mfanimated 2

Article Index

b.1. as a widow

Francisca de Fuentes, widowed and childless after a brief marriage, could have remarried, considering that she was still young, and have lived a life in comfort. But the impulse of the Holy Spirit and her love for God prevailed over the temporary comforts of this world so that she decided to be free from earthly concerns in order to dedicate herself totally to the service of God and his people. This she did by remaining close to the Lord in her faithful observance of mental and vocal prayers. Because of her experience of an authentic relationship with God, Francisca felt free to do whatever God wanted of her, reading the signs of the time.

Francisca lived in the seventeenth century when missionary evangelization of the Philippine Islands was in progress. It was also an era when as a result of several calamities, Manila was a city of many impoverished widows and orphans, and other hapless dependents who lost their breadwinners in revolts, sea tragedies, fires and earthquakes.

Furthermore, Intramuros (Manila) at that period to be specific, was a place where many young and poor indian girls, natives of the land do not have a place to grow up nor to be educated and in consequence many are lost as it is commonly known and evidently observed. Most of these girls are daughters of poor soldiers who were married to poor native women and Creole. In extreme poverty they usually die in the Royal Hospital leaving behind their daughters exposed to the danger of losing themselves. Many of these young girls were left abandoned sometimes they were found frequenting the streets and even lived there or at the entrance floors of the houses of other miserable men, so that they were exposed to many dangers.

It was in this context that Francisa responded to the conditions of her milieu. She was a widow herself, yet she did not wait to be served, but instead opened herself to God by serving others through her charitable response to the needs of people around her. Her love for God impelled her to give to the poor what she had, even what was necessary for herself. Seeing Christ in the infirm she would frequent the hospital of San Juan de Dios, bringing consolation and food for the unfortunate sick.

Francisca felt the need for a community where a complete sharing with Christ could be experienced. She sometimes invited some pious women known to her to share such experience of praising God together in their prayers and sharing the fruits of their contemplation by serving the needs of the poor. The works of charity which she was able to get others to exercise with her, revealed her missionary spirit of collaboration. Her works of charity were the heart of her mission. For it is love that is and remains the driving force of mission. Her mission principally was in her witnessing to people not to “have more” for she had given out even what was necessary for herself, but to “be more” loving and caring.