January 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 6

Saint Of The Month

St. Inez de Beniganim – January 21

Photo of Saint Inez de BeniganimInez was born in 1625 in Beniganim, a town near the city of Valencia in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia. Baptized Josefa Maria Tudela, she grew up in a poor family. Uneducated and illiterate, Inez began working as a servant for her uncle at an early age. She was a devout young woman who was inclined to spiritual trances and mystical insights.

When Inez was about 18 years old, she refused the advances of another servant. Enraged by the rejection, the suitor tried to shoot Inez. The frightened girl escaped without injury and then decided to retreat to a convent at Beniganim. The monastery belonged to the Augustinians, an order founded by Augustine that stressed simplicity and poverty. Determined to start anew, Inez took the veil in 1643.

Typically, a hierarchy of class existed in early monasteries. Educated women, often of noble birth, served as administrators of these communities, while lower-born women performed the necessary physical chores. Accordingly, Inez, who took the name Maria Josefa de Santa Inez, continued to work as a domestic servant. She also began experiencing visions of Jesus in her daily life. And, even though she was illiterate, she mastered the Latin liturgy and was able to fully participate in chants and Mass.

Inez remained cloistered in the monastery for 52 years. Known for her devotion to austerity (she strictly followed the rule of going barefoot throughout the year), Inez also became famous for her prophecies. A wise woman, she was sought out for spiritual counsel by the powerful and wealthy as well as the poor.

Take mercy on us, God,
because we know that although
You have hidden things from the wise and learned,
You have revealed them to the childlike.
Let us be children before You,
leaving our pride behind us,
so that we might know the power of
Your wisdom and love.


From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives