Above: St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra
Image in the Public Domain
SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA (SEPTEMBER 7, 1842-MARCH 20, 1912)
Foundress of the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus
Also known as Saint Maria Josefa of the Heart of Mary and Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus
Piety seems natural for some people. Consider, O reader, the case of St. Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra, born at Vitoria, in the Basque region of Spain, on September 7, 1842.
She spent most of her life helping children, elderly people, the sick, the elderly, and the abandoned. Our saint, aware of their needs from her youth, lost her father to death when she was seven years old. She spent the next eleven years with relatives in Madrid before joining the Institute of the Servants of Mary. The new nun, was 18 years old. The newly minted Maria Josefa of the Heart of Mary had joined a new order, one founded in 1851 and devoted to
the practice of charity through the diligent and gratuitous care of the sick, preferably in their own homes.
St. Maria Josefa, who had a devotion to the Eucharist and to St. Mary of Nazareth, entered into a process of spiritual discernment with St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) and St. Maria Soledad (1826-1887), Mother Superior of the order. Our saint discerned a vocation to found a new order, the Congregation of the Servants of Jesus, which she did at Bilbao in 1871, with four other Servants of Mary. St. Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus, as she began to call herself, led the order. When she died at age 69 on March 20, 1912, the order had 43 houses and more than 1000 sisters.
The order continues to serve Christ in the poor and the sick.
Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1989. He beatified her three years later and canonized her in 2000.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JANUARY 21, 2017 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS MIROCLES OF MILAN AND EPIPHANIUS OF PAVIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS
THE FEAST OF SAINTS ALBAN ROE AND THOMAS REYNOLDS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS
THE FEAST OF SAINT GASPAR DEL BUFALO, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARIES OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN YI YON-ON, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN KOREA
O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:
Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,
inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Maria Josefa Sancho de Guerra,
may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Song of Songs 8:6-7
Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62
–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722