Saint Raphaela Mary, Our Foundress
St. Rapahela Mary Porras : Raphaela Mary Porras Y Ayllon is a gift to the world. She was born in Pedro Abad, Spain, on 1st March, 1850, into a profoundly Christian family.
Today, we celebrate her life with immense joy and gratitude. Without claiming to be a Foundress, she began a work which is still today, in many parts of the world, putting the grace which she received at the service of the people of God. In 1875, she entered the Novitiate of the Society of Mary Reparatrix, together with her sister Pillar. The time spent there made a deep impression on their lives and was a preparation for God’s plan over them. Generously open to this design of God, they welcomed it with love and fidelity and in 1877 founded the Institute of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Raphaela Mary was a woman of single love. Christ in the Eucharist was the centre of her existence; she lived in profound communion with him, entering into his plan of universal reconciliation. She spent many hours of her life in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, allowing herself to be transformed by him, so that the world become converted for her into a great temple, where she worshiped the Lord of History in spirit and truth. The Eucharist dynamism led her to create communities founded on union with Jesus and the joy of serving Him. She loved her sisters tenderly, and never faltered in giving everything to build communion among them. With her passion for the interest of Christ’s heart, she was determined that His saving and reparative love should reach everyone, the whole humanity.
So from the very first moment, whole of she wanted her Institute to be dedicated to education on the service of the Gospel, and to be “universal like the church”, always giving preference to the poor and simple. While she was guiding the institute, she based her government on love and respect for the sisters, and on faithfulness to the mission received. Then, during the long years of hidden life in Rome, identified with Christ on the cross, she passed on the living spirit of her total gift of self, a genuine: Handmaid of the Lord: free, humble, valiant and dedicated. She died in Rome in the 6th of January, 1925. On the 23rd of January, 1977, before the whole world, Paul VI proclaimed that this woman lived the Gospel with all its consequences. From then on, we invoke her as St. Raphaela Mary of the Sacred Heart from whom we draw inspiration to live our Religious vocation.