Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo Exhibit 2014

Lights and Sounds Museum
Sta. Lucia cor Victoria Sts., Intramuros, Manila



The mystery of God’s loving call and our humble response has always been unfolding gradually yet surprisingly leading us time and again to ever new and creative ways of spreading and nurturing the Christian faith. St. John Paul II once said, “For a stalk to grow or a flower to open there must be time that cannot be forced; nine months must go by for the birth of a human child; to write a book or compose music often years must be dedicated to patient research ...To find the mystery there must be patience, interior purification, silence, waiting....” Mother Ignacia found this beautiful mystery of God’s loving direction in her life through patience, interior purification, silence and waiting. This has also been the experience of the Congregation through the years from the time of its foundation in 1684. For more than three hundred years, we have moved beyond the walls of Intramuros, crossed oceans and continents to proclaim God’s love and answer the call of “new evangelization” in our contemporary time.

The beautiful mystery of Mother Ignacia’s life and mission - her “being called and sent” – and her legacy of humble servanthood expressed through the Congregation’s ministries is captured in our Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo Exhibit 2014 .  In this exhibit we “carve in print and pictures” the timeless memory of God’s graciousness towards us and our praise and thanksgiving for what God has accomplished in our midst. The words of the prophet Isaiah ring true for us: “The loving deeds of the Lord I will recall, the glorious acts of the Lord, because of all the Lord has done for us, the immense goodness of the Lord which he has granted according to his mercy” (Is 63:7). May this exhibit be a sign of our praise and gratitude to God for the immense goodness He has shown to our Congregation. With Mary we sing our Magnificat and offer our hope and desire that Mother Ignacia’s love for God and passion for mission that continue in the RVM ministries may kindle the inner spirit of those who witness this exhibit and move them to proclaim God’s marvelous love as the Spirit inspires them.

Panel 1. Presenting the person of Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, foundress of the first indigenous institution for women in the colony. 1684

Dominating the panel is the official image of Mother Ignacia, with a picture of the beaterio that she founded; balancing this image at the left portion of the panel is a recent portrait from the workshop of Vicen Francisco portraying Mother Ignacia at the moment of her death, September 10, 1748.

The account of her life first appears in the Historia de Philippinas, the mission history of the Jesuits in the colony by Pedro Murillo Velarde,  and published in 1749. The first picture is a map of the colony designed by Murillo Velarde who was also known as a cartographer.

Spirituality consists in the style of a person’s response to the grace of Christ before the challenges of everyday life in a given historical and cultural environment. (Gannon and Traub. The Desert and the City.)

Religious life  was born as a form of a spontaneous desire for a more complete following of Christ and to a total donation of oneself, a response to a greater generosity.  Acting as the conscience of the Church that is awakened: every time the ecclesiastical life is risked going off centered, these heralds of God (the founders) appeared,…revealing the presence of two complimentary elements within the Church: the Charismatic moment and the juridical moment.  (Martina. Storia della Chiesa)

The charismatic moment came to Ignacia at age 21 in the course of the  Spiritual Exercies of St. Ignatius which she went through under the direction of Fr. Pablo Clain if the society of Jesus. The panelshows a map of Intramuros during the 17th century, with an image of the Servant of God inset. A thumbnail image of St. Ignatius of Loyola represents the Spiritual Exercises that marks the charismatic moment.


Ignacia’s decision to “remain in the service of the Divine Majesty” served as inspiration, and attracted other women of her race in search of an expression of their aspiration for religious perfection, and shortly after, a group gathered around her leadership.

She led the group of indigenous women through a life of prayer, sacrifice and poverty up until the institution was stabilized with the recognition of the Archdiocese of Manila. The beatas became involved in the apostolate of the retreat with the Jesuit missionaries. Eventually, they admitted young children as pupils.

On the tenth day of September, 1748 Mother Ignacia, foundress of the Beaterio de la Compañia passed away. She was truly the “valiant woman who overcame all the obstacles that faced her from the foundation to the completion of the institution.

Mother Ignacia’s fame for sanctity and the appreciation for her conrtibution to the mainstream evangelization of the Church continued through the centuries, leading to the introduction of the process toward her beatification. Three hundre years later Ignacia’s virtues were confirmed by the church when Pope Benedict XVI authorized the publication of the decree “Super Virtutibus” on July 6, 2006, in the preliminary phase of the Cause for her beatification.

“…the Servant of God, Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, foundress of the congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is found to possess to a heroic degree the theological virtues of Faith, Hole and Charity toward God and neighbor, as well as the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude.”


Panel 2 . From Beaterio de la Compañia to Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary.

The second 10x10 panel traces the growth of the Beaterio in Intramuros into a religious Congregation of Pontifical rights, highlighting the Juridical moment marked with the submission of the first Constitutions to the archdiocese of Manila in 1726.


The Beaterio marks its coming of age as an apostolic institution with the opeing of its activities to mission through participating in the retreat for women in partnership with the Jesuit missionaries, and eventually admitting young Spanish and native girls as boarding pupils where they learned Christian doctrine and preparation for receiving the Sacraments, as well as basic reading and writing and domestic skills proper to their gender.

Mission beyond Intramuros

The call to service beyond the walls of Intramuros was established upon the invitation of the restored Jesuits to Tamontaca, Cotabato in 1875, who dneeded the Sisters for the care of the girls ransomed from salvert as well as children orphaned from the epidemics that ocassionally ravaged the settlements.


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