Saint Beatrice De Silva Menses
Born: 1437 in Campo Maior, Portugal
Died: August 17, 1492 in Toledo, Spain of natural causes
When visiting a Dominican convent in Toledo, Spain, Queen Isabella discovered that she had a cousin who was a recluse there, Beatrice De Silva Menses, whom she had not seen in 40 years, not since Isabelle’s mother Queen Castille had thrown into prison in a jealous fit.
Beatrice divulged the rest of her story to Isabella: As a beautiful, young woman, she arrived at Castile as a lady-in-waiting to her Queen Castille. When she attracted the king’s attention, the jealous queen had her thrown into a dungeon without food and water. On the brink of death, the Blessed Mother appeared to her and told her that she would found a religious order dedicated to her Immaculate Conception. (This was approximately 400 years before the Church accepted the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.) Beatrice managed to miraculously escape and find her way to the Dominican convent in Toledo, where she had remained and lived a life of holiness for 40 years (without the entering the order) until meeting her cousin Queen Isabella. To atone for her mother’s brutal behavior, Isabella helped fund the start of a new order. Beatrice’s order is known today as the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady or the Conceptionists. Beatrice died six years later at the age of sixty-six. On her deathbed, a miraculous event occurred. A luminous light radiated from her face and filled the room, causing a star to remain on her forehead.
The Conceptionists wear a white habit and scapular with a blue cloak, and an image of the Blessed Virgin on their habit. The celebrated Maria de Agreda, author of “The Mystical City of God”, was a Conceptionist. The Conceptionist congregation today is spread widely throughout Spain and Belgium.
The Blue Scapular