TOPIC 6: MOTHER IGNACIA’S WAY OF LIFE (CARDINAL AND THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES) Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1803-1813) "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions. The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.63 THE HUMAN VIRTUES Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good. The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose of all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love. THE CARDINAL VIRTUES Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called "cardinal"; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. "If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom's] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage." These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture. THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES The human virtues are rooted in the theological virtues, which adapt man's faculties for participation in the divine nature: for the theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have the One and Triune God for their origin, motive, and object. The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. Faith, hope and love are theological virtues that activate our Christian living. They arise from God’s free gift and are directed immediately toward God. “In the end three things last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). These virtues dispose us to live in relationship to God. Prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance manifest our communion with the divine love and guide our relationship as members of the Church. The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. Moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts. Four moral virtues (cf. Wis 8:7) are considered cardinal: Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it. Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Fortitude ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. Temperance moderates the attraction of the pleasures of the sense and provides balance in the use of created goods. Our Christian moral life is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. Peace and compassion are fruits of charity. Truth is uprightness in human action and speech. It is a virtue that consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation and hypocrisy. Related to truth is the value of integrity, consistency in word and action, faith and life. Peace is the tranquility of order, the work of justice and the effect of charity. THEOLOGICAL AND CARDINAL VIRTUES IN THE LIFE OF MOTHER IGNACIA 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. 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 sought 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 indicated 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 lgnacio 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. "HOPE is the theological virtue by which we desire and await that God will grant us life eternal for our happiness, placing our faith in the promises of Christ and our expectation in the grace of the Holy Spirit to merit and persevere until the end.." (Translation from the Compendio del Catechismo della Chiesa Catholica, p.387) "The Servant of God had great hope..." These words are applied to our Mother in the process of the deliberation of the Congress of Theologians in Rome. The record of the first adult aspirations of the Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, to dedicate her life to a closer following of Christ in a religious community, reflected this disposition: the expectation to be acceptable to God even as an Yndia one generation after the colony's conversion to the faith. The resolution by which she responded to the charism she received during her retreat underscores the virtue of hope that formed one of the fundamental dispositions of her spiritual life. "There, (during the course of her retreat) God inspired her to remain in the service of His Majesty." This was the gift the Lord granted her for the service of His people: the -Ls& for her vocation. Ignacia's response to the initiative of God was unique in the Church as well as in her times. Women in Europe as well as in the colony needed the protection of father or husband in society. Fiscal stability was required of any social initiative. But Ignacia was not an espaflola. In her veins run the blood of two cultures with a different set of social values: The Chinese valued industry and hard work; the yndio, resourcefulness and self sacrifice. In answer to the invitation to "remain in the service of His Majesty," lgnacia "resolved to live by the sweat of her brow," although she had parents who could decently support her. And from her home she brought her sewing kit, representing her skills by which she would earn her keep. Her faith made her recognize God's invitation, her hope prompted her to "cast off into the deep" with a pair of scissors and her needle. Thus, another theologian said: "The decision to dedicate herself to God in 1684 was fruit of an act of hope. By the Spiritual Exercises and spiritual direction she underwent a serious discernment, abandoning herself to the bounty of God. Having arrived at her decision, she pursued this up to the end." The test to Ignacia's HOPE will run through her lifetime and beyond. Because of her decision not to depend on her family's resources but to "live by the sweat of her brow," she and the other native women who joined her in a common search for the life of perfection, had to live in "extreme poverty." She and her companions clung to the hope that the Father will provide, but at the same time they had to work for their living. Theirs was the delicate balance between native industry and resourcefulness, and complete trust in Divine Providence. Further, the same theologian continues, "Her firm hope in God urged her to labor with great insistence that was sustained in the facE of the difficulties before her." CHARITY (Paul 1 Cor.13:-7) "Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes." "She spent her life loving God and serving Him in the hope of eternal joys, which she longed for. She loved her neighbour, sharing her material goods with the poor and thus worked with apostolic zeal for the salvation of souls." (Decree on Virtues.) The practice of the theological virtue of CHARITY in the life of Mother Ignacia became the hallmark not only of her person, but was faithfully embraced and passed on to generations to come of her religious family. In the lifetime of the Servant of God her biographer recorded the distinguishing mark of the foundational community that made them an exemplar of virtue in the colonial community by their devotion, humility, assiduity at work, and in the Spiritual Exercises. PRUDENCE: is the virtue that disposes reason to discern our true good in every circumstance, and to choose the right means of achieving it. It guides the judgment of conscience. “Test the spirit to see whether they belong to God."(1 John 4:1) For one steadily growing in spiritual maturity, there is the disposition to transcend the resolve to be/do good, and to aspire for what is better. From the record of Mother Ignacia's decisions as an adult Christian, one sees the exercise towards what is better, great, more: in what St. lgnatius referred to as the magis option. This option she applied to almost every aspect of the life of the foundational community, to become embedded in the spiritual legacy of the religious family she gave life to. The initial concept of consecrated life as envisioned by the young Ignacia included a life of austerity expressed in acts of penance and physical mortification. Her biographer noted that she and her early followers practiced severe acts of penance that they learned from the lives of saints, spent long hours of prayer that sometimes deprived them of the necessary rest at night, to the point that most of them succumbed to illness. It was the virtue of prudence that enlightened these well- intentioned women to perceive that the "service of His Majesty" called for apostolic action which would be hindered by the physical disability that resulted from their extreme penances. When the Rules of 1726 was designed, prudence dictated that moderation in the practice of physical penances in the lifestyle of the foundational community, else the members be rendered incapable of the ministry to which they were called. "In mortification and corporal penances they should observe moderation, discretion and temperance in order to preserve their good habits while the body is still strong. The Spanish proverb “walk a step in order to last' should encourage the beatas not to be indiscreet in her corporal austerity which results in the weakening of the body." (1726.1:7.) Prudence likewise dictated that interaction with "secular persons" be regulated in order that the wiles of worldliness not dilute the religious fervor of the beatas, all for the greater service of God. JUSTICE is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor: 'render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.' (Mk.12:17) From Mother Ignacia's life story we see reflected the virtue of justice that lay at the source of her decisions. Filial devotion would have been served in aligning herself with her parents' decision regarding the disposition of her life in marriage; but to pursue that inspiration to dedicate her whole being to the service of the Divine Majesty was to render to God what God desired of her. Shepherding her first community to serve God in chastity, poverty and obedience she upheld the right of a colonized and evangelized people, women, no less, to the pursuit of religious perfection, just as much as anyone in the colony and in the Church. That same sense of justice gave birth to a religious family consisting of only one level of membership, regardless of race or social distinction, as well as an apostolic service that did not discriminate between the EspaioIa and the Yndia, the 'haves' and the' have-nots.' And in the light of social of the period, this constituted a challenge that only this 'valiant woman' only an yndia, responded to heroically. This posture of justice the Venerable lgnacia carried throughout her 85 years, to her last breath, rendering to her God what belonged to Him, namely, her whole being. TEMPERANCE is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures, and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the mastery of the will over instincts, and regulates desires within the limits of what is honorable. The cross had become central in the spiritual legacy of Mother Ignacia. Murillo Velarde used very specific words to describe the ascetical practices exercised by the Servant of God, and how her first community emulated her example, to the detriment of the health of the members. For Mother Ignacia, temperance was not limited to foregoing pleasure, but even to chose what went against the grain, to the practice of penances and mortification "in order to draw down God's mercy upon them." However, motivated by the greater glory and service of God, she learned to exercise temperance even in her desire for self-sacrifice, and legislated that these ascetical practices be regulated by the primary motivation of anyone who wished to live the life: the greater service of God. Reflections related to the practice of the virtue of Prudence may likewise he applied to the practice of virtue of temperance. FORTITUDE is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in the face of difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of good, strengthening the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The Decree on Mother Ignacia's heroic virtues further states: "In various occasions she proved herself to be a 'woman of strength.' This was proven by her prudent and long-suffering spirit in the face of all the problems she encountered from the beginning until the completion of her work for the institute: 'desde el cimiento hasta ci capitel." The obstacles were many, within the context of the social, cultural and historical environment of her times. With humble and persevering fortitude she made a place for the yndia to serve God in Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. Her option was poverty, instead of security that her family could have afforded her, to "live by the sweat of her brow" with only her sewing kit brought from home. Her exhortation to her early followers was to "bear their hardships and acts of penance in order to draw down God's mercy upon their endeavors." She was truly the "valiant woman" of Scriptures. TOPIC 7: MOTHER IGNACIA’S LIVING OUT OF THE BEATITUDES Service / Humility Mother Ignacia dedicated her works to please God and did all out of love for Jesus. Thus, her zeal and enthusiasm never waned. She always thought of the good of the community and the people she served. (1726 Rules I.7-9,17,23,25,33, 37,40; II. 12,17,19, 21-22) Excerpts from chapter three of Gaudete Et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Pope Francis’ exhortation ‘On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World’ “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” “Wealth ensures nothing. Indeed, once we think we are rich, we can become so self-satisfied that we leave no room for God’s word, for the love of our brothers and sisters, or for the enjoyment of the most important things in life. In this way, we miss out on the greatest treasure of all. That is why Jesus calls blessed those who are poor in spirit, those who have a poor heart, for there the Lord can enter with his perennial newness.” “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” “Christ says: “Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11:29). If we are constantly upset and impatient with others, we will end up drained and weary. But if we regard the faults and limitations of others with tenderness and meekness, without an air of superiority, we can actually help them and stop wasting our energy on useless complaining. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux tells us that “perfect charity consists in putting up with others’ mistakes, and not being scandalized by their faults””. (72) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” “A person who sees things as they truly are and sympathizes with pain and sorrow is capable of touching life’s depths and finding authentic happiness. He or she is consoled, not by the world but by Jesus. Such persons are unafraid to share in the suffering of others; they do not flee from painful situations. They discover the meaning of life by coming to the aid of those who suffer, understanding their anguish and bringing relief. They sense that the other is flesh of our flesh, and are not afraid to draw near, even to touch their wounds. They feel compassion for others in such a way that all distance vanishes. (76) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” “True justice comes about in people’s lives when they themselves are just in their decisions; it is expressed in their pursuit of justice for the poor and the weak. While it is true that the word “justice” can be a synonym for faithfulness to God’s will in every aspect of our life, if we give the word too general a meaning, we forget that it is shown especially in justice towards those who are most vulnerable.” (79) “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” “We need to think of ourselves as an army of the forgiven. All of us have been looked upon with divine compassion. If we approach the Lord with sincerity and listen carefully, there may well be times when we hear his reproach: “Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Mt 18:33).” (82) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” “The Lord expects a commitment to our brothers and sisters that comes from the heart. For “if I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have no love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor 13:3)… From the heart’s intentions come the desires and the deepest decisions that determine our actions.” (85) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” “It is not easy to “make” this evangelical peace, which excludes no one but embraces even those who are a bit odd, troublesome or difficult, demanding, different, beaten down by life or simply uninterested. It is hard work; it calls for great openness of mind and heart, since it is not about creating “a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority”, or a project “by a few for the few”. Nor can it attempt to ignore or disregard conflict; instead, it must “face conflict head on, resolve it and make it a link in the chain of a new process”. We need to be artisans of peace, for building peace is a craft that demands serenity, creativity, sensitivity and skill.” (89) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” “Jesus himself warns us that the path he proposes goes against the flow, even making us challenge society by the way we live and, as a result, becoming a nuisance. He reminds us how many people have been, and still are, persecuted simply because they struggle for justice, because they take seriously their commitment to God and to others. Unless we wish to sink into an obscure mediocrity, let us not long for an easy life, for “whoever would save his life will lose it” (Mt 16:25).” (90) TOPIC 8: MOTHER IGNACIA’S EXPRESSIONS OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF HUMBLE SERVICE Service : Humility "Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all. (Mt. 20:26-2 7) Mother Ignacia was well aware of her own gifts but never boasted about them. She imitated the humility of Jesus Christ and did not claim any privilege as foundress of the community. She gave up her position as superior of the house and paved the way for another leader to emerge. (1726 Rules I.9,10,12,29,44; II.5,18, 21) We recognize certain highlights or points of emphasis in Mother Ignacia’s spirituality of humble servanthood which we define as “spirituality of Marian radical openness to the will of God that impels to humble and courageous, generous and creative service of the Church.” I call these highlights or emphases as accents. Spirituality of the cross is rooted in love and identification with Jesus. It is bearing sufferings out of love for Jesus. It is filled with confident hope and trust in growing in conformity with Christ. Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde paints for us a picture of Mother Ignacia’s commitment to Jesus Christ and the spirituality of the cross in the following words: “They lived in extreme poverty, hardly having enough rice to eat, and to obtain a little salt they had to go beg for some from Fr. Andres Serrano, the rector of the College of St. Joseph. To cook their little rice they scrounged the streets for pieces of firewood. Mother Ignacia exhorted her companions to bear with constancy those hardships and poverty, and encouraged them to practice penance in order to move God to have mercy on them. Mother Ignacia took to wearing a yoke on the neck while others pulled her throughout the house; she used to carry a heavy cross on her shoulders, prostrated herself on the ground so that others may walk on her; she prayed with arms outstretched in the form of a cross under the heat of the noonday sun. The others imitated her, and every night they used the discipline, slept very little, passing most of the time in prayer. They were often in darkness for having no means of light.” Fr. Murillo Velarde also mentions their practices of penance and public mortifications. Without doubt, Mother Ignacia and her companions were influenced by traditional Christian piety and the expressions of spirituality current during their time. We can highlight three pictures of Mother Ignacia from Fr. Murillo Velarde’s description: Mother Ignacia praying with outstretched arms under the noonday sun, Mother Ignacia carrying a heavy cross, Mother Ignacia lying prostrate on the ground. These three images appear to us as manifestations of Mother Ignacia’s desire to imitate Jesus Christ in his passion. Mother Ignacia was devoted to Jesus, the crucified Christ. She desires to share in the sufferings of Christ. She witnessed the radical following of Jesus in poverty and powerlessness.These images also give us an insight into her asceticism and prayer. Mother Ignacia prayed earnestly and performed penances to move God to have mercy and on all who needed God’s mercy. Her spirituality of humble service was expressed in her capacity to forgive, to bear wrongs patiently and to correct with gentleness and meekness. It became most evident in her decision to resign to govern the house as the foundress until her death, she chose to step down and become one of the members. She lived 11 or 16 years as a beata among others, leading by following, and witnessing to the poor and humble Christ. Mother Ignacia is a model of humble service for us. From her we learn that service done in humility releases inner potentials that we may not even be aware of. Humble service invites the action of the Spirit to be made manifest. As we continue in humble service we become more aware of God’s dynamic presence in our lives. We can trust that God who is so generous will supply whatever we need in order to grow in our life of service and love. TOPIC 9: IGNACIAN SPIRITUALITY FOR OUR TIMES - OPPTIC (PART 1) The spirituality of M. Ignacia can be summarized in the acronym OPPTIC with each letter representing a characteristic of M. Ignacia’s spirituality. O OPENNESS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT P PONDERING HEART OF MARY P PERSEVERANCE T TRUST IN GOD’S LOVING PROVIDENCE I INTIMACY WITH CHRIST AND INTEGRITY C COURAGE AND CREATIVE SERVICE ROOTED IN FAITH, LOVE AND HUMILITY The acronym OPPTIC is significant because it calls to mind the word optic which means “related to vision or pertaining to the eye.” M. Ignacia’s OPPTIC expresses her fundamental orientation toward God, viewing everything in the light of God’s will, experiencing all things in God’s presence and transforming even negative events into means of hope and light. Openness to the Holy Spirit A fundamental aspect of M. Ignacia’s spirituality is openness to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Through this openness to the Holy Spirit, her adventurous character and natural sense of discovery did not lead to recklessness or foolhardiness. M. Ignacia’s courageous stance was rooted in this openness. Allowing herself to be led by the Spirit, she found new ways of looking at her experiences, at things, people and events in her life. She experienced God drawing her beyond the limits of her own situation. As she continued to be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, she saw how the different events I her life fitted into God’s loving design for her. This openness which is rooted in faith made her eager to daily discover the will and action of God in her life. Pondering Heart of Mary It was the restlessness in her heart that enabled M. Ignacia to seek a future beyond what society dictated. She did not stifle nor escape from this restless feeling. She sought the advice of someone more experienced than she was. She did not seek easy solutions. She exerted efforts to make the right decisions in her life. She found an appropriate model in the Blessed Mother. Mary of Nazareth, when troubled by the angel’s greeting pondered its meaning (Lk 1:29). M. Ignacia drew inspiration from the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who “pondered all things in her heart” (Lk 2:19.51). In Mary’s attitude of pondering, M. Ignacia found an answer to her restlessness. As she strove to imbibe this pondering spirit, M. Ignacia became more aware of her own feelings and moods. She grew in discernment as she continued to maintain a recollected spirit. She learned how to observe the events in her life and probe their deeper meaning. Perseverance M. Ignacia experienced many ambiguities in her life. She lived through the ambivalent and ambiguous situations of her life and those of her beaterio in perseverance. She spent her 85 years in the beaterio in steadfastness, commitment and fidelity. M. Ignacia did not turn back from her original calling. Despite the difficulties she encountered, she continued in her fidelity to the service of God. She lived the gospel value of faithfulness, symbolized by the cross of Jesus Christ. Her perseverance in difficulties was based on her faith in Jesus Christ whose cross is a perpetual reminder of hope in the resurrection, of God’s faithful love transcending death. TOPIC 10: IGNACIAN SPIRITUALITY FOR OUR TIMES - OPPTIC (PART 2) Trust in God’s Loving Mercy M. Ignacia and the beatas did not live a life of comfort and convenience. They were poor. They were not sure where to get food for their next meal but they were not discouraged. They survived by working and supporting themselves by the labor of their hands. M. Ignacia and her beatas experienced in their life of insecurity the great providence of God who generously gave them what they needed through the fruits of their works or through benefactors. It was this trust in God that enabled M. Ignacia and her beatas to endure their hardships and mature in faith in the midst of their difficult situations. Her trust in God enabled M. Ignacia to move beyond her need to belong. As a Chinese-yndia mestiza, Ignacia must have had a strong desire to belong. Her parents might have provided her with a home in which her need for belonging was answered. Neither of them, however, might have known the struggle within her. She must have known the difficulty of living in a family of mixed cultures and in a society where there was racial discrimination. She might have looked for sympathy somewhere, for someone with whom she could identify someone who would take away her loneliness and help her find the way to integration. She might have also wanted to find others who like her were aspiring to the religious life. She was probably hoping to belong to the community of the Beatas of Sto. Domingo. Undergoing the Spiritual Exercise, she realized that her path would not be easy. She would have to give up her search for a group to which she would belong. She was being called to live in solitude. She had to learn to put her whole trust in God who would lead the way for her. She grew in trust as she realized the guiding hand of God in her life. She experienced God to be a provident Father who knew her needs. This enabled her to go beyond the need to belong. As she found her true sense of belonging in God, she was able to provide a space and a context where other native women could feel they belonged. Her beaterio became the place where native women could come together and experience solidarity and unity in their religious aspirations. M. Ignacia paved the way for a native religious community to grow and even to include the people who belong to a class that excluded them. The apostolic service of her beaterio was open to all regardless of color or race. This reconciling stance was possible because M. Ignacia and her beatas learned to trust in God’s loving mercy. Intimacy with Christ M. Ignacia’s life of charity was rooted in the love of Christ. Her intimacy with Christ was the foundation of her life. She did not wait to receive; she freely gave out of her abundance of her heart. She did not wait to be loved; she reached out to others in love and care. M. Ignacia could be generous in love and friendship because she experienced the deep love of Jesus in her life. The motivation of her actions was the love of Jesus on the cross. The more M. Ignacia grew in intimacy with Christ, the more she experienced integration. Her inner attitude became reflected in her outer behavior and actions. Her purity of heart was manifested in kind words and deeds of loving service. The experience of intimacy with Christ was the foundation of the beaterio community. It was the source of their love and friendship. The beatas shared their joys and pains, tears and laughter. They experienced failures and reconciliations, hurts and forgiveness. The love of Christ was the bond that united the community. In their solidarity with one another, the beatas also realized their call to share in Christ’s mission. Their growing knowledge of Jesus Christ impelled them to reach out to others and help them also grow in faith and commitment. They shared the fruits of their life of faith through the education of young girls and the retreat work for women. They also provided a space where women could stay in solitude and recollection. With them they shared the spirit of the beaterio community. Courage and Creativity M. Ignacia ventured into the unknown. There was no clear path for her. She had to find her own way. She dared to take steps to follow her vision and realize her dream. She could take risks because she had the courage rooted in strong faith in God. Through the years, she grew in self-knowledge, became aware of her personal gifts and talents, accepted them and used them at the service of others. Her courage was coupled by creativity. She turned a negative situation or a limitation into a context for experiencing God and reaching out to others in service. The lack of government recognition and subsidy did not prevent M. Ignacia and her beatas to continue living the religious life. Their own resourcefulness led them to define the apostolic character of their community. Because of her leadership, some of the timid native beatas became courageous and responsive also to the needs of their times. They ventured forth into ministry and brought light and hope to a society darkened by division and afflicted by discrimination. M. Ignacia’s venturing spirit was put to good use at every stage of her life. She was always moving forward, responding to the call of the Spirit in her journey of faith and love. Even as the beatas undertook their mission and carried out acts of loving service, there might have been people who were looking down upon their capacity and doubting whether they were to be allowed to continue living as religious. The beatas might have had questions too about themselves, their own identity, their abilities and aspirations to live authentically the religious life. M. Ignacia led them through these situations of vulnerability and ambiguity to become more courageous and creative.