Colegio de Santa Catalina

Beaterio y Colegio de Santa Catalina: In 1633, female Dominican tertiaries, under Mother Francisca del Espiritu Santo and companions, Antonia de Jesus Maria Fuentes, Maria Ana de la Vega, Antonia Esguerra, and an india, Sebatiana de Jesus, requested permission to found a beaterio and college but met opposition from the Franciscan tertiaries who claimed that there were already too many beaterios and too few vocations to fill them. Initially denied permission, the beatas did not constitute themselves as a community but kept to their religious practices and vows in their homes. Carlos II authorized the foundation, which was known as the Dominican sisters of the tertiary order. In 1696, a house was opened behind Letrán at the corner of Beaterio and Cerrada (San Juan de Letrán). That same year on 26 July Mother Francisca and others pronounced their vows in the beaterio. But hardly had the beaterio and college been opened that Abp. Diego Camacho y Ávila ordered disbanding the beaterio on the ground that the beatas did not observe strict enclosure that was demanded of religious women. The beatas were ordered to live in the Colegio de Santa Potenciana. But the Dominicans who were spiritual directors of the tertiaries prevailed upon the archbishop and the beatas agreed to live in strict enclosure as long as they were not disbanded.

In 1706, a college for girls was established and in 1716 was placed under royal patronage. By the mid-19th century it was a college of note and was converted to the Escuela Normal de Maestras. In 1863, it was authorized to offer teacher training and 1881 conferred the academic degree of maestra normal.

The college buildings were damaged in the earthquake of 1863 and 1880 but in 1883 had been rebuilt. In 1894 building was expanded, and in 1939 a story and a new façade were added. Damaged in 1941 by Japanese bombs, the buildings were no longer useful so the tertiaries moved the college to Legarda St. and the tertiaries’ convent to Sampaloc. The college building was not rebuilt after the war and San Juan de Letran acquired the school site. The Colegio de Santa Catalina thus disappeared from the maps of Intramuros.
During the post war period, the beatas were reorganized as the Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena. In 1962, the school transferred to Quezon City and is now known as Siena College (shortened from Santa Catalina de Siena).


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