Today we celebrate the feast of Blessed María Antonia Bandrés, patroness of the Daughters of Jesus in initial formation. Antoñita, as we affectionately remember her, was distinguished by a deep spiritual life uncommon for her age, by apostolic zeal, humility, charity, love for Jesus and the Virgin, manifested in many small gestures, obedience and a spirit of sacrifice. He took a lively interest in the poor and the needy and carried out, on the outskirts of Toulouse, and in particular with the women workers of the trade union, a work of evangelisation and social work that was rare at that time.
At the age of 11, Jesus came into her life and, even as an adolescent, moved her to go out of herself, to grow in generosity, to share what she had. Her joy and commitment were manifested wherever she was. This love helped her to grow in sensitivity, attention, humility and care for others, always seeking to be a help, a stimulus, to spread joy. Antoñita is an example of courage and love. Her life was short, but it has an impact on those who discover her.
For all these reasons, María Antonia Bandrés now guides the steps of the Daughters of Jesus in initial formation. Her testimony is an example of commitment that invites you to fight for what you are passionate about. Her phrase “to do it, do it whole” brings us closer to her way of understanding life and invites us to live without backing down (without half measures, without holding anything back…).
We celebrate this day remembering her life and accompanying the postulants, novices and juniors who are beginning their journey in the Congregation. We hope that Jesus will guide them on their way and that they will follow Antoñita’s example of dedication “striving to do ordinary works extraordinarily”.
In order to keep her exemplary story alive among us, we remember what Anna Cinco FI, Postulator General of the Daughters of Jesus, told us in her review of Blessed Maria Antonia’s letters.
Happy day to the Daughters of Jesus in initial formation and to FASFI!