Saint of the Day – 9 August – Saint Cándida María de Jesús (1845-1912) – Religious Sister and Founder – born on 31 May 1845 in Andoáin, Guipúzcoa, Spain as Juana Josefa Cipitria y Barriola and died on 9 August 1912 in Salamanca, Spain of natural causes – born Juana Josefa Cipitria y Barriola – was a Spanish professed religious and the founder of the Daughters of Jesus. The order – founded in 1871 – was under Jesuit direction from her spiritual director and was involved with the education of children in Salamanca though expanded during her lifetime.
Mother Candida, whose name was Juana Josefa Cipitria y Barriola, was born to a poor family. As a young girl she left her land to work in Castile in order to help her family financially. Gifted with a great sensitivity to the neediest, she was not indifferent to the situations of those living nearby. Therefore, even at the risk of losing her job, she would
say, “Where there is no room for the poor, neither is there room for me”.
Her desire to do God’s will was the sole driving force in her life. On 2 April 1869, in the church of “The Rosarillo” in Valladolid, before the altar of the Holy Family, she asked the Lord once again to make His will clear to her and God more clearly expressed His desire “to found a Congregation with the name of Daughters of Jesus, dedicated to the salvation of souls, through education and instruction of children and youth”.
It was in Salamanca on 8 December 1871, when, with five other women, her adventure began with nothing more than the trust born of the knowledge that what one undertakes is “what God wants”. In this manner and with the name of Candida Maria de Jesus, this woman of scant education and scarce material means founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus in one of the most important university cities of the 19th century.
The exclusion of women and the economically weaker classes from the fields of education moved Mother Candida to begin this path. And very soon what began in Salamanca extended throughout the Spanish geography. Later, on 3 October 1911, the first Daughters of Jesus set out for Brazil, fulfilling her dream: “I would go to the ends of the earth in search of souls”.
On 9 August 1912, Mother Candida, simple and courageous woman who made her life a constant surrender to the will of God, died in Salamanca. St Pope John Paul II, in Rome, Beatified her on 12 May 1996 and Pope Benedict XVI Canonised her on 17 October 2010.
Today, the Congregation is present in 19 countries, at the service of others and with special attention to the most needy.