Early in his priesthood, Manuel (who took the religious name Faustino of the Incarnation) was sent to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, where he encountered illiterate women who had been marginalized because of their gender. Seeing these uneducated women and realizing the lifetime of injustices that had been brought against them, Father Faustino decided to take action. He prayed and sought the guidance of God, but he knew he had to do more, so in 1885 he established the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess, a new religious congregation to educate women. Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess, also called the Calasanzian Institute, emphasized not only the education, but the promotion, of girls and women with the intent of bettering their lives. Father Faustino’s order gained approval from the Archbishop of Seville in 1889, before receiving the pope’s full approval in 1912.
Born Manuel Míguez González in Spain in 1831, Father Faustino is known for using his interests and passions – education and science – to advocate for the people he encountered in his life. While he was well-known for his devotion to the education of women, he was also devoted to science and the natural remedies found around him. Early in his priesthood, Father Faustino began studying the natural healing properties in plants, and saw them as gifts from God that could help the sick. So, when those who were ailing in some way would come to him for help, he would create natural medicines out of his concoctions, often curing those who sought his guidance. He became known for his use of science and medicine in healing those who needed it most.
Father Faustino had a proactive, hands-on nature. Whether he was founding a new order for marginalized women or creating natural medicines for the sick, he showed his ability to truly and actively advocate for those around him, doing whatever was necessary to make a difference in the lives of those around him.
St. Manuel Míguez González was canonized by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in October of 2017.