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Holy Week Feature: Beata y Pupila / Religious Woman and Pupil

In Manila and the surrounding towns, there are many beaterios founded through Christian charity and funded by it, whose main mission is to educate and house girls in order to teach them womanly duties and provide them some formation. The beaterio of Sta. Rosa, to which the beata and pupil represented in this page belong, was established in 1750 particularly for the education of girls by Mother Paula dela Santisima Trinidad who was born in Cataluña.

In 1774, the King ordered its establishment, and under his protection, committed it to be registered in his name at the Regente de la Audiencia. It does not have fixed number of students, and its upkeep comes from the produce of their manual work and from the short training courses that some of the girls pay for, as well as from the alms given to them.

All the beatas and pupils of the various beaterios wear the same costume although the clothes of the beatas vary according to the order or institute to which they belong. They seldom go out of their beaterios, and if they do, generally, it is to go to the church. The clothes of the beatas are similar to those worn by nuns. The students or pupils, aside from their saya, also wear a cloak, which is not as open as what is shown in the drawing. They hold the cloak with one hand under their chin to leave only a small opening through which to look, so that it is difficult to see their faces when they are in the streets. However, the beaterio allows entry to people familiar to them, and only at determined hours under special circumstances.

Image: Collage by Lopez Museum and Library
Text from Jose Honorato Lozano: Filipinas 1847 by Jose Maria A. Cariño

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