mfanimated 2

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b.3. love of community

Francisca could have built a community in a family as an exemplary wife and mother. Or she could have accepted another marriage proposal after having been widowed young. Or she could have remained a childless widow the rest of her life.

But God has other design for her. She was called not just to build a community of 4 or 5 in a family but destined her to be a faithful bride of Christ and a mother of many.

Francisca felt the need for a community where a complete sharing with Christ could be experienced. She did not content herself praying or serving the poor and sick alone as a widow but divine inspiration moved her to exercise these pious works inviting other women known to her. That is why her house gave it rather the appearance of an oratory. She was inspired to leave the dress of a widow and join a religious institute.

In 1682, after a prayerful decision, Francisca took the habit of the Third Order of Penance living in her own home. She continued to carry out the apostolic work of caring for the sick and the poor with the other Beatas. Her act of gathering people to pray together and practice works of charity reflected the apostolic community gathered in the praise of God and in a concrete experience of communion and collaboration.

With the other Beatas they frequented the sacraments in the convent of St. Dominic giving good example to others. Some of them particularly Francisca wished to live together in a community and Fr. Juan de Sta. Maria placed two of them: Mother Francisca and Mother Antonia in the houses of María García in front of the belfry of the convent of Sto. Domingo. But this did not last long because the houses were bought with the funds of the chaplaincies and they had to return to their own houses. But she did not give up her desire to live in community.

The Beatas especially Mother Francisca started to urge the new Prior, Fr. Juan de Sto. Domingo about the Beaterio. Inspite of opposition and resistance the Beaterio was established. The community was growing, so much so, that the house needed expansion. On July 26, 1696, the Beaterio de Sta. Catalina was formally inaugurated with the Beatas, making their profession and accepting the Rule of the Community. All of the them were very much pleased and did not cease to give thanks to God, particularly Mother Francisca for seeing realized what for many years she had desired and asked from God with persistence and tears.

When some Beatas started to indulge in unnecessary conversations, slowly they lost fervor. As they lacked spiritual devotion, all their activities in the Beaterio caused them repugnance so much so that they missed mental prayer and Prime under the pretext of a headache or stomachache. Because of these, Mother Francisca admonished them, sometimes scolded them and threatened them with the zeal for the glory of God and the good of their state of life. For Mother Francisca, any affliction that others suffered aggrieved her, especially one that affected her sisters in the community.