Skip to content

St. Rita Amada de Jesus

Short Cuts

Author and Publisher - Catholic Online

Image of St. Rita Amada de Jesus

Facts

Death: 1913

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.

Mother Rita did not reach Brazil. But God gave her great joy and peace when she received good news from her sisters working already in Brazil. She saw all this as God's work.

And with this great joy in her heart, God took her to Himself on the night of the 6th of January 1913, bathed in the reflected glory of sanctity.

Her funeral was celebrated by the Vicar General of Viseu Diocese, in her own parish. This celebration was a thanksgiving to God for what He did through Rita and with Rita's collaboration.


St. Rita Amada de Jesus Comments


More Saints






Browse Saints by Category


Popular Saints

Rank

Saint

66.

Image of St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More

Thomas More was born in London on February 7, 1478. His father, Sir John More, was a lawyer and judge who rose to prominence during the reign of Edward IV. His connections and wealth would ... continue reading

67.

Image of Sts. Joachim and Anne

Sts. Joachim and Anne

Saints Joaquin (sometimes spelled "Joachim," pronounced "wal-keem") and Anne, are the parents of the Virgin Mary. There are no mentions of them in the Bible or Gospels, what we know comes ... continue reading

68.

Image of St. Juan Diego

St. Juan Diego

Saint Juan Diego was born in 1474 as Cuauhtlatoatzin, a native to Mexico. He became the first Roman Catholic indigenous saint from the Americas. Following the early death of his father, ... continue reading

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

St. David I of Scotland

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 reading

More Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day by E-Mail

Saint of the Day newsletter icon

Learn about the lives of the saints and other saint resources, including a calendar, over 5,000 saint biographies, our most popular saints, and a list of patron saints. 7 days / week. See Sample


Required


Female Saints

Image of St. Genevieve

St. Genevieve

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 reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

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


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

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



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Alphege

St. Alphege

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

Saints Fun Facts for Bl. Alvarez of Corova

Bl. Alvarez of Corova

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



Christian Saints & Heroes

Catherine of Siena: We Need Saints for this Missionary Age

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 reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

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.