The Institute grows under her leadership

On July 1, 1879, the sisters are handed the keys to the Obelisk house. Rafaela is 29 years old. 

On June 9, 1892, Mother Sacred Heart leaves for Rome; She is 42 years old. 

Thirteen years have passed.

During those years, Rafaela led the Institute, although she never claimed to be a foundress. In the house on Obelisk St she was the Mistress of Novices, a "heart that forms hearts." May and diverse events transpired: the Statutes of the Institute were written, the Decretum Laudis (24.1.1886) was issued, the Institute received pontifical approval (29.1.1887), the Constitutions were approved. Rafaela and Pilar made their perpetual profession (Raphaela, in 1888 and Pilar, a year later). During those years, new houses were established and the Institute grew: branching out to Córdoba, Jerez, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Coruña, Cádiz, San Bernardo ...

Those were years of joy and of suffering. On the one hand, a spirit of union, enthusiasm, courage and determination reigned… it was the beginning of the expansion of the Institute, not without difficulties, but with a great sense of hope and God’s providence. 

Raphaela guided and grew the Institute during these tender years of searching and new initiatives, in which the joy, enthusiasm and newness coexisted with difficulties, friction, conflicts…

Rafaela often spoke of how little she liked the "effeminate spirit" of the time. In the language of her day, she praises a solid, virile spirit, not cuddly or soft ... She speaks of a "serious life in the spirit," and of "refining the soul" ...

In some of what she says to the first sisters, in letters written from her work table, in the silence and reflection of her room, we can glimpse the certainties which she held in her heart:

"Let us increase our fervor in each moment," (July 1881)

“Let us love our Jesus with solidity; we will do miracles if that is what he wishes.” (May 1883)

"That which is beloved is not heavy." (September 1883)

"To act so that others around us may live happily, this is true charity" (May 1882)

She was often frank, but her honest words were full of affection:

 "You have a heart smaller than a goldfinch"  she wrote to one sister in August 1885

And called another to be "... constantly faithful, even with grains of sand" (March 1895)

She believed firmly that "For each little action,one more degree of grace and one more degree of glory" was achieved from and for God (November 1897)

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. [...] Remain in my love.   (Jn 15, 16, 9b)

In notes from one of her Spiritual Exercises, Rafaela recounts: "I felt Jesus within me, giving life to my soul and anointing my spirit." 

And me, am I aware of his indwelling presence? Do I remain in his love?

Prayer to Saint Raphaela Mary

Rafaela ... We unite our prayer to yours. We want to make your words our own and speak them to Jesus together with you. Help us to live like you did and may we feel Jesuss nearness to us...

“All for You, Jesus of my heart, in time and in eternity. 

Never separate me from You, Jesus of my heart […] 

Make me solidly virtuous and enlighten me, Jesus of my soul… for you alone are my protection and my strength, my loving Father […] 

I trust in your excessive goodness… it will not leave me wanting. 

I ask you, Jesus of my heart, that you look at me with that divine fire ... and that you burn up in me all stains, all imperfections, all blindness, all darkness, 

and fill me with divine light, with that light that pours out of your most merciful center, so that I may become perfect and can give you much glory.”