries Hispanic Society.
In her lifetime, Venerable Mother Ignacia was an example
of a Christian seeking the face of God in everything “teniendo a Dios presente en todo”. She was disposed to see the will of God, by allowing herself to be guided and directed by her spiritual director, Fr. Paul Klein, S.J. and by submitting the Rules and Constitution of the RVM to the Archbishop of Manila.
Mother Ignacia’s humility
was above all expressed when
she voluntarily chose to live as an ordinary member of the community to involve herself in simple work,
Venerable Mother Ignacia’s preferential love for the poor was shown by the attention she gave to the poor Yndias and the Chinese metizas who were discriminated upon. She saw to it that in the Beaterio the less privileged and the poor received the same education and formation as the rich and middle class.
Venerable Mother Ignacia led her beatas in living the highest type of poverty, in long moments of prayer and in the practice of severe discipline. Temperance, discretion and prudence were practiced in order to preserve the work of the apostolate.
The spirituality of the Venerable Mother Ignacia and the beatas was so deeply Marian that later on their congregation was called Religious of the Virgin Mary, imitating the disposition of Mary as the perfect disciple of the her Son.
The spirit of Venerable Mother Ignacia lives in the more than 700 Religious of the Virgin Mary who continue to give generous and faithful service to the Universal Church in the schools, retreat houses, dormitories, social ministry
Ignacia del Espiritu Santo
If in the 18th century there was among others a Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo who personalized the Filipino dream for reform and renewal of society at that time, so today in our time, there must be more and more of our countrymen with the spirit of Venerable Mother Ignacia who will personalize
the hopes and dreams of social transformation through their personal genuine conversion. There can be no renewal of the Church and society without personal conversion.
+ Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
President, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines February 9, 2008