Friday, February 1, 2008

Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo Two Steps Away From Sainthood

POPE Benedict XVI has issued a decree bestowing Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo the title "venerable," two steps away from sainthood.
Mother Ignacia was baptized Ignacia Incua. Her parents were Jusepe Incua, a Chinese, and Maria Jeronima, a Filipina. She belonged to a rich Binondo family.
In a declaration to be promulgated today in a mass by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales at the Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the Holy Father will acknowledge Mother Ignacia’s "heroic virtues."
"The Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints of the Vatican reported that the Servant of God, Ignacia del Espiritu Santo… is found to possess to a heroic degree the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity toward God and neighbor, as well as, the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude," said the decree dated July 6, 2007.
It was only last December 31, however, when Rosales was presented with the decree by the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) Council.
The RVM, which was founded by Mother Ignacia, led the efforts for the beatification of the Manila-born Filipino-Chinese.
Among the efforts that were recognized by the Vatican were her "opening the gates for Filipino religious women" during the Spanish occupation in the country when she established the RVM.
During that time, convents were reserved for those of Spanish descent.
"Instead of marrying, she chose a life of prayer, ascetical practices and apostolic service while supporting herself using her skills in sewing, despite the fact that her parents could very well support her," said the document presented by RVM to Rosales.
According to Roman Catholic Church rules, the bid to become a saint must be supported by documents and performance of at least one miracle before the title of "venerable and "blessed" are given before being declared as a saint.
The "miracle" presented to the congregation was Mother Ignacia’s cure of a diabetic, identified as Victoria Peña Utanes.
According to the document, Utanes was suffering from diabetes and was scheduled to have her foot amputated.
In a desperate move, Utanes went to the RVM sister-healers to get a cure. Mother Ignacia’s picture was placed on the infected area while a bandage was placed on it.
When Utanes arrived home, she discovered that the sore was already cured.
A doctor eventually verified that the cure was instantaneous and was not cured by medical science.
San Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino saint, declared by the Vatican in 1987. He was followed by Blessed Pedro Calungsod in 2000.

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