Feast of Saint Candida on Aug. 9

Devotees will celebrate Tuesday, Aug. 9, the Feast of Saint Candida Maria de Jesus, the revered foundress of Hijas de Jesus (Daughters of Jesus), a congregation of religious women dedicated to the education of women and the youth.

Saint Candida Maria de Jesus (Manila Bulletin file photo)

Saint Candida was one of the recently canonized saints having been declared a saint in the year 2010.

Feast masses will be celebrated at the St. Candida Maria de Jesus Parish in Barangay Sabang in Naic, Cavite, the first-ever parish dedicated to the saint in the Philippines. This year marks the second fiesta celebration of the church after its declaration as a parish on Oct. 18, 2021.

Novena prayers followed by the holy mass will be held at the church from July 31 to Aug. 8. The relic of the revered saint, a part of her bone, will also be on display at the altar beside her image. The faithful are invited to pray before her sacred relic after the Eucharistic celebration.

Working in about 17 countries across the world, the missionaries of the congregation arrived in the Philippines in 1932. Today, it oversees communities and schools in Manila, Paranaque, Cebu, Iloilo, Camiguin, and Davao.

Born Juana Josefa Cipitria y Barriola on May 31, 1845, in Basque province of Guipuzcoa in Spain, St. Candida worked as a house help to help support her family. Poverty did not deter her to live a life of piety and virtue.

At the age of 24, she received a message from the Blessed Mother to establish a congregation for women dedicated to the salvation of souls through the education of women and the youth.

On Dec. 8, 1871, she founded the Hijas de Jesus under Jesuit direction and began setting up schools that offered Christian education, making it available to the poor, especially women, at a time when more than 80 percent of the female population in Spain could barely read or write. She also offered free Sunday classes for domestic helpers.

St. Candida died in Salamanca, Spain on Aug. 9, 1912, and was declared blessed on May 12, 1996. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI canonized her on Oct. 17, 2010 in Rome, Italy.