Many years had passed since that event, when the first Daughters of Jesus wished to know about their origins; and they ask M. Candida, whose idea was it: hers?, of Father Herranz …? “And she always answered: ‘neither mine nor his, exclusively, but of both and at the same time’. Father [Herranz] expressed himself in the same way several times on this matter.” This is how Father García Alcalde an exceptional witness, relates our congregational dawn.
Our fontal inspiration, summed up in our very first source texts, springs from the converging experiences, in the Spirit, of Juana Josefa and Fr. Herranz.
Juana Josefa, 23 years old, resolute and determined: «I am for God alone».
But perhaps she is not clear about how … She, very much aware, asserts that she feels the presence of Mary «from the age of four».
It is then legitimate to venture that she would pray very consciously from her grandmother’s lap:
«My Lord Jesus Christ, Creator, Father and Redeemer of mine …». In Jesus, she sums up her God. And this feeling of Jesus is nested in the depths of her soul forever: it will be the DNA of the congregational charism: Daughters of Jesus. It is the Spirit who continues to lead her.
And the years go by. Valladolid: she is already 21-22 years old; amid her domestic chores, a person of vital prayer, she continues searching, without finding perhaps, the will of God in her life.
And Fr. Miguel Herranz, somewhere nearby, in the fullness of his maturity, is also restless. Spanish society is going through a long desert of secularism hostile to the Church of Jesus. The Company, in exile. He has had to leave his community in León and take refuge in his family. He grieves for Spain: they have even banned the Catechism in schools.
Well … he is willing to found a Congregation of qualified Teachers, who may fill up the teaching positions and thus be able to evangelize in the school. He thinks that education is the best investment. That was where his thoughts must have been while he was ministering in the church of “San Felipe de la Penitencia”, on that side altar where he had his confessional.
There Juana Josefa would come to the confessional, her only alternative then to communicate, to clarify what she is feeling in her heart that she can hardly express. And Father Herranz listens … and feels likewise. Man of faith, accustomed to “reflecting” on his motions and feelings in order to “seek and find God in all things.” Defying all human logic, he concludes: Juana Josefa is “the chosen one”.
It seems to be confirmed, not only by the Spirit in that Eucharist; but also when the young Basque woman, perhaps bewildered, goes to tell him about God’s plans for her that the Virgin made her feel in that side altar of the church of Rosarillo that she frequented so often.
What must the two have felt, upon communicating their converging experiences? “Both and at the same time.” They would repeat, years later, both of them.
The telluric features of our fontal inspiration, traced with energy:
• “DAUGHTERS OF JESUS”: in the name: our being and way of proceeding. Biblical resonance of the name.
To resemble Him, “like a daughter resembles her father.” And Paul will tell us: “Have the same
sentiments as Jesus Christ”, feelings, values, attitudes, criteria … Be and act like Jesus.
• MARY: special presence.
• CONGREGATION, one belongs, serving.
• MISSION, the most precious of creation is entrusted to us: EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH
• CANDIDA MARÍA DE JESÚS: a new name: magnificent and symbolic. Reiterated, as the texts say, in the face of Juana Josefa’s rejection and struggle. Something is revealed to us in this new name
• SUB VEXILLA CRUCIS: Good Friday. The three texts add: “struggles and battles” against the “common enemy”. “Foundation that would bring so much suffering to both of them”. But, the presence of Mary, “her powerful help” juxta crucem, in paschal tension to become: “a Congregation of union, of love, of true and fruitful apostolate”
Bilbao. Teresa Zugazabeitia F.I.