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HERMANAS DE LA CARIDAD DE SANTA ANA
Calle Madre Rafols, 13
50004 Zaragoza
976 43 54 22
caridadstana.gen@confer.es
  Estás en... agenda / próximamente
jueves, 19 de octubre de 2017 
Agenda

164 DEATH ANNIVERSARY OF MOTHER MARIA RAFOLS
FECHA     30/08/2017
PAÍS     Nuevo País
Maria Rafols is a star more in that constellation of strong women, urged by love to God and to his favourite ones, the poorest and neediest of the society, who appears and shines in that Spanish XIX Century, so convulsed and agitated by conflicts and hate.

Pioner in Spain of the feminine apostolic religious life, is foundress, together with Fr. John Bonal, of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Anne.
Catalan by birth, from Vilafranca del Penedes (Barcelona), her adventure starts the 28th of December of 1804 in Zaragoza, where she aarives together with a group of twelve Sisters and twelve Brothers. Fr. John Bonal has gathered them in Barcelona to serve the sick of Our Lady of Grace Hospital, answering to the call of the Board that rules it.

They travelled by carts, from Barcelona, leaving behind their natal land and their families forever. In the evening of that 28th of December they arrive to Zaragoza. A first visit to the Pilllar, to place on the hands of Our Lady that new and risky mission. And from there, to the Hospital, that great world of pain where, under the motto Domus Infirmorum Urbis et Orbis, House of the Sick of the City and of the World, are sheltered sick, mental patients, abandoned children and every kind of poverties.

It is a complex and difficult world. Maria Rafols, Superior of the Sisterhood being 23 years old, has to face a task that seems beyond her strength: sus 23 años, tiene que enfrentarse a una tarea que parece muy superior a sus fuerzas: to put the wards in order, to clean, respect and, above all, dedication and love to those human beings, the poorest and neediest of her time.

And she did very well. The chronicles say that "with much pridence and discretion". The Brothers could not overcome the obstacle race and they dissapear after three years. The Sisters remain and increase in number. M. Rafols knows how to avoid the pitfalls with prudence, tireless charity and a heroic character that starts being visible.

She is a determined, courageous, risky woman. She went, together with some Sisters, to do an examination of phlebotomy, before the Board of the Hospital, to be able to practice the operation of the bleeding, so frequent in the medicine of her time, looking always for the best service to the sick. This, in her time and in a woman, was something almost inconceivable.

In the Sieges of Zaragoza, during the Independence War, her charity reaches highest levels, especially when the Hospital is bombarding and burning down by the French. In the midst of bullets and ruins, she exposes her life to save the sick; she begs for alms and deprives herself from her own food. And when everything is lacking in the city, she takes the risk to go to the french camp, to kneel before the General Lannes and to get from him, attention for the sick and the wounded. She attends the prisoners and even, she intercedes for them, achieving in sames cases their freedom.

From 1813, Mother Rafols appears as in charge of the Foundling Home, with the orphans or homeless children, the poorest among the poor. She will be there almost for the rest of her life, pouring out love, surrender and tenderness. It is the longest cgapter of her life, the most hidden, but no doubt the most beautiful. She will be the attentive mother of those children for whom she lost her life till her old age. Her presence becomes irreplaceable to achieve the good order and the peace in that department, one of the most difficult and delicate of the Hospital. She also follows the steps of the children who are raised outside, being the Hospital in charge of them, or given for adoption, defending them and even taking them back when she realizes that they are not cared or treated in a good way.

M. Rafols is also reached by the splatters of the first Carlist War, with a cost of two months of prison and six year of exile in the Hospital of Huesca, with the Sisterhood founded in 1807, similar to the one in Zaragoza, in spite that the sence of the judgement declared her as innocent. She followed the path of so many exiled people by the slightest hint or the most slanderous denunciation. But prison, exile, humiliation, slander, suffered with peace and without any complaint make her fully enter the group of those who Jesus calls blessed: the persecuted because of justice, the peaceful, the merciful. When she goes back, she goes simply to the Foundling Home, with the children who do not know about wars or hate, but who sense love.

She dies the 30th of August of 1853, close to be 72 years old and 49 of Sister of Charity. Her death is a reflection of her life: serenity, peace, love and gratitude to the Sisters, total surrender to the Love for Whom she has lived and spent herself without reservations, letting to her daughters the great lesson of CHARITY WITHOUT FRONTIERS, in the day to day self-giving. A Charity that does not die, which never ends.
Consulta los documentos adjuntos:
Material for the Liturgy of the day  15/08/2017 
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