Last Saturday, 10th of March, more than 250 beneficiaries trooped to our Motherhouse Complex for the 2012 Free Medical/Dental Reach-Out Activity of the Generalate Area communities. Specifically dubbed as “Lingap-Kalusugan: Alay Kay Madre Ignacia”, the reach-out was in cooperation with the BEC units of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Parish of Cubao, Quezon City.
“Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”(Mk 1:17) These are the words of Jesus to Simon and Andrew by the Sea of Galilee. Then the first disciples left their nets and followed him. No questions asked and no assurance of security heard. This they did in faith.
Theme: Growing in my Loving Relationship with God
God has an inexhaustible fount of His divine love for each one of us. As His children we claim that God loves us, to grow in His love, to spread it to others. To grow in God’s love necessitates faith, to love by faith. When we spread the love of God from our heart, we, likewise radiate faith through our actions and words because faith and love are of the heart and faith works by love.
For many decades, a circular garden fronting the Generalate and Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel existed, with pathways leading to the main areas within the Motherhouse Complex. At the start of the year 2012, however, we saw this garden being transformed into a beautiful MOTHER IGNACIA MEMORIAL CIRCLE, concentrically designed like a clock, with the statue of MOTHER IGNACIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO prominently elevated on a pedestal at its center.
Of the first set of Rules and Constitutions that our revered Mother, the Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo presented to the archdiocese of Manila in 1726, the ecclesiastical official charged to review them had this to say: “The finger of God is here. These rules can only be attributed to the interior law of charity under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. …It is with the assurance that there will be no deviation whatsoever from the way of life as heretofore followed by them (the beatas)…” He further observed: “This country can be compared to an arid desert filled with thorns, transformed by the hand of God into a beautiful garden of flowering virginity and of other Christian virtues.”
It is providential that the two dates marked for celebration by the religious family our Venerable Mother gave life to the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary are March 4, 1663, marking her entry into the mainstream of Christian life through baptism, and September 10, 1748 her entry into life everlasting. In the light of faith, we are certain that there is a profound significance to these two dates in the RVM legacy, highlighting Mother Ignacia’s impact to society and the Church: Her birth into the Christian family and her birth into the universal family of the redeemed in glory.
It was the 4th day of March, 1663, in the Church of the Holy Kings in the fifth Parian de Chinos, when the baby held in the arms of Catalina Malinang received the waters of baptism from the hands of Fray Alberto Collares, O.P.: “Ignacia del Espiritu Santo: you are now sacramentally a child of God.” The parish registry recorded her father as Juseph Iucuo, and her mother, Maria Jeronima, but the child was marked as belonging to the Holy Spirit: “del Espiritu Santo.” Was this a portent of Ignacia’s calling and election, to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit in igniting in the hearts of other women marginalized in the colony, the aspiration to live the evangelical counsels through the religious family she gave birth to?
I am indeed happy to preside over this Eucharistic celebration on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the definitive approval of your Constitutions. This is my second time to come to this beautiful chapel. The first time was more than 20 years ago when, as a seminarian, I attended the perpetual profession of some of your Sisters. It is nice to be back as a priest, and that fact that you celebrate today a momentous event of your life as a religious community makes my ‘second coming’ doubly meaningful.