SAINT RAPHAELA MARY

“We must remain in God, and receive everything from Him.”

“My Lord Jesus Christ is living in me, and so my entire being and all I do should reflect the life of Christ who lives in me… I must work to draw everyone to know Christ and to serve Him.’

Raphaela Mary kept her gaze on the Heart of Jesus, and He made her meek and humble.

Only in Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus, my entire life and my whole heart forever.”

Contemplating the world, she saw all men and women as children of God, and she wanted all to experience the love of God in their lives.

These words of Raphaela Mary sum up her entire life.

Raphaela Mary Porras Ayllón was born on 1st March, 1850  in Pedro Abad, a small village in the province of Cordoba (Spain) to a well-to-do family. She grew up in a home where – as in so many others – feasting, noise, joy, and laughter coexisted with endurance, serenity, suffering and the acceptance of difficult situations; there work, effort, and necessity were intertwined with relaxation, tranquility and tenderness.

When her mother died, she and her sister Dolores decided that their world would no longer revolve around them. That world of poverty – which surrounded them and needed them – entered their lives.  The year was 1874, when they began their first steps in religious life, which would lead them to found the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart.

Raphaela Mary’s life would be full – in quantity and in quality. After putting down deep roots, solid foundations… her work would spread out like strong wings in space and time, while at the same time remaining on firm ground. She knew that she was a member of a very large family, the family of all the children of God, and throughout her entire life, nothing that affected these brothers and sisters of hers would seem irrelevant to her; she would do everything in her power that all might “know and love Him.”

She died in Rome on 6th January of 1925. After having traversed many roads, she has left us with a colorful landscape… in moments full of “sparks,” of color, of vivacity; yet there is also pain, suffering, and a monotony which must be contemplated in order to be fully appreciated. From there come these snippets that will inspire us to go further into her life:

“I belong completely to God. I know by experience how much He loves me and looks out for me. I place myself into the hands of my God with complete confidence, like a daughter in the arms of her mother. Seeing how small I am puts me in my element because I see all that God does in me and in whatever pertains to me, which is what I want.”

She believed that communion is the true way to the Kingdom, and she became, like Jesus, bread and wine even to the point of giving her life.

Raphaela Mary allowed herself to be “snared” by the love of God; she could not do otherwise than to respond with all her love at every moment.