Mother Francisca Fuentes del Espiritu Santo (1647-1711) is a Spanish-Filipino Roman Catholic figure. She is the first Prioress of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in the Philippines. Beatification Process currently underway with protocol number:2533.
Francisca de Fuentes was born to Don Simon de Fuentes, a Spaniard and Doña Ana Maria del Castillo y Tamayo a Spanish metiza in the City of Manila in 1647. Francisca then dedicated her time to prayer and social service helping many poor and sick in the city. She envisioned herself to be close to St. Francis and St. Dominic. Because of this, she chose to be a Dominican, being admitted as a tertiary in 1682. She chose the name “ Francisca del Espiritu Santo”.
As a Sister Prioress
The Beaterio de Sta. Catalina was founded by Fr. Juan de Sto. Domingo, O.P. of Spain on July 26, 1696 and Mother Francisca was appointed Prioress for life. The first community consisted of Mother Francisca, Mother Maria, and Mother Rosa de Santa Maria. The community was placed under the patronage of St. Catherine of Siena and accepted in the Provincial Chapter of 1698
Her fight over the installation of a Beaterio
Then Manila Archbishop Don Diego Camacho wanted the Beaterio under his jurisdiction. The conflict grew until Archbishop Camacho excommunicated Mother Francisca, and put the other sisters under interdict. To avoid scandal, the beatas removed their habits and with the help of the Governor General and counsel from the Dominican Fathers, they went into “exile” at the Santa Potenciana College, there to stay for over 2 years in Exile. The Archbishop showed some pity and let Mother Francicsca and her Sister to return to their original home, having donned once more their Dominican habits, there to live under the rules set for them as beatas, with a few added features of their religious life as prescribed by the Archbishop. The permit from the Archbishop is dated 26 March 1706. With Mother Francisca at the time of their return were (15) fifteen Spanish Sisters including a novice, and in addition, there were lay Sisters and a girl who eventually donned the habit. It was in the same year that the Beaterio became a Convent School for Spanish girls, “mestizas” and natives, instructing them in the (4) four R’s Religion, Reading Writing and Arithmetic with Music, Embroidery, Flower Making, etc.
On August 24, 1711, she was died, leaving behind her the Beaterio de Santa Catalina de Siena which lives vigorously as ever up to this day as the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de Siena
On March 11, 2003, She was elevated to be a Servant of God after giving upon the go-signal “Nulla osta” with protocol number:2533.