Bl. Rita Amada de Jesus Biography
Bl. Rita Amada de Jesus Biography, Feast Day, Date of Birth, Country of Birth, Profession, Place of Work, Date of Death, Place of Death, Beatification Date, Canonization Date
|Date of Birth||5 March 1848|
|Country of Birth||Portugal of Europe|
|Matrimony/Holy Orders||Blesseds who were Not Married|
|Place of Work||Portugal|
|Date of Death||6 January 1913|
|Place of Death||Viseu, Portugal|
|Feast Day||January 6|
|Beatification||Beatified by Pope Benedict XV on 8 May 2006|
|Canonization||Canonized by N/A|
|Patron Saint of|
Blessed Rita Amada de Jesus was born on March 5, 1848, at Casalmedinho, Ribafeita, diocese of Viseu, Portugal. She was the fourth of five children of Manuel Lopes and Josefa de Jesus Almeida. She grew up in very pious surroundings. Her family prayed for the Rosary and had a spiritual reading every night.
From childhood, Rita showed great devotion to Jesus in the Holy Sacrament, Our Lady, St. Joseph, and also a great love for the Pope. Despite the religious persecution, Rita began to go from place to place, from parish to parish, to pray and teach how to pray the rosary. She invited Christians to follow the Virgin Mary, thus becoming the Apostle of the Rosary.
Making a Difference
Through this apostolate, she met people who changed their lives for the better. But there were many others who instead became her enemies and who even threatened her life. Rita developed a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a great desire to save souls.
Rita devoted much time to prayer and often visited the Benedictine sisters in Viseu, about fifteen kilometers from her parish. They equipped her with various boot tools.
At age 29 she joined the only religious institute still functioning in Portugal, the Sisters of Charityat Oporto, but did not find it fulfilling, and left. She felt a call to care for single mothers and their children, and with the help of a wealthy noble family in her home town, she obtained a house to start the work.
On 24 September 1880, she founded the Sisters of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to help with this ministry. Rita started a school for poor children in her parish and soon opened several more across the country, staffed by the Sisters. Local authorities, hostile to Church, opposed the schools and demanded that they close.
In 1910, rebels drove out the monarchy, established a republic, and began coordinated persecution of the Church and seized the church. Rita, some of her sisters, and some children in their care disguised themselves as gypsies and moved back with her parents for safety. Her old home became her new base of operations; she gathered her scattered sisters. Rita taught local children in the house. Nearly all of her group went to Brazil, she did not go to Brazil, but God gave her great joy and peace when she received good news from the sisters who were already working in Brazil. She saw all this as God’s work.
In 1914, the institute’s general house was transferred to São Paulo, Brazil. In 1934, a group of sisters returned to Portugal and founded a province of the institute. Today, the sisters are also present in Angola, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Mozambique.
On the evening of January 6, 1913, she died in Casalmedinho, Ribafeita, diocese of Viseu, Portugal of natural causes. Her funeral was celebrated by the vicar in the Viseu diocese, in her own parish.
Pope John Paul II venerated Bl. Rita Amada on December 20, 2003.