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Birth: 1842

Death: 1916


On the day of her First Holy Communion at the age of ten, Tomasa Ortiz Real, of Bocairente, Spain, began to long for religious life. After completing her schooling, Tomasa, in deference to her father’s wishes, delayed her plans to enter a convent, and at home devoted herself to prayer and assisting the needy. While praying, she experienced a mystical revelation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that inspired her to found a new religious congregation. Her initial efforts to form a community with other young women were thwarted by dissension among her companions, so that all but one deserted her. Tomasa’s bishop thereupon invited her to make a month-long retreat at a Salesian convent. This inspired Tomasa to found the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, dedicated to orphans, the ill, and the elderly. Having taken the name Piety of the Cross, she imparted to her congregation the purpose of making known to those under the sisters’ care “the Father’s providential love as it is manifested in the merciful Heart of Jesus on the cross.” Mother Piety died on February 26, 1916.


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