Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Short Cuts

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

90.

Image of St. Dominic Savio

St. Dominic Savio

St. Dominic Savio was born in Italy in 1842. One day when he was just four, he disappeared and his good mother went looking for him. She found the little fellow in a corner praying with his ... continue reading

91.

Image of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

With the lives of so many early martyrs shrouded in legend, we are fortunate to have the record of the courage of Perpetua and Felicity from the hand of Perpetua herself, her teacher ... continue reading

92.

Image of St. Christina

St. Christina

St. Christina was the daughter of a rich and powerful magistrate named Urbain. Her father, who was deep in the practices of heathenism, had a number of golden idols, which our saint ... continue reading

All Popular Saints

Saint of the Day

Image of St. Olympias

St. Olympias

Olympias born into a wealthy noble Constantinople family. She was orphaned when a child and was given over to the care of Theodosia by her uncle, the prefect Procopius. She married Nebridius, also a ... 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. Jessica

St. Jessica

Jessica is a derivation of Joanna. Joanna was the wife of Chuza, steward of King Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. She was one of the women who helped provide for Jesus and the Apostles and was one of the three women who discovered the empty tomb of Jesus on the ... continue reading

More Female Saints



Saint Calendar
Saint Feast Days
Saint Fun Facts

Angels

Image of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel - Feast day - September 29th The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the warcry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief ... continue reading


Image of St. Gabriel, the Archangel

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the ... continue reading



Saints Fun Facts

Saints Fun Facts for St. Paul Miki

St. Paul Miki

Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. He was born at Tounucumada, Japan, was educated at the Jesuit college of Anziquiama, joined the Jesuits in 1580, and became known for his eloquent ... continue reading

Saints Fun Facts for St. Peter Thomas

St. Peter Thomas

Carmelite Latinpatriarch and papal legate. Peter was born in Gascony, France and joined the Carmelites while still a young man. In 1342 he was appointed procurator of the order and, from Avignon, he ... continue reading



Christian Saints & Heroes

Image of St. Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila: Virgin and Doctor of Prayer

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

St. Teresa's whole life is one of simple beauty and fervent purpose; it is a life contained in Christ. She shows us how to live the same way through Prayer.On reading from St. Teresa, a deep feeling of her love for His Majesty envelops us; we begin, in a very real, ... continue reading

More Christian Saints & Heroes


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 49:2, 8-10
2 Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen; listen to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:3-4, 7-8, 17
3 Mountains and hills, bring peace to the people! ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 1:1-17
1 Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 17th, 2014 Image

St. Olympias
December 17: Olympias born into a wealthy noble Constantinople family. She ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter