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This Maronite nun prayed for suffering and became crippled


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Philip Kosloski - published on 03/04/24

St. Rafqa wanted to join in Jesus' suffering and asked God to be given such a gift. She became crippled and was blind for the rest of her life.

Very few people want suffering or seek it out, but St. Rafqa did exactly that, asking God for the gift of suffering.

Born on June 29, 1832, in Lebanon, Rafqa was urged by her relatives to marry at the age of 14, but she refused all proposals.

She felt called to spend her life dedicated to God, and one day fled to the local convent.

Through a series of events she joined what is now known as the Order of Saint Anthony of the Maronites. 

According to a Vatican biography on her life, “She was to spend the next 26 years in the monastery of St. Simon. In her observation of the rule, her devotion to prayer and silence, in her life of sacrifice and austerity, she was a role model to the other nuns.”

Furthermore, “On the first Sunday of October 1885, she entered the monastery church and began to pray, asking Jesus to permit her to experience some of the sufferingHe endured during His passion. Her prayer was immediately answered. Unbearable pains began in her head and moved to her eyes.”

The suffering she endured gradually became more intense and led to her blindness and crippled her as well.

She was grateful for the suffering and, “Her face was spared and remained shining to the end. Her hands stayed intact; and she used them to knit socks and make clothing. She thanked God for the use of her hands while also thanking Him for permitting her a share in His Son’s suffering.”

St. Rafqa died on March 23, 1914 and was canonized by St. John Paul II on June 10, 2001.

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