Monday, May 28, 2012

Relevance Characterizes the Foundation of Venerable Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo

The Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, in all its assessments of the various ministries that it is involved in, traces itself back to its foundress, Venerable Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo-a woman born in the seventeenth century but has a relevance to the contemporary generation of the twenty-first century through the members of the Congregation she founded in 1684.

With its prestigious claim as the first Filipino congregation of women in the Philippines to have Pontifical Rights, it has received accolades from ecclesiastical authorities.  Foremost among the different recognition was that of His Holiness Pope John Paul II when he spoke to the group of RVM Sisters in their pilgrimage to Rome to commemorate the congregation's three hundred years of existence.  Quoted below is an excerpt from his talk.

                                                         Blessed Pope John Paul II


"You are rightly proud of the fact that yours was the first Religious Institute founded in the Philippines by an indigenous Filipina, Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo.  And you are rightly proud of your three centuries of generous and faithful service to the Church in your country and more recently, in Papua New Guinea, in Indonesia, in West Africa, in Taiwan and in Rome itself." (25 May 1984)


                                                                       His Eminence Cardinal Pironio, D.D

Corroborating to the Holy Father's remarks was a letter of His Eminence Cardinal Pironio, written a few months earlier, to the RVM Superior General, Very Reverend Mother Maria Josefina Yamzon, RVM on 8 December 1983.  Cardinal Pironio commended the Congregation in the following lines:
"The present flourishing state of the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary not only testifies to God's blessings on your Institute, but also a proof that the foundations were solidly laid, that embers of the Institute are giving witness of a truly religious life, as well as fulfilling the service to the Church 
intended by Mother Ignacia."


                                                 His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, D.D., Archbishop of Manila

The Relevance of the Religious of the Virgin Mary Sisters' ministries stands out.  His Eminence Jaime Cardinal L. Sin attests to this when he wrote:
"May you continue your great work in the Lord's vineyard by the relevance of your apostolic work to the needs of our times." (1 January 1984)


In his homily on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Congregations foundation, His Eminence Ricardo cardinal Vidal brought to the fore his awareness of Mother Ignacia's social amelioration mission with the following commendation-
                                                 His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, D.D., Archbishop of Cebu


"Her vision was directed to building of a community for service to a wider community.  Her objective was to serve the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ." (12 January 1984)


Indeed Venerable Mother Ignacia's relevance is anchored  in the gospel values.  The Most Reverend Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, Archbishop of Naga, had glowing comments when he delivered a homily on 4 March 1984 to commemorate the baptismal anniversary of Mother Ignacia when he stated-
                    His Excellency Most Reverend Leonardo Legaspi, D.D., O.P., Archbishop of Naga


"In establishing the Beaterio and impressing on the members the intensity of her love for Christ, complete dedication to unselfish service and sacrifice she personified during her time the resurgence of the Gospel ideals in our country.  I believe it was an integral element of God's intervention in the life of the Church in the Philippines."


Venerable Mother Ignacia's relevance today is the counterpart of her humanitarian outlook.  Whereas in her time she saw the needs of others that propelled her to undertake apostolic activities to alleviate the sufferings of the needy.  Today's modern beatas go out of their way in order to minister to the marginalized people in society.

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