MOTHER IGNACIA DEL ESPIRITU
SANTO (1663-1748) AND HER LEGACY
Source: RVM School Personnel: Norms and Policies 2008 Edition


               Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo lived during the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines. The precise date of her birth is not known but the record shows the date of her baptism on March 4, 1663. This confirms the statement of Pedro Murillo Velarde, biographer of Mother Ignacia, that she was 21 years old in 1684. Ignacia was the eldest and the sole surviving child of Maria Jeronima, an yndia, and Jusepe luco, a pure Chinese immigrant from Amoy, China. Her father was converted to Catholicism in 1652 and resided in Binondo, Manila.

               When Ignacia was 21 years old, her parents wanted her to marry. Heeding a call deep within but not wanting to disappoint her parents, Ignacia sought counsel from Fr. Paul Klein, a Jesuit priest from Bohemia who arrived in Manila in 1682. The priest gave her the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. After this period of solitude and prayer, Ignacia decided to ('remain in the service of the Divine Majesty/' and to "live by the sweat of her brow." She left home and brought with her only a needle and a pair of scissors. She started to live alone in the house located at the back of the Jesuit College of Manila. Her life of prayer and labor attracted yndias who were also called to religious life but could not be admitted to existing beaterios at that time. Mother Ignacia accepted these women into her company and the first community was born. They became known as the Beatas de la Compafiia de Jesus because they frequently received the sacraments at the Church of St. Ignatius, performed many acts of devotion there and went to the Jesuit Fathers for spiritual direction and confession. (Read more)