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Blessed Beatrix da Silva
Blessed Brites
Born 1424, Ceuta
Died 1 September 1490, Toledo, Spain
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified July 26, 1926, Rome by Pius IX
Canonized October 3, 1979, Rome by Paulus VI
Feast August 16

Blessed Beatrix da Silva (died September 1, 1490). In Portuguese she is known as Blessed Brites. She was a member of the house of Portalegre and descended from the royal family of Portugal.

Beatrix accompanied the Portuguese Princess Isabel to Spain, when she married John II of Castile. There Beatrix seems to have aroused the jealousy of her royal mistress and was imprisoned for three days without food. After a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom she saw attired in the blue mantle and white dress of the Conception Order which she was afterwards to found, Beatrix was allowed to retire to Toledo where she entered the Dominican Order.

There she lived forty years, being specially honoured and frequently visited by Isabella of Castile. The latter aided her to found an order in honour of the Immaculate Conception, which adopted the Franciscan Rule. It was approved by Innocent VIII in 1480 and with some modifications by Julius II in 1511. Beatrix died ten days before the solemn inauguration of her new order. She is much honoured in Spain, and there is a life of her by Bivar. (See also the "Anal. jur. pont.", III, 549.)


Saint Beatrice of Silva
Saint
Born 1424
Ceuta, Portugal
Died August 9, 1492 (aged 68)
Toledo, Spain
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified July 28, 1926 by Pope Pius XI
Canonized October 3, 1976 by Pope Paul VI
Major shrine Conception Convent at Toledo, Spain (where her body rests)
Feast 1 September

Saint Beatrice of Silva Menezes (Ceuta, Portugal, 1424 – Toledo, Spain, August 9, 1492) was a noble of Portugal, founder of the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady and saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

She was the daughter of the 1st alcalde of Campo Maior, and Isabel of Menezes, daughter of Dom Pedro de Menezes Portocarrero, 1st Count of Vila Real and 2nd Count of Viana do Alentejo, and she was sister of Blessed Amadeus of Portugal.

[[File:|thumb|left|180px|Tomb of Saint Beatrice of Silva Menezes in Toledo, Spain.]] Raised in the castle of Princess Isabella of Portugal, Beatrice of Silva went to Spain with her when Isabella married John II of Castile and became Queen of Castile and León. She was a good and close friend, as well as relative of Isabella and together they founded the Conceptionists in 1484 at Toledo, Spain. On the marriage of Princess Isabella of Portugal with King John II of Castile, Beatrice had accompanied the queen to the court of her husband, but her great beauty having aroused the jealousy of the queen, she escaped with difficulty and took refuge in the Dominican convent at Toledo. Here for forty years she led a life of holiness, without becoming a member of the Order. Inspired by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to found a new congregation in her honour, Beatrice of Silva, with some companions, took possession of a convent (the Convent of the Order of the Immaculate Conception) set apart for them by Queen Isabella I of Castile in Toledo.

In 1489, by permission of Pope Innocent VIII, the sisters adopted the Cistercian rule, bound themselves to the daily recitation of the Office of the Immaculate Conception, and were placed under obedience to the ordinary of the archdiocese. In 1501, Pope Alexander VI united this congregation with the Benedictine community of San Pedro de las Duenas, under the Rule of St. Clare, but in 1511 Julius II gave it a rule of its own, and in 1616 special constitutions were drawn up for the congregation by Cardinal Francis Quiñones. The second convent was founded in 1507 at Torrigo, from which, in turn, were established seven others. The congregation soon spread through Portugal, Spain, Italy, and France. The founder determined on the habit, which was white, with a white scapular and blue mantle.

The founder, Beatrice of Silva Menezes (sometimes cited as "Brites") (1424-90), was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1976; her feast day is 1st September.

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