In the crises of history, fortuitous encounters happen

Happy birthday to our dear Father Herranz!

For the family of Mother Candida today, July 5, is a very special day. We celebrate the birth of Fr. Herranz and thank the gift of his life for the beginnings of the Congregation.

Who was Fr. Herranz?

"Spanish, tough and affable at the same time, so effective, as silent, so saustere or discreet that having been a very active man he has barely left a trace in the Jesuit documentation" . [1]

On July 5, 1819, Miguel de los Santos San José Herranz was born in Spain. As was customary, he was baptized with the saint of the day: St. Michael of the Saints. In 1857, at the age of 36, he entered the Society of Jesus and trained in France. In 1861 he returned to Spain, performing different positions and offices in the Society of Jesus.

"Man of few words, of righteous and healthy judgment, very confident in the council, very prudent in his resolutions and very firm and constant in which once determined, submissive, humble and obedient, mortified to a great degree, of an unlimited trust in God" [2]

"Nothing sycophantic ( or servile)  or fearful of human respect, of character and temperament... but very thoughtful, with a lot of mastery over himself, kind and kind to everything, frank and jovial in conversation.. a true man of God." [3]

Fr. Herranz was a close collaborator in the birth and development of a new congregation in Spain and for the Universal Church: the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus.

When Juana Josefa, at 26 years old, wondered how to respond to her vocation, she found in Fr. Herranz the appropriate accompaniment and help for her life.

"Attentive to the invitations of the Spirit, he strives for greater fidelity. Grace is communicated to him in the usual contact with God. There will be the secret of his whole and constant donation (...) For whose benefit? for his friends the poor, and for the most needy" he wishes to find with whom "to contrast the graces he receives (...)" and for his part, Father Herranz begins "...to ruminate in his mind how in need of Spain is of a regeneration". [4]

The political instability of Spain in those years was very marked by many rivalries and a desire to erase Catholicism. For this reason, in 1868 the expulsions of religious communities take place, and the Society of Jesus was no stranger to it. Thus, in the midst of a social crisis, the fortuitous circumstances for the meeting between Fr. Herranz and the young Juan Josefa will occur.

Around that time in September 1868 it is recorded that Juana Josefa prayed that "I would find a director who is to my liking" and, in the midst of this request, Fr. Herranz appears: "instrument that God had in store for ourJuana Josefa with his wise advice... in the right direction, he led her down the appointed path of divine Providence." [6]

In the midst of a situation of exclaustration of community religious life, Fr. Herranz moves to Valladolid to his brother's house. At this time Juana Josefa worked with the Sabater Becerra family who, for work reasons, moved from Burgos to Valladolid. Both arrive simultaneously.

"Under the determined steps of Juna Josefa, the footprints of God are marking ahead that way". [7]

And to us now, in the midst of COVID-19, what chance encounters does the Lord give us?

 

 

[1] De Frías Tomero, María del Carmen, FI. Biografía de la Sierva de Dios, Madre Cándida María de Jesús (Juana Josefa Cipitria y Barriola) Fundadora de la Congregación de las Hijas de Jesús (31 de mayo 1845 - 9 de agosto 1912) Hijas de Jesús, Postulación de las causas de canonización, Roma, 1988, p. 74.

[2] Ibíd : P. García Alcalde primer biógrafo de la M. Cándida. 

[3] Ibíd.

[4] Macarro C. B. FI, Historia de la Congregación de las Hijas de Jesús Tomo I , p.29.

[5] Ibíd. [1] p. 73. Citando a: Conjunto de libretas de la M. Fundadora.

[6] Ibíd. [1] p. 72.

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