Martha de San Bernardo
While her birth name is lost, it is recorded that she was a ladina (a Spanish-speaking native of the Philippines who had no Spanish ancestry) who belonged to an affluent and influential family from the Province of Pampanga on the island of Luzon, then part of the Spanish East Indies. Inspired by the lives of the Colettine nuns who had arrived from Spain in 1621 under the leadership of Mother Jeronima de la Asuncion, P.C.C., and established the Royal Monastery of St. Clare in Intramuros, she wished to become a nun herself. In this she was able to secure the support of the monastic community. Due, however, to the colonial regulations of the Spanish Empire which ruled the islands and the existing prejudices of the period, she was barred from being admitted to that monastery.
Instead, in 1633, with the assistance of the Minister General of the Franciscan Order, she was sent to a newly opened monastery in the Portuguese colony of Macau. She was formally received into the Colettine Order on board a ship while sailing the South China Sea with the Spanish candidates to the Order, at which time she was given the religious name by which she is now known, .
- Tantingco, Robby. First Filipino Nun was Kapampangan (Note: The first Filipino nun, Martha de San Bernardo, was under Doña Madre Jeronima de la Asuncion's congregation), Sunstar.com, March 06, 2007, retrieved on: June 18, 2007
- 99 Kapampangan Who Mattered in History and Why, Center for Kapampangan Studies, HAU.edu.ph and Geocities.com, 2007, retrieved on: June 23, 2007
- Pascual Jr., Federico D. Religious Firsts, Postscript, ABS-CBN Interactive, ABS-CBNNews.com, March 06, 2007, retrieved on: June 23, 2007
- AnDA, De (23 March 2011). "Asilo de San Vicente de Paul in UN". With One's Past.
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