Isabel Larrañaga Ramírez
Isabel Larrañaga Ramírez is the founder of the Sisters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She is also the first Philippine-born person to be given the title "Venerable." She received the title in 1999.
The youngest among ten children, Isabel was born in Manila on November 19, 1836 to Juan Andres Ma. de Larrañaga (the Military Governor of Manila at that time) and Isabel Ramírez Patiño. She was not a full blooded Filipino but technically, she is a Filipina by birth and by virtue of citizenship. She was baptized in the church of San Miguel de Arcangel near the Malacañang Palace 30 days after her birth.
In 1855, with her mother and brother, Francisco Adrian, they went to Lima, Peru. Isabel, who was already 18 years old during that time, dedicated her time in apostolate. Seven years later, she and her mother went back to Spain, and they resided in Madrid.
On February 2 1877, with the consent of her mother, she founded in Madrid the "Ladies Slaves of the Sacred Heart of Jesus" (Señoras Esclavas del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús). She opened a house of Spiritual Exercises and organized catechism activities including spiritual and material assistance to the sick and the needy.
On Sept 8, 1883, she did her perpetual profession in Torrijos, Spain. On that same date, her Institute received an approval as a religious congregation. With the petition of the Cardinal of Toledo, Juan Antonio Moreno, he changed the name of the Institute to "Sisters of Charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus", which gives preference to the apostolate of Christian education of children and youth.
In 1894, Isabel sent a religious expedition to Cuba despite of the delicate political situation during that time. During her second trip to Cuba, she suffered from heart problems which was aggravated with sufferings from the war which eventually led to her death on January 17, 1899. She left a flourishing Institute that, after her death, has established presence in other nations such as Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Peru, and Chile.
Cause for beatification
On December 17, 1982, a cause for her beatification was opened. She was elevated as a "Servant of God." On March 26, 1999, she was later elevated as a "Venerable" by Pope John Paul II.
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- EWTN. (accessed on May 10, 2008).