The Life and Works of Mother Ignacia
by Mona Lisa H Quizon
She is one of the few Filipinas who made a mark in our history. As a religious leader she practiced her duty by spreading love and concern to people in need. Her presence is a lamp that illumines the path of those people during trying time. There was very few information about Mother Ignacia’s birth but according to some documents she was baptized on 4 March 1663 by Fray Alberto Collares, O.P. at the Iglesia de los Santos Reyes. Her parents were Jusepe Incua and Maria Jeronima both Chinese. She spent her young life in Binondo. During that time the prospects were not brighter for Filipina who wanted to enter the congregation. There were only two beaterios or religious houses for women-the Real Monasterio de Santa Clara and the Beaterio de Santa Catalina de Sena and unfortunately these beaterios do not admit non-Spanish applicants. As time passed, Ignacia felt that she would have a hard time pursuing her vocation because her Chinese roots. At the age of 21 she was pressured by her parents to marry. Distraught, Ignacia sought the advice of Father Paul Klein, Jesuit from Bohemia who was a family friend and spiritual director. She preferred to enter the Beatrio de Santa Catalina also known before as the Beaterio de Santo Domingo than to get married. Further, Father Klein told her to go on a spiritual retreat before making the crucial decision. After the retreat she decided to establish a religious community for non-Spaniards. Her decision to form an institute was believed to blessed with divine intervention from God. That time she founded the Beatas de la Compania which later became the Religious of the Virgin Mary. The Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, the oldest and largest Filipino congregation, is the first all-Filipino religious congregation for women in the Philippines. The initial members were her niece, Cristina Gonzales and two young ladies, Teodora de Jesus and Ana...
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