The apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Saint Beatrice da Silva
Beatrice was raised in the castle of Infante John, Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz. In 1447 Beatrice accompanied his daughter, Princess Isabel of Portugal, to Castile as her lady-in-waiting when Isabel left to marry King John II of Castile and became Queen of Castile and León. Beatrice was her good and close friend, (and later was to receive her support when she founded the Conceptionists). Soon, however, her great beauty began to arouse the irrational jealousy of the Queen, who had her imprisoned in a tiny cell. During this incarceration, Beatrice experienced an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which she was instructed to found a new Order in Mary's honor.
Beatrice finally escaped her imprisonment with difficulty and took refuge in the Dominican Second Order monastery of nuns in Toledo. Here she led a life of holiness for forty years, without becoming a member of that Order. In 1484 Beatrice, with some companions, took possession of a monastery in Toledo (still the motherhouse of the Order) set apart for them by Queen Isabel for the new community, which was to be dedicated to honoring the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Beatrice de Menezes da Silva was Beatified on 28 July 1926 by Pope Pius XI and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1976. Her feast day is celebrated on 1 September, observed both by the Conceptionist nuns and the Franciscan Order.