St. Rafqa

Saint Rebecca Pierrette Ar-Rayes: also known as Saint Rafka, was born in Lebanon in 1832. She was the only child born to her parents and at the age of 6, her mother passed away. Her father re-married and Rebecca did not get along with her stepmother. At 11, she got a job as a maid and at 14, told her father that she wished to become a nun. Her father objected but she joined the Order of the Immaculate Conception at the age of 21.

Later, when her order combined with another, she was given a choice to change. She joined the Order of Saint Anthony of Maronites and she prayed to be able to share in the suffering of Christ.Starting in 1885 she endured intense pain in her eyes and brow, eventually going blind. Still in pain, she suffered bleeding from the eye sockets and frequent nosebleeds. By 1907 she was almost completely paralyzed but often managed to crawl to the monastery’s chapel to pray, a feat thought impossible. In spite of the pain, Saint Rebecca never complained.

Prior to her death, she dictated her autobiography. In the midst of suffering from tuberculosis, she prayed for an hour of sight to be able to see Mother Ursula, her superior. Her wish was granted. She passed away on March 23rd, 1914, was beatified in November 1985, and canonized in June 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Saint Rebecca is the patron saint of lost parents and of the sick. Her feast Day is March 23rd.

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