NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church. This ministry - my "little work" - is strictly a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter

Monday, December 1, 2014

Saint of the Month - December 2014: Blessed Eugenia Ravasco

Bl. Eugenia Ravasco
An Apostle of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary ~ Memorial: December 30th

Madre Eugenia was born in Milan, Italy, on January 4, 1845; the third child out of six.  Her Mother died when she was only three, and because her father was frequently away due to his work, she was raised by one of her aunts. This proved to be providential as this particular relative was very devout and her pious example was a great influence on her little niece. Despite the anti-clerical times they were living in, Eugenia grew up in a loving Christian household that was deeply rooted in its Catholic Faith - a faith which the family was not afraid to openly practice.

A woman whose special charism was to
serve God through Christian education
In 1852, Eugenia was reunited with her father and siblings in Genoa.  After her father died just three years later, she came under the care of his brother, who also proved to be a responsible and conscientious Catholic. Her uncle's worthy example helped Eugenia to further strengthen her budding spirituality.

After her uncle died in 1862, Eugenia took charge of his large household. The home was generally peaceful until one of her brothers, Ambrose, became a subscriber of anti-clerical ideologies and began disrupting the family's pious home life. At about the same time, Eugenia's relatives also started pressuring her to marry, although deep in her heart, she believed herself called by the Lord to serve him in a special way.

After going through a period of enlightenment and intense discernment, the young maiden began catechizing and assisting poor young girls who were out on the streets. Eugenia wanted to ensure that these unfortunate girls did not end up following a godless path similar to what her own brother had ended up on due to their lack of Christian education; her goal, according to her own words, was to "form honest citizens in society and Saints in Heaven".

Other young women were attracted by Eugenia's charism and joined her in the work she did, which snowballed into a full-time ministry.  The courageous band of women opened schools and also reached out to the sick and the dying, and even to prisoners despite the scorn they received from anti-faith groups. But the little work persevered and quickly evolved into the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the congregation which the 23-year-old Eugenia officially established in December 1868 with the support of her bishop. The new congregation was recognized by the Church in the year 1909.

A 1st Class Relic of Bl. Eugenia in the
custody of my Guadalupe House ministry.
For the rest of her life Mother Eugenia served her congregation as its first Superior and traveled extensively to promote the work, which began in such humble and difficult circumstances. Under her capable leadership and tireless efforts, her Sisters spread outside of Italy to other countries such as Switzerland, Africa, Philippines, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela. The Sisters opened schools for the poor, as well as cooperated with existing schools and parishes in improving the lives of the communities in which they served.

This saintly woman's fruitful life of service ended with her death in 1900, nine years before her congregation received official Church recognition. However, Bl. Eugenia's legacy continues and her sanctity was confirmed, via her Beatification in April of 2003.  Please join me in praying for her speedy Canonization.

A Reflection
We can help form badly needed future Saints in this world simply by being examples of Faith and other Virtues to our youth.

A Short Prayer
Dear Bl. Eugenia, pray for us that we may be examples of goodness for all the young people who are close to us in our daily lives.  Amen.

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