Friday, November 6, 2009

Memorial of Bl Josefa Naval Girbés

"Josepha Naval Girbés was born at Algemes in the Archdiocese of Valencia, Spain, on December 11, 1820. As a very young woman she consecrated herself to the Lord by a perpetual vow of chastity. Josepha’s life was simple. She stood out for her ardent love, and she made progress along the way of prayer and evangelical perfection, while dedicating herself generously to apostolic works in her parish community. In her own home she opened a school where she taught needlework, prayer, and the evangelical virtues. She formed many young girls and women and shared with them her wisdom and spiritual understanding. She was a member of the Third Order Secular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Teresa of Jesus, and had a special love for the Virgin Mother of God. Her holy death took place on February 24, 1893. She is buried in her parish church of Saint James in her native city.


Since parishes in a certain way represent the visible Church established on the earth, Josepha, the Servant of God, regarded her parish as her Mother in faith and in grace, and as such she loved her and served her with humility and with a spirit of sacrifice. And for that reason she showed her parish priest sincere veneration and entrusted herself to his spiritual direction.

She looked after the making of liturgical furnishings and she saw that they were kept clean and well cared for, and the altars as well. Each day she went to the parish church to take part in the Eucharistic sacrifice. But she was especially notable for her intelligent and fruitful apostolate, which she always carried out with the consent of her pastors, to whom she professed absolute respect and obedience.

Convinced as Josepha was that Christians ought to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, she was not content to practice the virtues at home. Rather she wanted to fulfill completely the command of the Lord who said, Let your light shine before men in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. And so she sought every opportunity to proclaim Christ by word and deed both to nonbelievers, in order to draw them to the faith, and to the faithful, in order to instruct and confirm them and encourage them to live more fervently. With that in view, she taught the poor and counseled all who came to her. She restored peace in broken families. She organized meetings for mothers in her own house in order to help them in their Christian formation. She brought back to the way of virtue women who had gone astray, and she prudently admonished sinners. However, the work on which she most focused her care and energy was that of instructing young people in the things of life and in the faith. For their sake she opened in her house a free embroidery school which was well attended. Her workshop became a place of fraternal gatherings. It was a center of prayer, where God was praised and where the Sacred Scriptures and eternal truths were explained and developed.

Like a loving mother, the Servant of God watched over her followers and prepared them for life. She was a model of fervent love for God. She was a lamp that gave forth light and warmth and a shining example in so many ways of a living and contagious faith, of unflagging love, and of joyous submission to the will of God and of her superiors. Josepha is remembered for her unbounded solicitude for the salvation of souls. She stood out for her singular prudence, and for the humility, poverty, silence and patience that she always practiced, even amidst setbacks and difficulties. The fervor with which she cultivated the interior lifeof prayer and meditation, and her patience under trial were well known, as was her love for the Eucharist and for the Virgin Mary and the saints. In this way, the Servant of God helped to build up her parish community."

-- Biography from Liturgy of the Hours; text from the Decree regarding the heroic virtues of Josepha Naval Girbés

Bl Josefa, pray for us!

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