RESPONSE BY THE RVM SUPERIOR GENERAL
(Delivered by M. Maria Evelyn C. Aguilar, RVM on the occasion of the Promulgation of the DECREE on VIRTUES of VENERABLE IGNACIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO, held last February 1, 2008, 9:00 a.m., at the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, Binondo, Manila) ________________________________________________________
“Proclaim his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds to all the peoples;
great is the Lord and worthy of all praise.”
Your Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila
Your Excellency Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP President
Your Excellencies Archbishops and Bishops of the Philippines
Former Philippine Ambassadors to the Holy See, Ambassador
Henrietta de Villa and Ambassador Howard Dee
Honorable Undersecretary Fatima Valdez, who is representing
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Honorable Congresswoman Naida Angping of the 3 RD District of Manila
Honorable City Mayors: Mayor Alfredo Lim of Manila and
Mayor Feliciano Belmonte of Quezon City
Other Government and Military Officials
Reverend Monsignori, Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters
Our distinguished Guests
Members of the Mother Ignacia Movement from the Generalate Area and
Regions of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao
Members of the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Beaterio
Administrators, Faculty, Staff and Students of the RVM and MAPSA
Schools in the Generalate Area and Luzon Region
Parents and Alumni of the RVM Schools
Lay Representatives from the various RVM Ministries: Retreat, Dormitory,
Social and Special Ministries
Members of our General Council, Jurisdictional and Local Superiors,
and RVM Sisters
Visitors and friends...
A pleasant morning to all!
Through the years, the dream of all RVM Sisters, in the country and overseas, is to see Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo venerated on the altars of the Church. However, it took us years to come to this day of praise and thanksgiving for the promulgation of the Decree on Virtues of our beloved Mother Foundress.
In 1986, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, then Archbishop of Manila, took the initiative to present the Cause of Mother Ignacia to the Sacred Congregation for the Cause of Saints.
The Nihil Obstat of the Sacred Congregation was granted on October 20, 1986, and an Archdiocesan Tribunal was constituted in November 1986 to assess the collection of documents submitted to the Sacred Congregation for the Cause of Saints.
On January 16, 2001, the Historical Commission designated by the Sacred Congregation was convened to discuss the merits of the Positio. Majority of the members gave their approval. The proceedings were incorporated in the final volume of the Positio and were considered by the Theological Commission.
On February 23, 2007, the Congress of Theologians in Rome voted a favorable decision to accept the Positio on the life and virtues of the Servant of God, Ignacia del Espiritu Santo.
On June 19, 2007, the Council of Cardinals scheduled a meeting to discuss the Cause of Mother Ignacia. The positive decision of the Council was then elevated to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
On July 6, 2007, our Holy Father accepted and ratified the report and ordered that the Decree on Virtues (Decretum Super Virtutibus) be published and included in the Acts of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints.
Our Congregation finally received, last December 24, 2007, the official document of the Decree on Virtues, acknowledging the theological and cardinal virtues lived by M. Ignacia del Espiritu Santo to a heroic degree.
In grateful jubilation for a wonderful gift, received a day before Christmas Day, we came to offer this Thanksgiving Mass to our Triune God, with you, who are one with us in this historic event of our Congregation. Today, we rejoice for the Decree on Virtues just promulgated renders our
Mother Foundress the title VENERABLE! To everyone, she is now VENERABLE IGNACIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO, Foundress of the Beaterio de la Compania de Jesus, now known as the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary.
THE RELIGIOUS OF THE VIRGIN TODAY
The story of our Congregation, which began in 1684, continues to unfold…from a small beaterio of Venerable Ignacia and her beatas to a congregation of 753 professed sisters, with 41 novices and 13 postulants. Known to be the first all FILIPINO congregation for women, granted papal recognition, the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary has today become international with our Indonesian, Ghanian, Pakistani, and American Sisters in our membership.
Indeed, our congregation is like a mustard seed “sown in the ground, springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches so that the birds of the sky can dwell on its shade” (Mk. 4:33).
“Service to God, our Father, must be the sole motive of our acts” (1726 Rules and Constitutions) was Mother Ignacia’s legacy to the Church, particularly to the Beaterio she founded. Our service to God, exemplified by the first beatas, has gone beyond the borders of the Philippine shores to the different continents of Asia, America, Europe, and Africa. Truly, we have given our lives to “remain in the service of His divine Majesty” in today’s world.
THE CHALLENGE FOR US HERE AND NOW
The promulgation of the Decree on Virtues of the Servant of God challenges all of us, the Religious of the Virgin Mary of today’s Church, to continue living her spirituality of humble servanthood, in imitation of the “theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity toward God and neighbor, and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude”---the virtues lived by Venerable Ignacia to a heroic degree. To face this challenge, we need God’s grace and your prayers that we may be worthy to be called the Religious of the Virgin Mary, faithful daughters of Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo in the “service of His Divine Majesty”.
OUR SINCERE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This joyful celebration of thanksgiving was made possible because of the gift of persons, inspired by Mother Ignacia’s spirit of service to God and neighbor. With deep appreciation, we thank you from our hearts:
- His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, DD, our main celebrant and homilist
His Excellency Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, DD, for reading the Decretum Super Virtutibus
- His Excellencies, the Archbishops, Bishops, and Most Reverend Monsignori and Fathers who concelebrated in our Mass this morning
- The Religious Men and Women of the Philippines
- Our heartfelt gratitude to Rev. Fr. Francesco Ricci, OP: our Postulator in Rome, to Rev. Fr. Enrico Emmanuel Ayo: for his valuable assistance in the preparation of the Positio on the virtues of the Servant of God and to our very own S. Maria Rita Ferraris: for her very rich historical research and work on the life of our Venerable Foundress
- For their very special participation in our liturgy, we sincerely
- Ambassador Henrietta de Villa: our Papal Document Bearer
- Our Superiors General Emeriti: M. Maria Assumpta
David and M. Maria Clarita Balleque who unveiled
the picture of Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo
- Rev. Fr. Genaro Diwa: our Liturgist
- Rev. Fr. Emerico Sixto Juan Garcia: our Master of Ceremonies
- San Carlos Seminary: for our Pontifical Mass Servers
- Our Commentator, Mass Readers, Psalmists,
Offerers, and Petitioners
- Mrs Leonie Aranda and the MIM Binondo Chapter: our Mass Collectors
- Mrs. Lourdes Pagulayan & the Mother Butlers’ Guild Council: for the vestments
- Mr. Rodolfo Delarmente, Mr. Jason Ros, and the RVM Choir
- Msgr. Jerome Reyes and the Basilica Staff : for the use of all the facilities of the Basilica
- The Core and Sub-committee Chairpersons and members: for their tireless giving of selves that made our affair today extra-special and worth remembering.
- Special thanks to our Superiors General Emeriti, to the members of the General Council, all Jurisdictional Superiors, Local Superiors, and all the RVM Sisters for your prayers, support, and presence in today’s event.
- To all our guests and friends who came to be one with us in our thanksgiving
- And, above all: to God, the Almighty Father and to Our Lady of the Assumption, our Patroness: we give glory and praise!
Indeed, it is a day to be grateful! On behalf of all the RVM Sisters, and with the words of St. Paul, I say: “I thank my God for you, and may God , the Father and Christ Jesus, our Savior, give you grace and peace".
Thank you and God bless you.