It's been four hundred years in the making, but the story of Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo and her daughters, the Religious of the Virgin Mary, is finally about to be told.
These wonderful sisters' contributions have long been over- looked. Not only were they the first, oldest, and the largest Filipino female religious order in the Philippines, but the sheer amount of work that they have done for both Catholics and the community deserves to be recognized. Yet, for some reason, the Religious of the Virgin Mary has long remained unnoticed and passed over when it comes to Catholic religious orders. Despite their dedication in the fields of education, health care, social ministry, retreats, evangelization, and more, these sisters have been tragically hidden in the shadows by the church. Thus, the purpose of this book is to thank the sisters for their contributions, both in the Philippines and worldwide, and to recognize their work. I think it's time the public knows what they have done, the care they've taken of the poor and sick, the dedication to the call of duty by their country, the transformation they've been able to make in the lives of those who might not have had any other access to education, the missions that they have taken on in the name of Christ, the trailblazing they have done for other women religious, as well as the laity in access to spiritual formation, direction, and guidance. That is what this book aims to do, to bring this good work to light. Of course I cannot talk about the Religious of the Virgin Mary without spending a considerable amount of time on their foundress, the legendary Venerable Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. It is from her own courage, spirit, and determination that the sisters find their guide today and the vivacity they seek to emulate. This book, thus, also examines the life of this incredible woman, what encouraged her to begin this order despite the numerous boundaries that stood in her way, as well as some of the ideals she held and how they relate to today's society centuries later--the equality of all, the importance of femininity in the church, and even pro-life issues.