Saint Beatrice of Silva

Saint of the Day for 1/3

Beatrice has a slim but significant connection to the Franciscan movement. The Order she founded was not incorporated into the Franciscans until after her death but is today a major branch of the Franciscan family.

Beatrice was born in Ceuta, Morocco. She was related to the Portuguese royal family and served for a time as a lady-in-waiting to the queen of Castile. Leaving that position, she went to a Dominican convent in Toledo, where she lived (though she never took the vows of that Order) for 37 years.

Seven years before her death, Beatrice established a contemplative community that observed the Cistercian Rule. Three years after her death, Pope Alexander VI placed her community under the Observant Friars Minor and gave it the Rule of Saint Clare. These nuns are now known as the Conceptionist Poor Clares, and by 1968 formed almost 20 percent of the Second Order. Beatrice was canonized in 1976.

Some people are awed by the prayer and penances of the Poor Clares. Others are inspired by the charity and self-sacrifice required to keep such a community faithful to its goal: serving the Lord and his Church in greater and greater purity of heart.