A deep and serene gaze upon life makes it easier to live the events and experiences that will come from the heart... and to notice the signs of God’s presence there. God walked before Raphaela and Dolores. They were convinced of his presence in everything they experienced and he illuminated the eyes of their soul to see and understand in the depths …

There were some events that marked their lives in especially profound ways: the death of their mother and of their brother Enrique were among these. In a way, these events prepared them and instructed in the way of dispossession, of not grasping or clinging to anything but Christ. They learned to live with open hands and hearts before God and others and, following Christ in the Church, poured themselves into prayer and service to those most in need.

On February 13, 1874, they left their town definitively and went to the convent of the Poor Clares of Santa Cruz to discern their vocation. The diocese of Cordoba offered them two different paths: one led to a boarding school run by the Salesian Sisters, and their invitation to "be the last.” The other was a new mission with the Society of Mary Reparatrix ... At this juncture they again said “yes”; the total gift of their lives and of their goods was constant as they walked deeper into their vocation.

On March 1, 1875, they began their religious life in their own house that gave rise to the new convent. There, within 19 months, together with other young women -some hailing from wealthy families and others who had been servants- they learned what it meant to live the vows and about life in community, all within the spirituality of Saint Ignatius. It was a new Institute, not subject to the traditional cloister but rather with an apostolic purpose in the service of the universal Church.

Difficulties arose and the Reparitrix Sisters left. The group of young women continued to seek to respond to God's will for them. Raphaela was chosen to lead the group, while Dolores also played a key role.

When the diocesan Church wanted to modify important features of the fledgling Institute, the young sisters respectfully but firmly held their ground. Among them there was a unanimous understanding: their Rules were those of Saint Ignatius and they did not want to give that up, because they felt that that was what God was calling them to.

When the bishop insisted, they agreed to seek out a place where they could live out what they felt God was calling them to. Fearless, brave, and guided by the constant and discerned response to God’s invitation, those 14 young women set out secretly one night bound for Andújar and taking refuge in the Hospital of the Daughters of Charity. Dolores and another sister stayed behind and faced the Bishop’s questions and exasperation when he discovered that they had left the house of San Roque. The sisters’ trust was in the Lord and that sustained and strengthened them during those uncertain and challenging early days.

“Let us thank him very much for his goodness and let us surrender ourselves without reserve to him, who will facilitate everything. What happiness is experienced in their service! Isn’t it true? […] I find myself with great courage and strength, because I have put my trust in the Lord, that he will always help us because we do not want anything other than his honor and glory […] A thousand thanks to our good Jesus, who favors us so much and he never wants us to suffer without giving us much greater comfort at the same time. Blessed may he be for everything […] We are all very happy and we feel that we are very blessed. We are no longer in the hospital; we live in a quite capable and very cheerful house, and we are able to follow most of our rules. And above all there is a spirit of union that is admirable […] we give ourselves entirely to Him so that He can do what He wants without encountering obstacles. […] Courage, my dear, let us serve our Lord perfectly […] let us trust entirely in his divine goodness; May he do with us as much as he wants and how he wants, without putting up obstacles ... Let us trust in our good Jesus and have no fear.’     (From her first letters)

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. (Jn 1:38,39)

God offers us a way, and accompanies us on it. He invites us to walk humbly with him, to take care of this most important relationship of love. How do you live and take care of his call to let yourself be made and loved by him -your potter- and from there, to be a channel of his love for your brothers and sisters, for those who most need to know and to feel his love?

Prayer to Saint Raphaela Mary

Rafaela María, you lived all the “vicissitudes” that life presented to you with a profound gaze. Teach us to look from within, from God, upon all the events of our lives.

You knew how to listen for the movement of God in each event. Help us to be attentive to and grateful for his passage through our lives.


You allowed yourself to be filled with the love of God. Only from there did you know how to live. Enlighten us so that we know how to let His love surprise us in the depths of our being.

Jesus was your great treasure, your great love, and living -always- at his service was your daily disposition. Join us on our journey of life, and help us to be faithful and attentive to his calls in our day to day life.