Saint Vicenta Maria López Vicuña sought and discovered the Will of God in her life… In 1876, responding to the call of the Holy Spirit, she founded the Congregation of the Religious of Mary Immaculate.
Foundress of the Religious of Mary Immaculate, she was born in Cascante (Navarra, Spain), at the height of the “industrial revolution”.
She spent her childhood and youth in Madrid where her parents sent her at the age of 10 to complete her education with her aunt. But she also discovered the loneliness of young girls from the countryside who came to the city to look for work.
As early as 1868, she clearly felt the call to consecrate herself to God, who asked her to help her dear “chicas”…
In 1876 she founded the Congregation of the Religious of Mary Immaculate, which was to welcome young people, offer them formation, work for their integration and help them discover God’s plan for their lives.
The beginning of the social and evangelising action of the Congregation is found in Don Manuel Maria and Doña Maria Eulalia Vicuña, uncle and aunt of our foundress, who were touched by the destitution and vulnerability of the girls who came from the countryside to work as servants in Madrid.
Vicenta Maria López y Vicuña was born on 22 March 1847 in Cascante, a small town in Navarra near Tudela, into a wealthy and deeply Christian family.
1857In 1857, her parents send her to live with her aunt and uncle in Madrid, where she spends her childhood and youth to perfect her education and complete her training (French lessons, piano, painting, Christian doctrine, etc.).
However, going with her aunt Maria Eulalia Vicuña on her visits to the hospital, she also discovered the loneliness and uprooting of these young “servants”, who lost everything when they fell ill and found themselves without any recourse upon discharge. It was this reality, which she began to experience at first hand, that changed her life.
She was 21 years old when, responding to the call of the Holy Spirit, she decided to found the Congregation of the Religious of Mary Immaculate. On leaving her discernment retreat and in response to a question about her decision, she exclaims: “The girls have won!”
1876Her continuous search for God’s plan for her life, her spiritual experience of having felt preserved by God’s merciful love and her compassionate observation of the situation of the girls who were emigrating to the city, living in a situation of precariousness and social abandonment, succeeded in overcoming the difficulties she encountered, including her father’s opposition to this seemingly senseless plan.
Founding the Congregation of the Religious of Mary Immaculate in Madrid, Vicenta Maria gave her life to preserve these young girls from evil and lead them to a life of goodness.
“I am convinced that my life is for the youth”.
She made her perpetual vows and, suffering from tuberculosis, died in Madrid on Boxing Day at the age of only 43.
CANONIZATIONOn 19 February 1950, she was beatified by Pope Pius XII, then canonized by Pope Paul VI on 25 May 1975
Her congregation is present on four continents and the aim of our presence is still the same: to welcome young people who are working or preparing through their studies to take their place in society, guiding them on their journey of fulfilment, in accordance with the teaching of Christ.
To the young people who come into contact with our community, we offer a Christian conception of life and offer them a place of welcome conducive to sharing and to their integral development.
Like Vicenta Maria, we want to...
… and decide according to “… the most obvious glory of God and the greatest need of the time”, offering our lives to God, for the love and service of young people.
… young women “so that they may be seeds of the Gospel in the families in which they work” (RP 226D) or in the places where they live, for a transformation of society “from within”.
… every young person from evil and unjust situations that could harm their lives, trying to guide them through a preventive pedagogy.