Celebrating Saint Maria Josefa of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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by Patricia Mathson

Celebrating Saint Maria Josefa of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Person of Compassion

Feast Day: March 22

[CLICK HERE] for a Saint Page about St. Maria Josefa that your students can take home to share with their families.

Maria Josefa was a person of compassion; she dedicated her life to caring for people who were sick. She wanted to help them deal with the challenges of being ill at home and in the hospital.

Loved Others

Maria Josefa was born in Spain in 1842. Her father died when she was a young child. Later, her mother sent her to live with relatives so she could get an education. When she was 18 years old, Maria felt called to enter a religious order. Maria lived the command of Jesus to love others.

Cared for the Sick

In 1871, Maria Josefa founded a religious order devoted to caring for the sick. She called it the Servants of Jesus of Charity. She asked all the sisters in her order to care for people who were sick beyond physical needs. The order spread, and Sister Maria Josefa visited all the communities.

Became Ill Herself

Sister Maria Josefa eventually became ill herself and could no longer travel. She did not become discouraged, though. She kept in touch with the sisters of her order by writing letters. Her example reminds us to not give up when things do not go as we planned, but to find another way. Saint Maria Josefa was canonized in 2000. Her order still serves those who are sick and elderly and children in 16 countries.

What Can We Do?

* Let’s talk about Saint Maria Josefa. Who did she help? Why is it important to pray for the sick? What did Sister Maria Josefa do when she became sick? What can we do when life is difficult? Who do the sisters of her order help today? How can we help the sick?

* Let’s act out a Bible story. We can read Luke 5:17-26 about Jesus curing a man who couldn’t walk. Then we can role-play the story as it is read from the Bible.

*Let’s pray for those who are sick, including people in the hospital, those who are seriously ill, people who are mentally and emotionally ill, people who struggle with loss of memory, people who are undergoing medical tests, people who have cancer, and people who are facing surgery.


Awesome God, you love us with an everlasting love. Enable us to share that love with others like St. Maria Josefa did. Open our hearts to the needs of people who are sick in our world today.  Amen.

Patricia Mathson has many years of experience in faith formation as a DRE and holds a MRE degree from the University of Dallas. She is the children’s ministry coordinator at Hope Family Center in Des Moines, IA. She is the author of many books including Plant the Seed: Sharing the Gospel with Children (Liguori Publications).

Copyright 2013, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.

This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, June 2013.

Image Credit: Shutter Stock 544541167

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