First Day: Faith, Mother Ignacia's response to God's invitation.
By revelation, God, from the fullness of His love, addresses us as friends, and moves among us in order to invite all into His company. The adequate response to this invitation is faith, whereby a person completely submits his intellect and will to God.
REFLECTION: Mother Ignacia received the gift of faith during her baptism at the Church of the Holy Kings in the fifth Parian de Chinos. As with other yndias of her times, this faith gradually matured, nurtured by the Sacraments, teachings, practices and devotions inculcated by the zealous missionaries and a pious mother. The growing child’s faith manifested itself in the ordinary Christian observances in the context of parochial activities. It was only when Ignacia was 21 years old, and her parents began to plan seriously for her future in terms of marriage, that the level of maturity in faith of this simple yndia manifested itself. Her life’s aspiration was to live solely for her God. She was not sure how or where, but that was her heart’s desire. It was faith that prompted her posture of discernment, that she seek the will of God for her. And God led her steps to a mentor in discernment, the son of Ignatius at the Colegio de San Jose. Paul Klein saw her soul the prepared ground for the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and put her through the process of discerning the will of God for her. Her retreat experience is shrouded in mystery. We only know that during that time God “inspired her to remain in the service of His Majesty,” and her response was one great leap of faith: “to live by the sweat of her brow.” With one act of the will she placed her life in the hands of the ‘Divine Majesty.’

Colonial policy dictated that no institution could be established unless it proved financial stability, or at least indicate its source of income so that it does not become a burden to the Royal Treasury. What presumption for this lowly yndia to set out on her own. Perhaps her vision did not include an institution; and by herself, her needle and pair of scissors would be adequate, supported by her trust in Divine Providence. Still it was her faith that gave courage to do the will of the Father, whatever that would entail. It was this faith that allowed her to accept the coming of other women like her, seeking to serve the Lord in chastity, poverty and obedience, and not to panic at the thought of additional mouths to feed. It was heroic faith to trust that as long as they did all they could, His Providence will supply their needs. She harnessed her indigenous resourcefulness to make ends meet, and believed that God will do the rest. When the women kept coming, she was practical enough to call a stop to admission, only until she had the means to enlarge the house. And the means came: Don Jose Ignacio de Bertis (Vertis) willed a legacy of three hundred pesos annually for the support of the retreat ministry. But this was only in 1725; the forty-one years since she cast lot with the Lord were years of light and shadows: consolations and trials, in the midst of which she urged her community to “bear their sacrifices in order to draw down God’s mercy on them.”

This unschooled yndia led her members to assist the Jesuit missionaries in facilitating the retreat of women by the hundreds, from all strata of colonial society, and then to open the doors of her beaterio to little children to be educated in basic doctrine and literacy. It was faith that made her accept the role God entrusted to her, of providing a place where women of her race could serve His Majesty in a life of the evangelical counsels, to prepare a set of Rules and Constitutions to preserve the legacy of spirituality that was revealed to her in her search for the service of the Divine Majesty. From her faith grew the other virtues that drew the admiration of her biographer, who until then, had only disdain for the lowly yndio: humility, zeal for souls,…. It was from faith that sprung up hope, and love, and temperance, justice, prudence and fortitude. The crowning of Ignacia’s faith came in the early morning Mass of September 10, 1748, when the God to whom she gave her life in His turn gave her life – EVERLASTING.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Your Son Jesus Christ taught us to seek Your Will in all things and in all events. Through the intercession of your Handmaid Ignacia, grant our prayers, and specially grace us with unwavering faith and readiness to accept Your disposition. GLORY BE…
Back to Top