Candida Maria of Jesus
- For the Italian nun, please see: Maria Candida of the Eucharist
|Saint Candida Maria of Jesus, F.I.|
|Religious and foundress|
May 31, 1845|
Andoain, Gipuzkoa, Spain
|Died||August 9, 1912
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||May 12, 1996, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II|
|Canonized||17 October 2010, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI|
Saint Candida Maria of Jesus, F.I., (Spanish: Cándida María de Jesús; 31 May 1845 – 9 August 1912), was a Spanish Religious Sister and educator. She founded the Spanish Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus on 8 December 1871 in Salamanca, Spain.
St. Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola was born and baptized as Juana Josefa, on May 31, 1845, in Berrospe, Andoain, Guipuzcoa, Spain. Her father was a weaver. “I am for God alone” was her answer to God's first call. On December 8, 1871, Mother Candida Maria de Jesus founded a new congregation for the Christian education of children and youth and the advancement of women in Salamanca. Her simple background and her lack of education and means at the beginning of the foundation, as well as throughout her life, emphasized her trustful response to God's call and made her an instrument to fulfill her mission.
She opened schools for children and adolescents from all social backgrounds, Sunday schools for girls employed as domestics, and involved the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus (Hijas de Jesus) in the church's pastoral plan of her time. Indeed the universalism of her charism continues to be a commitment worth considering, a precursor of what we call “social justice” today.
She based her spirituality on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. With the collaboration of Fr. Herranz, S.J., she wrote the Constitutions and they were approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1902. Endowed with many gifts of the Holy Spirit, she was able to achieve a great deal even to endure much suffering. Trust was a marked characteristic of her spirituality and she was never beset by doubt. Her expression, “I distrust myself and place all my hope in you, my dearest Mother”, reveals how deeply she trusted in our Lady, “Star of our way”.
Prayer was all important in her life and she did everything for the glory of God. She was a contemplative, a woman immersed in God who spent long hours before the tabernacle, serene even in trials and suffering. She tried to inculcate this spirit in her daughters and among the pupils at her schools.
She lived and loved poverty above all: “Where there is no room for my poor, neither is there room for me”, she said, while working as a servant in Burgos. As foundress and Superior General, she was docile to the will of God and exercised her authority in a spirit of service to her brothers and sisters, governing her religious as daughters of God.
She died in Salamanca, Spain, on August 9, 1912 and the fame of her holiness has continued to increase. She was beatified together with Bl. Antonia Bandres, a young Hija de Jesus, on May 12, 1996 by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
On October 17, 2010, Mother Candida was canonized at St. Peter's Square, Vatican CIty, together with five other Blesseds.