Mother Ma. Ines Teresa of the Blessed Sacrament
Mother Maria Ines Teresa was born in Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit, Mexico, on July 7, 1904, and was baptized with the name of María Manuela de Jesús. Her parents were; Eustaquio Arias Arróniz, -a lawyer- and María Espinosa y López Portillo, both originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco. She was the fifth of eight children.
In September 1924, her cousin gave her to read the book of Saint Therese of Lisieux. This book awakened a keen desire for holiness in Manuelita. She wrote in her diary “… I not only found my vocation, but God in a very special way in me.”
In October 1924, during the National Eucharistic Congress in Mexico; Manuelita had a strong spiritual encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, which she called her “moment of conversion”: “Jesus the Eucharist, passing by me, dropped one of those looks that have the power to move, to transform, Follow me.” His lips did not utter another word, and the heart went after Him. The closing of public worship in 1926 puts in her life a note of pain and hope: “… after many interior sorrows, given the growing desire of my soul to be his and all his, I was finally able to enter; to the Poor Clare Nuns, which were exiled in Los Angeles, California, due to religious persecution in Mexico.”
In 1929 she entered the Monastery of Poor Clare nuns in Los Angeles, California. At her investment of the habit of the Order, on December 8, she was given a new name: María Inés Teresa of the Blessed Sacrament. On December 12, 1930, she pronounced her temporary vows, at Santo Toribio mission church, in Los Angeles, California, before an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. On that day, she heard on her soul that our Lady of Guadalupe said to her a promise: “That day, she made me a promise … and I solemnly promised her in the bottom of my heart that I would make her loved by the whole world.”
Mother Ines was a Poor Clare nun in the cloister for 16 years: “And it was at this time that my desire to be a missionary was maturing more and more, not only because of hidden prayer and sacrifice, but because of the desire to do what Saint Paul so advises us: send evangelizers to the countries of infidels and thus conquer many souls for God”.
In 1945, a group of Poor Clare nuns of the Blessed Sacrament led by Mother Maria Ines went out to start a new foundation: “It was a great guarantee for my soul to have the approval of my superior and of the entire Council of the community. His Excellency Don Francisco González Arias, Bishop of Cuernavaca, upon hearing my wishes to found a missionary work, accepted it from the first moment and he sent the application to the Holy See requesting permission.” On June 22, 1951, the Holy See granted the transformation from cloister Poor Clare nuns into a Missionary Congregation of Pontifical Right, with the name of Poor Clare Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.
Together with the Institute, Vanclar was also born: (Vanguardias Clarisas), a lay missionary group.
Her missionary zeal led her to established missions in many different parts of the world, thus beginning the series of foundations between Christians and non-Christians: “Take me Lord, as an instrument of your glory, and take me … you will not regret having sent me … I want to make you love, so much, so much” Let me “Bring the image of our Lady of Guadalupe so that she, with her maternal tenderness, deposits her divine Son in the hearts of so many of our brothers who hunger for God without knowing it.”
In 1979 Mother Maria Ines also founded a male institute, the Missionaries of Christ for the Universal Church: “I entrust to the congregation these two branches of our missionary family: the group of vanclarists, and the missionaries of Christ. We will all live united in one spirit for God and for souls.”
Her missionary zeal, her profound yearning to make God known, and loved, her “thirst” to “purchase” souls for God, is tangibly concrete in the work she founded, which made her cross borders and deal with all kinds of people. She visited the different missions, in order to encourage, trained and instill in her followers the burning desire for holiness and the salvation of souls, concretizing the motto: “It is urgent that Christ reign.”
The last nine months of her life, she accepted a painful illness with a joyful “Fiat” and on her lips a hymn of praise and gratitude to God. On July 22, 1981, after having spoken the words: “Yes, thank God, we are finished” joyfully closed her eyes to the realities of this world, to open them to eternal beauties.
On October 31, 1992, her beatification process was opened in the diocese of Cuernavaca, Mexico. On March 25, 1993 it was opened in the diocese of Rome, Italy. The processes were closed in October and June 1996 respectively.
On April 3, 2009: The Pauline Year, the Holy Father Benedict XVI declares Mother Maria Inés Teresa Arias Espinosa “Venerable”. Noting that the Servant of God heroically practiced Christian virtues.
On June 27, 2011: Pope Benedict XVI endorsed a miracle attributed to the Mexican religious María Inés-Teresa, approving her elevation to the altars as blessed of the Catholic Church.
After Mother Maria Ines death, her spirituality sparked new groups: In 2004 the group of Priests Mother Inés was born; In 2009, consecrated Vanclarists took the name of “Institute of Inesian Consecrated Missionaries”. And in 2010 the Eucharistic Family asks to be part of the Inesian Family to carry on the same spirituality.
“Allow me, Lord, that I may be for my brothers in religion, the little star that illuminates their path, the little light that gives them warmth; that from your glory I continue to fertilize, with my work, my prayer, my beatific adoration, the seed that I deposited on earth for your greater glory, so that it may bear fruit more and more in the hands of the children who have followed me in apostolic tasks”
Mother Maria Inés Teresa of the Blessed Sacrament, Mexican missionary without frontiers, was beatified on April 21, 2012, at 11:00 am in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico. Mother Maria Ines Teresa, “missionary icon” had just as St. Paul, in back-ground of her contemplative and active life the Word of God meditated daily in her heart, which reflected in her writings.
“To our actions we ought to add prayer always, Martha cannot be without Mary. And if we wish to be souls of all apostolate, we ought to be souls of prayer. We can do all through prayer.” Bl. Maria Ines