02 Aug

“[On 6th August…] the Church also celebrates the life of Blessed Francesca Rubatto. She was born in 1844 at Carmagnola, Turin, Italy. Blessed Francesca lost her father at the age of four and in her teens she received an offer of marriage from a wealthy man. However, Blessed Francesca turned the offer of marriage down and decided to make a vow of virginity instead. Her mother died when Blessed Francesca was 19 years old. Blessed Francesca decided to visit the various parishes in the city of Turin, teaching catechism to the children, visiting the sick in hospital and helped to care for the poor and neglected.

Caring for the poor and neglected

Blessed Francesca went to Loano, a seaside resort, to pray about what her next step in life should be. One morning, after Mass, she heard an injured labourer moaning and she discovered that a stone had fallen from a building that was being repaired and that it had hit him on the head. Blessed Francesca cleaned his head wound and gave him some money to live on so that he could take a few days off work to recover his health.

They took it as a sign from God

The building being repaired was to house a community of religious women and when they heard of this incident they took it as a sign from Gos that Blessed Francesca should join them and guide them in the spiritual life. This she did and enthusiastically she embraced their Franciscan life of poverty. After exhibiting great organisational skills Blessed Francesca was chosen to be the superior of the community and this led to the sisters expanding their good work to other cities in Italy, and then to Uruguay and Argentina.

The crown of martyrdom

In 1892 a request came to Blessed Francesca to start a mission in the Brazilian Rainforest. More experienced religious communities had turned this request down, but Blessed Francesca went to Brazil with some of her sisters and she lived in the Rainforest for six months. Once the mission was started Blessed Francesca travelled back to Italy. Sadly, in 1901 the news came to Blessed Francesca that the whole community in the Rainforest had been slaughtered, martyred for their Catholic Faith. Undiscouraged by this tragedy, the work of the sisters continued in South Argentina and Italy, with Blessed Francesca crossing the Atlantic Ocean seven times. Blessed Francesca died suddenly of cancer at Montevideo, Uruguay, on 6th August 1904 at the age of 59. Blessed Francesca was beatified in 1993 by Pope Saint John Paul II.

You are not capable of anything without God’s help

Blessed Francesca advised her sisters, ‘Serve the Lord joyfully, lovingly fulfil the duties entrusted to you, work tirelessly because you know how precious your work is in the sight of the Lord. And having worked hard for the glory of God whom you love so deeply, call yourself a useless servant of the Lord and be convinced of being one, because you know that you are not capable of anything without his divine help.’ This is good advised for us too; that we should serve the Lord joyfully and not to be proud and think we can do things on our own, but understand that we need to rely on God’s help.”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/2015


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