mfanimated 2

Article Index

a.2 Devotion to the Eucharist

The prayer of Jesus is the only effective prayer, and His sacrifice is the only saving sacrifice. The Eucharist in which that sacrifice is renewed is our way of sharing in His prayer and sacrifice. For St. Thomas’ devotion to the Eucharist, is the great prayer that includes all prayer. This, the sacrament of sacraments, “contains Christ”, re-presents His sacrifice, and feeds believers on His Body and Blood in a communion that establishes the Unity of the Church.

For Mother Francisca, the Eucharist is the Center of her life. It was Jesus in the Eucharist that was her strength in trials and sufferings, who moved her to compassion for the poor, the sick and the young, and her inspiration to do God’s will in unifying the Beatas in a Beaterio to carry out God’s plan up to the present. This can be seen in her life that was centered in Jesus.

The narration of Fr. Juan de Santo Domingo started how Francisca after becoming a widow, gave herself truly to the service of God. She would frequent the sacraments in the Church of Sto. Domingo.

Wearing now the habit of St. Dominic, Francisca del Espíritu Santo together with her early companions Antonia de Jesus María, Sebastiana de Jesus, María Ana de la Vega, initially frequented the sacraments in the church of the Convent of Sto. Domingo in Intramuros. In the piety current at the time that means Mass, with Communion every fortnight more or less upon the permission of the confessor or spiritual director , and frequent, even daily confession.

An incident illustrates Mother Francisca del Espíritu Santo's great love for the Eucharist. When they finally had their own Beaterio and after their return from exile in Colegio de Sta. Potenciana, Mother Francisca intensely desired to have the Blessed Sacrament in their chapel. But Archbishop Diego Camacho y Avila refused to grant permission. When the new Archbishop Francisco de la Cuestra arrived the following year, Mother Francisca again sought permission with insistence. Not getting it, she then proposed to the Father Provincial of the Dominicans that a direct passageway be built from the Beaterio to the church of the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán. When the idea was turned down, she waited until a new Provincial was elected and who was favorable to it. But it was still the former Provincial, Fr. Juan de Sto. Domingo who actually built the passageway that gave access for the community of Mother Francisca to the Blessed Sacrament of the San Juan de Letran Church. The ready access meant that through a balcony the whole choir of the church was reserved for the religious women. A communion rail was placed for them, not to mention two confessional boxes with iron gates at the side of the choir.

Weakened by sickness and consumed by her penances, fastings and mortifications, Mother Francisca was bedridden before she finally passed away at the age of 63. She was blessed by having the Mass celebrated by her bedside, receiving Holy Communion with supreme joy. She was given the Viaticum solemnly in the Dominican way. In the afternoon of the day she died, she was buried in the church of San Juan de Letran (the first to be buried there), her tomb located over the steps of the main altar Gospel-side, as if in one final surge to be with her Eucharistic Lord and Master forever.

If Mother Francisca remained faithful to the will of God it is because her interior life was animated by prayer and the intense communion of the Eucharist held a central position in her spirituality.