St. Rita Amada de Jesus
Author and Publisher - Catholic Online
This outstanding woman, was born on 5th March, 1848, in Ribafeita, a small village - Viseu Diocese - Portugal. She was daughter of Manuel Lopes and Josefa de Jesus Almeida. A few days later, she became daughter of God, receiving the name of Rita, through baptism. She grew in a very devout environment. Her family, prayed the holy rosary and had spiritual reading every evening.
Call, Charism, Spirituality and Mission.
From her childhood she showed a great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady, St. Joseph, and a great love for the Pope as well. In fact, at this time of history, the Pope was facing many problems and was even on the verge of being exiled.
In 1830's Masonry expropriated all the Church properties in Portugal, and ordered the closing of all male and female religious houses. Religious Institutes were forbidden to admit new members, so that in due time they could vanish. Furthermore, some bishops and priests, being from noble families, were very much attacked. Thus, they could not dedicate themselves wholly to the fulfillment of their priestly duties.
Rita's family felt a great desire to live an authentic Christian life, and God rewarded them by giving Rita a missionary call: to free the youth from religious indifferentism and immorality, through the family apostolate.
In spite of the religious persecution, she started to go from place to place, from parish to parish, to pray and teach how to pray the rosary; to invite christians to imitate the Virgin Mary, becoming thus the Apostle of the Rosary. Doing this kind of apostolate she met people who did not lead exemplary lives. She did all what she could to help them and implored the Lord to enable them to live better lives, and to guide them. Fortunately, many women and men changed their lives, and asked to receive the sacraments. But, on the other hand, many others were not happy and became her enemies who even threatened her to death.
When she was still at home with her parents, Rita dedicated much time to prayer and penance, in order to discern what the Lord wanted from her, and to have the courage to realize it.. She often visited the Benedictine Sisters, at Viseu City, about 15 kilometers from her parish. They provided her with various means of mortification. With her Confessor's help she saw that Our Lord was calling her to the religious life. At this time the entry to any religious institute was forbidden.
Rita continued her apostolate, with the hope that one day she could officially consecrate her life to God. She rejected the young men who befriended her. She felt that she belonged to God already. As she often would repeat: "I belong to someone else".
Her spiritual life was characterized by eucharistic reparation and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She had a great desire to save many souls. She also involved all her family in the apostolate. Frequently, needy women were lodged in their house as long as it was necessary. Rita became an authentic missionary and apostle pro the family.
Foundress of the "Jesus, Mary and Joseph' Sisters"
At the age of twenty her desire to consecrate herself to God, grew stronger, but she could not fulfill her desire at that age, due to the political situation and waited for the Lord`s time. She confided everything to her parents, who were not willing to accept her decision, because she was their favourite daughter. But Rita firmly believed that it was better to obey God than men, and at last she was admitted at the age of 29, in the only religious institute that was functioning at that time. It was a non-Portuguese Institute - Sisters of Charity, in the city of Oporto. All the local institutes had been expelled from Portugal.
But she was disappointed with the Institute's spirit and charism. It could not just meet her expectations. Thus, she did not remain there. In agreement with her spiritual director, P. Francisco Pereira, S J, she accepted economic help from a noble family. At this moment she prepared herself to initiate courageously what God was asking from her: to gather children from single mothers and to educate them. She was offered a house for this work by that noble family.
God bestowed upon Rita many gifts, particularly that of piety. She allowed herself to be guided by her spiritual director and at 32 years of age, having conquered all the obstacles posed by the political system, succeeded to found a new religious institute on 24 September, 1880, known as JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH' SISTERS, with the spirituality of the Holy Family of Nazareth. At the same time she opened a poor children's school in her own parish, and shortly after she enlarged her activities to other dioceses in the country.
All this was accompanied by many problems, caused by the local authorities, which often demanded the closing of such institutions. These reached their climax when republicans succeeded to vanish the Monarchy and to establish a Republic in 1910. Unfortunately, at this moment a religious persecution against the Church broke out. The government expropriated all Church property. All the foreign Institutes left Portugal.
Mother Rita took refuge together with some of her sisters and some children, in her parents' house. They escaped disguised as gypsies and continued to dress as such, till it was needed.
Rita's death bathed in the reflected glory of Sanctity.
For a period of three years they enjoyed a relative peace. She was able to gather at her parents's home the sisters that had been scattered. Furthermore, during this time, she was inspired to send small groups of sisters to Brazil, where they could continue to live their ideal of educating poor children. This move spared the Institute from coming to an end.
Saint Feast Days by Month
David, the youngest son of Scotland's virtuous queen, (Saint) Margaret, succeeded his brother to the Scottish throne in 1124. David's friend, (Saint) Aelred, abbot of the English monastery of ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
St. Genevieve was a fair and courageous peasant girl who was born around 422 in Nanterre, France, to a man named Severus and a woman named Gerontia. When Genevieve was only seven-years-old, St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre visited Nanterre on his way to Britain. While ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading
Bishop and prophet, called "the Elder" or "the Bald." Also known as Elphege, he was the bishop of Winchester, England. There he ordained St. Dunstan. A holy prophet, Alphege is credited with helping to restore monasticism to England. continue reading
Alvarez was born in either Lisbon, Portugal, or Cordova, Spain. He entered the Dominican convent at Cordova in 1368. He became known for his preaching prowess in Spain and Italy, was confessor and adviser of Queen Catherine, John of Gaunt's daughter, and tutor of King ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Father, raise up women like Catherine of Siena for this new missionary age of your Church. Women who are so in love with you, and so conformed to the Image of your Son, they can do for your Church in this hour, what she did in her own. Saints are a gift for the ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes
by Catholic Online
- Bomb explodes during Ariana Grande concert full of young fans HD Video
- How bad is religious freedom in the U.S.? Supreme Court Justice Alito ...
- A message from Heaven: God is the only way to peace
- St. David I of Scotland: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, May 24, 2017
- Which unique characteristic lies within Pope Francis' new cardinals?
- Daily Reading for Thursday, May 25th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 24, 2017
- St. John Baptist de Rossi HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 HD
- Fatima apparitions to be featured in dramatic new film HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.