Posts tagged ‘Saints who were Nurses’

Blessed José Ollalo Valdés

the beatification portrait of Blessed José Ollalo ValdésAlso known as

  • Poor People’s Priest (though he wasn’t a priest)

Memorial

Profile

José was abandoned as an infant at the age of one month at the Saint Joseph orphanage in Havana, Cuba; he had a note which had his birthdate and the statement that he had not been baptized. The orphanage baptized him 2 days later, and he lived there till he was 7 years old when he was transferred to the Benefencia orphanage, also in Havana.

In 1834 joined the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, finishing his novitiate in April 1835, and assigned to work at the Brothers hospital in Puerto Príncipe (modern Camagüey, Cuba); he worked there as a nurse for the rest of his life. Appointed head nurse of the hospitals in 1845. Chosen prior of the Brothers in Camagüey. The Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba recommended that he enter the priesthood, but Brother José declined as he would not longer be able to continue his work in the hospital. He cared for people during cholera epidemics, and treated the wounded to both sides in the Ten Years War in Cuba from 1868 to 1878; he was able to prevent a massacre of civilians ordered by the Spanish forces. Due to the suppression of religious orders by the Spanish government, he was the only surviving member of the Hospitallers in Cuba for the last 13 years of his life.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed José Ollalo Valdés“. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 May 2020. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Venerable Giovanni Nadiani

Venerable Giovanni NadianiProfile

The youngest of three children, Giovanni’s mother and two step-mothers were all Christian women who ensured the boy learned his faith. He was a good student, a fine singer, and briefly entered the seminary in Cesena, Italy. As a young man he worked in his father‘s restaurant, in a chocolate factory in Switzerland, as a bartender in Rome, Italy, and as a soldier in the Italian army, but was always drawn to spend his spare time in church or in the fields in contemplation and prayer. In 1907 he became a professed lay brother in the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. He assisted a military chaplain at the front in World War I for a year and a half. Returning to religious life after the War, he served in various capacities including treasurer and infirmarian. Known for his piety, care for patients, and devotion to the Eucharist.

Born

Died

Venerated

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Venerable Giovanni Nadiani“. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 January 2020. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Blessed Esther Paniagua Alonso

Blessed Esther Paniagua AlonsoMemorial

Profile

The daughter of Dolores Alonso and Nicasio Paniagua. Esther joined the Augustinian Missionary Congregation at age 18, making her perpetual vows in August 1970. Trained as a nurse, she was assigned to a hospital in the Bab El Oued neighborhood of Algiers, Algeria where she was especially drawn to handicapped children, and where she came to love the Arab people and culture. Murdered by members of the Armed Islamic Group while walking to Mass. Martyr.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Esther Paniagua Alonso“. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 September 2018. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Blessed Paul-Hélène Saint Raymond

Blessed Paul-Hélène Saint RaymondAlso known as

  • Madame Encyclopédie

Memorial

Profile

Eighth of ten children born into a pious family. Paul-Hélène studied engineering at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, but felt a call to religious life, and joined the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1952, making her final vows in 1960. Family social worker in Creil, France from 1954 until 1957 when she began studying to be a nurse. She worked as a nurse in poor, working class neigbbourhoods in Rouen, France. Assigned to work as a nurse and social worker in Algeria in 1964 where she served for 30 years. She is remembered as intelligent, educated, helpful, generous, prayerful, and honest to the point of sometimes being blunt and tactless. Retiring from medical and social work, she assisted Blessed Henri Vergès at the archdiocese library where she was known for welcoming children and teenagers. Murdered by Muslim fundamentalists who entered the library disguised as police officers. Martyr.

Born

Died

  • shot in the neck on 8 May 1994 in the Archdiocese library on Ben Cheneb Street in the Kasbah in Algiers, Algeria
  • funeral Mass celebrated at the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa

Venerated

Beatified

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Paul-Hélène Saint Raymond“. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 October 2019. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Blessed Bonaventure of Barcelona

Blessed Bonaventure of BarcelonaAlso known as

  • Bonaventure of Riudoms
  • Bonaventura Gran
  • Fra Bonaventure of Barcelona
  • Miguel Baptista Gran Peris

Memorial

Profile

The only child in a farm family, Francisco married at age 18, but became a widower just sixteen months later. He then followed a call to religious life, and Franciscan friar at the convent of Sant Miquel d’Escornalbou, making his religious profession on 14 July 1641 and taking the name Bonaventura. Over the next 17 years, he was assigned to convents in Mora d’Ebre, Figueres, la Bisbal d’Empordà and Terrassa where he served variously as cook, porter, beggar and infirmarian, and was known for his quiet, pious devotion to work, prayer and Franciscan spirituality. In 1658 he was sent to the area of Rome, Italy, to promote a return to strict observance of the Franciscan Rule; he founded four monasteries in the region. He was assigned to houses in Aracaeli and Capranica, and served as porter at Saint Isidore’s College. In 1662 he founded the Riformella, a reform movement of retreats and spiritual meditation for his brother friars to bring them back to the original Franciscan spirituality; his writings about the “Retreats” received pontifical approve from Pope Innocent XI. Over the years he served as advisor to many, including Pope Alexander VII, Pope Clement IX, Pope Clement X and Pope Innocent XI.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

Patronage

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Bonaventure of Barcelona“. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 September 2018. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Blessed Francisco Gárate Aranguren

detail of a statue of Blessed Francisco Gárate Aranguren, date and artist unknown; in the Church of Sagrado Corazón, Bilbao, País Vasco, Spain; photographed on 26 April 2009 by Zarateman; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Brother Kindness

Memorial

Profile

Second of seven boys born to Francisco and Maria Aranguren, a pious farm family in the Basque region of northern Spain; three of them grew up to become Jesuit brothers. Francisco left home at age 14 to work as a domestic servant at the newly opened Jesuit College of Nuestra Señora de la Antigua in Orduña, Spain. By age 17, he had felt a call to join the Jesuits himself, and travelled on foot to Poyanne in southern France to enter the initiate, the Jesuits having been expelled from Spain following the revolution of 1868; he made his initial vows as a Jesuit lay brother on 2 February 1876, his final vows on 15 August 1877. Beginning in early 1877, he served as a sacristan and infirmarian at the La Guadia college where he was in charge of the medical care for 200 young men. Assigned to the Jesuit Duesto college as doorkeeper, sacristan and infirmarian in March 1888; he served there for the next 40 years. Francisco became known for his prayer life and simple living, his kind care and charity for the students, and as a source of wisdom and advice for all; he prayed constantly, carried a rosary everywhere, and was a beloved example of living a ordinary life with piety.

Born

Died

  • at 7:00am on 9 September 1929 in Deusto, Bilbao, Vizcaya, Spain of complications involving a block urethra
  • at his funeral, former students placed rosaries and crucifixes on his coffin, asking for his posthumous blessing on them
  • re-interred in August 1946
  • re-interred in 1964

Venerated

Beatified

Representation

Readings

To the extent that it is possible for me to do everything well, I do it. Our Lord does the rest. With his help, everything becomes easy and beautiful because we have a Good Lord. Blessed Francisco

The message of sanctity that Blessed Francisco Garate gives us is simple and clear. From his youth, Francisco opened his heart wide to Christ who knocked at his door inviting him to be his faithful follower and friend. Like Mary, whom he loved tenderly as his mother, he responded with generosity and confidence without limit to the call of grace. His generosity is attested to by the students, professors, employees and parents at the University who affectionately called him ‘Brother Kindness’ and who saw in him the welcoming and pleasant attitude of one who keeps his heart anchored in God. Blessed Francisco gives us a real and concrete testimony of the value of the interior life of the soul of every apostolate as well as that of religious consecration. In effect, when a person hands himself over to God and centres his whole life in him, one does not have to wait for apostolic fruits. From the entrance of the university, this Jesuit brother made the goodness of God present to others by the evangelizing force of his quiet and humble service. Pope Saint John Paul II in his beatification homily for Blessed Francisco

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Francisco Gárate Aranguren“. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 September 2018. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Blessed Leonella Sgorbati

Blessed Leonella SgorbatiAlso known as

  • Rosa Maria Sgorbati

Memorial

Profile

Youngest of three children born to Carlo Sgorbati and Giovannina Teresa Vigilini; she was baptised almost immediately after birth at her parish church of San Savio. The family moved to Milan, Italy on 9 October 1950 when Leonella was 9 so her father could find work; he died less than a year later on 16 July 1951 when Leonella was 10 years old. She felt a call to religious life and missionary work in her mid-teens, but at her mother‘s request she waited until age 20 to make a final decision. She joined the Consolata Mission Sisters in San Fre, Cuneo, Italy on 5 May 1963, making her profession in November 1972, and taking the name Leonella.

She studied nursing from 1966 to 1968. Assigned to Kenya in September 1970, she worked at the Consolata Hospital Mathari in Nyeri, and the Nazareth Hospital in Kiambu from 1970 to 1983; part of her work was as a midwife. After additional training, she began teaching nursing in Nkubu Hospital in Meru, Kenya in 1985. Regional superior of the Sisters in Kenya from November 1993 to 1999.

In 2001 she began work on what would become the Hermann Gmeiner School of Registered Community Nursing attached to the SOS Children’s Village hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia; it opened in 2002 with Sister Lenoella in charge and conducting part of the teaching. Following a trip to Italy in 2006, she had trouble being allowed back in to Mogadishu as Islamic courts had taken control of the area; she managed to return to her work at the hospital on 13 September 2006. Sister Leonella and her guard and driver, Mohamed Osman Mahamud, a Muslim father of four, were murdered four days later in retaliation for Pope Benedict XVI having quoted a 600-year-old text that dismissed the contributions of Islam, gunned down in the street as she walked from the children‘s hospital. She died forgiving her attackers. Martyr.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

Readings

I forgive, I forgive. – Blessed Leonella’s dying words

Sometimes, certain people are asked for the supreme testimony of blood, which also happened a few days ago to the Italian Religious, Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who died a victim of violence. This Sister, who served the poor and the lowly in Somalia for many years, died with the words “I forgive” on her lips: this is the most genuine Christian witness, a peaceful sign of contradiction that demonstrates the victory of love over hatred and evil. – Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, 24 September 2006

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Leonella Sgorbati“. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 January 2019. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Saint Nazaria Ignacia March y Mesa

Saint Nazaria Ignacia March y MesaAlso known as

  • Nazaire de Sainte-Thérèse March Mesa
  • Nazaria Ignacia de Santa Teresa de Jesus

Memorial

Profile

Fourth of eighteen children born to José Alejandro March y Reus, a merchant, fisherman and industrial worker, and Nazaria Mesa Ramos; Nazaira had a twin sister, Ignazia, and ten brothers who survived infancy. She and her sister were baptized on the day they were born, Nazaria made her First Communion on 21 November 1898 and made a personal vow of consecration to God. Unlike many children who are drawn to religious life at an early age, her family was indifferent to the faith, and grew so tired of her of her devotions that they once “grounded” her from going to Mass. By the time she was confirmed on 15 March 1902, which was celebrated by Blessed Marcelo Spínola y Maestre, her family had grown used to her piety, and allowed her to join the Franciscan Third Order and more actively practice her faith. She succeeded in getting several of them to return to the Church.

In late 1904, business failures led the family to move to Mexico. On the trip, Nazarie met sisters in the Instituto de Hermanitas de los Ancianos Desamparados (Institute of Sisters of the Abandoned Elders), and was so inspired by their charism that on 7 December 1908 she followed a calling to religious life, and entered the Institute in Mexico City, Mexico; she made her perpetual vows on 1 January 1915, and took the name Sister Nazaire de Sainte-Thérèse. Her diaries of the time show a deep devotion to her calling, but struggles with her vows of obedience to her superiors.

She was assigned to the Institute hospice in Oruro, Bolivia where she worked as a cook, housekeeper, nurse and occasional beggar to support the poor and neglected for twelve years. The region around Oruro was not entirely Christian, many Protestant groups were establishing missions, and the few priests in the area were often lax or lived scandalous lives. Beginning in 1920 Sister Nazaire began to feel a call to found a new congregation devoted to missionary work, evanglization and religious education. On 18 January 1925, the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Sister Nazaire made a special vow of obedience to the Pope, and on Pentecost that year she made a vow to work for the union and extension of the Holy Catholic Church. On 16 June 1925, with six other sisters, she founded the Pontifical Crusade, later renamed the Congregation of the Missionary Crusaders of the Church, and began service as their superior. The mission of the Congregation was to catechize children and adults, support the work of priests, conduct missions, and to print and distribute short religious tracts.

Mother Nazaire met with opposition to her work, much of it from within Church administration. Her sisters in the Institute treated her as a traitor to her original vocation for turning away from their work; her superiors considered her disobedient, and some Claretian clergy considered her a glory-hound, ignoring all the help members of their order had given her. But Nazaire clung to Christ and pressed on.

Monsignor Felipe Cortesi, while in Bolivia, had worked to help Mother Nazaire to found the Congregation. When he was assigned to be the apostolic nuncio of Argentina in 1930, he asked had her open a Missionary Crusader house in Buenos Aires. The Congregation received an early test under fire during the 1932 to 1935 war between Bolivia and Paraguay; Mother Nazaire and the sisters cared for and brought the sacraments to soldiers on both sides, and helped establish homes for war orphans. In 1934 she founded the first magazine in Bolivia for women in religious life, Al Adalid de Cristo Rey, and the first female trade union, Sociedad de Obrera Católicas

In early 1934, Monsignor Cortesi asked the Vatican Congregation of Religious to approve the rules for the Crusaders that Nazaire had written, based on Ignatian spirituality. Later that year, Mother Nazaria travelled to Rome with an Argentinian pilgrimage group to work for the approval of her Rule. She made pilgrimages to several sites, and had a private audience with Pope Pius XI during which Nazaire said that she was willing to die for the Church; the Pope told her that she must, instead, live and work for the Church.

Leaving Italy for her native Spain, Mother Nazaire founded a retreat center for spiritual exercises in Madrid under the flag of Uruguay; the sisters there survived the Spanish Civil War as Franco did not wish to risk the international incident killing them would cause. With the help of the Bolivian government, Mother Nazaria was able to leave the persecutions in Spain and return to the Americas. She summoned a general chapter of the Congregation in 1937 to strengthen the unity and zeal of her sisters. Worked on the spiritual formation of new sisters, and set an example by her pious, simple life. To the superiors of the Congregation houses she always recommended a maternal approach to the sisters in their care, to remember their role as Mother of the house. When the Spanish Civil War ended, Nazaire returned to Spain to check on the sisters she had left behind, then returned to the Americas for the final time. The Congregation spread throughout South America and began to work in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Camaroon. Though Nazaire did not live to see it, the Congregation received Vatican recognition on 9 June 1947 by Pope Pius XII.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

Canonized

Patronage

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Nazaria Ignacia March y Mesa“. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 February 2019. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Blessed Dénise Leclerc

Blessed Dénise LeclercAlso known as

  • Sister Bibiane

Memorial

Profile

Member of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles, joining on 4 March 1959, taking the name Sister Bibiane, and making her first vows on 8 March 1961. She was assigned to a maternity ward in Algeria, working with infants and new mothers. In 1964 she was assigned to teach sewing and embroidery to young people in Algiers. There she began working with the poorest of young women in the city. Martyred by Islamic forces.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Dénise Leclerc“. CatholicSaints.Info. 16 September 2018. Web. 3 August 2020. <>

Blessed Enrico Rebuschini

detail of the beatification portrait of Blessed Enrico Rebuschini, date and artist unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiMemorial

Profile

Second of five children born to an upper class family in the Lombard region of modern Italy. A pious young man and good student, he had a mystical outlook on things, and was subject to bouts of depression. At age 18 Enrico felt a call to the priesthood, but his family, especially his father strongly objected. However, they finally relented, and at 24 Enrico began his studies at the seminary in Como, Italy. He studied at the Lombard College and Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, and proved an able student, but a crushing bout of depression sent him back to his family home and finally to a nursing home for recovery.

When he was back on his feet and ready to return to his studies, Enrico re-examined his call to religious life, and, with the help of his confessor, decided to work with the Camillians, a congregation dedicated to the sick; he began his novitiate at age 27. With special dispensation from his bishop, the future Pope Saint Pius X, he was ordained a priest on 14 April 1889. He ministered to the sick in Verona, Italy from 1889 to 1899, making his solemn Camillian vows in 1891, and then served at the San Camillo di Cremona nursing home the rest of his life – almost 40 years. He served as treasurer of his community for 34 years, and superior for 11. Father Enrico’s life was one of prayer and service in the day to day needs of other people.

Born

Died

Venerated

Beatified

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Blessed Enrico Rebuschini“. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 June 2020. Web. 3 August 2020. <>