By: Sister Meredith & Sister Michelle, O.C.D.

Each month, a reflection of Mother Maria Luisa Josefa’s life will be presented to offer our readers a glimpse into the life of our Venerable Foundress, lovingly called Mother Luisita. She was a woman of great virtue who led a life of total abandonment to God’s holy will. However, like most saints and all the rest of us, she did not start off this way. She, too, had to be formed like clay in the potter’s hands. The potters were her father and mother, Epigmenio and Luisa de la Peña, who encouraged and taught the young Maria Luisa with discipline and love.

Maria Luisa was the first surviving child of fourteen children in the de la Peña family. After the second child was born, Maria Luisa did not like sharing attention, so she informed her parents that she would live with her grandparents instead. With understanding and encouragement, her parents taught her that life was not just about ourselves, but about the other. Maria Luisa’s openness to this teaching soon allowed God’s grace to enter her soul. She saw that being the eldest in a large family gave her more meaning and purpose.

Having embraced her place in the family, Maria Luisa became more open-hearted and generous. She willingly helped her mother with the younger children and took joy in learning all the skills of homemaking and managing the household. Formed with love and discipline, she in turn was able to form her younger siblings and she became a big sister who was truly loved by all in her family. The nurturing and forming that her parents gave to all their children required a lot of sacrifice. It was a wise “investment” as the large family grew in unity, especially through their trials and difficulties. That treasured time of growing up in her family was the soil for her motherly soul, as we will see later as she matures into her teen and young adult years.

We pray the example of the de la Peña family will offer a marvelous witness of faith, patience, and love to all families. Family is where love begins!