The year 2014 will be etched in the memory of the Catholic faithful as the year when two popes were canonized, Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. For us who belong and are in any way connected to the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, the year 2014 has another special significance. It marks the three hundred thirty (330) years of existence of this Congregation that grew from the small group of faithful native women began by our Foundress, Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo.

          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. 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. 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, on this feast of the Visitation, we sing our Magnificat. Let us pray that Mother Ignacia’s love for God and passion for mission that continue through 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. 

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