Religious and Founder (1781-1853)
+ Maria was born in Vilafranca del Penedès, Spain.
+ After completing her education, she became part of a group of young women serving at Our Lady of Grace Hospital in Zaragoza, Spain. The women served the most marginalized patients, including the mentally ill, abandoned children, and the physically disabled. In time, they formed a new religious community: the Sisters of Charity of St. Anne.
+ Maria was elected superior, although she was only 23 years old.
+ During the Napoleonic wars, Maria worked in the bombed-out ruins of the hospital to continue caring for the sick and children and ventured into the French camp to plead for help for the sick and wounded.
+ The members of the community were allowed to make public vows in 1825 and Maria spent the remainder of her life supporting the works of her community and seeking their canonical approval.
+ Blessed Maria Rafols Bruna died on August 30, 1853, and was beatified in 1994.
For prayer and reflection
“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”—John 13:35
On this day the Church also remembers Saint Fiacre. An Irish hermit who later settled in France, Fiacre died in 670 and is honored as the patron saint of gardeners.
O God, who have taught your Church to keep all the heavenly commandments by love of you as God and love of neighbor; grant that, practicing the works of charity after the example of blessed Maria, we may be worthy to be numbered among the blessed in your Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Those Who Practiced Works of Mercy)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.