Youngest of six children. By the age of eight, both her parents and four of her siblings had died. A child homemaker for her older brother, Genovena grew up a quiet child, accustomed to solitude. She took an interest in spiritual reading around age ten, and early understood that the purpose of all life is to follow God. When she was 13, her left leg became gangrenous and had to be amputated; there was no anesthesia for the operation, it never properly healed, and she was on crutches the rest of her life.
From 1885 to 1894 she lived at the Mercy Home run by the Carmelites of Charity, healing, learning to sew, and deepening her spiritual life. She wanted to join these sisters, but her health was not good enough. In 1894 she moved in with two other lay women who supported themselves and each other, living a poor but prayerful life. The desire to help poor women grew in Genoveva, and in 1911 Canon Barbarrós suggested she start a religious community for just such a mission. Shea established the first community of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels (Angélicas) in Valencia, Spain; they would receive papal approval in 1953. It immediately attracted many women, both those needing help, and those wanting to help, and other communities were formed around Spain. Genoveva spent the rest of her life working for these communities, overcoming her physical and health problems, and even tougher, her own desire for quiet solitude.
I loved freedom of heart very much, and worked and am working to achieve it fully. It does the soul so much good that every effort is nothing compared with this free condition of the heart. – Saint Genoveva
Even if I must suffer greatly, thanks be to God’s mercy, I will not lack courage. – Saint Genoveva
Saint Genoveva Torres was an instrument of God’s tender love for lonely people in need of love, comfort and physical and spiritual care. The characteristic note that fuelled her spirituality was adoration of the Eucharist for the expiation of sins, which formed the basis of an apostolate full of humility and simplicity, of self-denial and charity. – Pope John Paul II in his homily at the canonization of Saint Genoveva
- “Saint Genoveva Torres Morales“. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 January 2017. Web. 24 February 2017. <>