This film is about a community of native women in 17th century colonial Philippines and how they struggle to attain religious freedom during the past three hundred years.
The founder of this community is Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, a Chinese mestiza from Binondo. Against the will of the King of Spain and with little support from church authorities, these women stand for what they believe in and defy any attempts to stifle their desire to serve God.
The religious community that forms inside the beaterio (native convent) is remarkable for the composition of its members. Only native yndias and mestizas comprise the community at the time when native women are denied of education, political power, and a chance to be equal with men in the Hispanized society. Despite wars, revolutions, and suppression brought about by a patriarchal society, the beaterio movement flourishes until the present time when the religious community takes the form of the “Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary” (RVM). As the film traces three centuries of the beaterio’s history, one can also see reflected in it the history of the Filipino nation in its struggle to attain freedom, equality, and dignity for native Filipinos.