mfanimated 2

Article Index

bis. francisco gainza2final

Mother Francisca of the Holy Spirit
Foundress of the Beaterio de Santa Catalina

       Father Francisco Gainza, O.P. (1859)

            Reference:   Militia de Jesucristo: Manual de los Hermanos de la Tercera Orden de la
                             Penitencia de Santo Domingo. (Manila: Tipog. del Colegio de Santo Tomas)

The illustrious Mother, Mother Francisca of the Holy Spirit, foundress of the Beaterio de Sta. Catalina of the Cit
y of Manila, Philippines Islands, was an exact portrait of the valiant woman, so eagerly sought after by the wise King Solomon; and whose virtues, so admirably portrayed in her, were described in the minutest detail and perfection. "In the blamelessness of her conduct (says the history of my Province, Part 4, Chapter 35, making a fine comparison) and in the face of tribulations, she could find a colorful mixture of simplicity and frankness in her pleasing friendliness and great prudence; in the government of the Beaterio, she could discover the merciful discretion mingled with prudence, economy in the management of her family; in her mercy for the poor and compassion for the needy, she could find that extensive heroic generosity, a quality which Solomon so much admired; and finally, in the choice of her religious profession and foundation of the Beaterio, she could observe the right circumspection in the buying of the field and eagerness in the establishment of the vineyard."

 Our Mother Francisca was born in the City of Manila. From early childhood, it had already been known what could have been expected of her on reaching maturity, for even when she was still very young, she had already displayed a precocious modesty, an edifying composure, a sort of prudence superior to young age, a tender devotion to God, and a vivid desire not to offend Him Whom she loved even before she got acquainted with earthly vanities. Although she embraced the married state while still very young, certainly it was not to respond to the call of the flesh, nor to engross her heart in the management of her household; on the contrary, though, a model wife devoted to her husband, she gave due preference to the love of God and strove always to set a good example to others by living in retirement and seclusion, "so that it was not without much edification that her choicest virtues were perceived though hidden beneath the appearance of secular pomp, the imitation of Blessed Joanna, Princess of Portugal, who concealed the grave austerity and mortification of her life with a royal ostentation."

 However, as she was not meant for the world, the Lord came to her assistance in order to relieve her of the yoke of matrimony and to imposservant. upon her the burden of the cross. Shortly after her marriage her husband died and seeing herself without heirs, she conceived the idea of consecrating herself to God. She lived in such a way that her abode did not resemble the dwelling of seculars "but the house of the most recollected religious because her seclusion and practice of the spiritual exercises of vocal and mental prayer gave it rather the appearance of an oratory, than that of the residence of persons living in the world. " It was then that she dedicated herself entirely to the service of the poor and the sick, especially of those in San Juan de Dios Hospital. She faithfully observed this practice until she enclosed herself in the Beaterio influencing the ladies of the city by her good example. As she grew in charity for her neighbor, she also grew in the desire to surrender herself intimately to her celestial Spouse. For a long time she wavered in the choice of the state which she ought to take. She had inspiration to confine herself in the monastery of St. Claire, the only formal convent in the city.