Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Epic Maronite Catholic, Who Spent Much Time Knitting

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

So I love knitting. And, it just so happens, there's this epic saint who I've read is called the "unofficial patron saint of knitting." Total win. Oh, and she's Maronite Catholic. So definitely an awesome person in my book (I have a great love for Maronite Catholics). So, here's some cool facts about St. Rafqa:

She was born in Himlaya on June 29, 1832, and she was named Boutroussieh (cool name! Which I can't pronounce!). Her awesome parents taught her about daily prayer and love of God, like they should. When she was 7, Boutroussieh lost her mother. When she was about 11, her father had financial difficulties, so he sent her to work as a servant in Damascus. In 1847, Rafqa returned home and found that her father had remarried. His new wife and another relative tried to marry off Rafqa, but she felt that God wanted her to be a religious sister.

On March 19, 1861, Rafqa became a novice at the convent of Our Lady of Deliverance in Bikfaya. She was put in charge of the kitchen at a seminary, and in her free time, Rafqa studied Arabic, arithmetic, and calligraphy (that's seriously legit. How she managed to do all that, I don't know-God truly had a hand in it!). Rafqa also taught religion in Deir El Qamar, and she even helped establish a school for girls in Maad.

There was some sort of crisis in her congregation, and Rafqa asked God what to do. He told her to remain a nun. One night, Rafqa had a dream of Eastern monastic saints. And when St. Anthony the Great popped up and told her to enter the Lebanese Maronite Order in a dream, Rafqa decided to go for it. On August 25, 1872, she pronounced solemn vows with this congregation, choosing the name "Rafqa."

In the early 1880s, Rafqa prayed that God would permit her to experience some of His sufferings from the Passion. Deep pain struck her head and moved to her eyes. The Superior insisted on medical treatment, but during this treatment, by mistake, Rafqa's right eye was seriously injured. Soon, her left eye was diseased, and Rafqa became blind and paralyzed in 1899. She could not move, but God let her use her hands--Rafqa would knit socks! She was a very peaceful, joyful person through all of her sufferings, offering them up with joy to God as sacrifices of love. On March 23, 1914, Rafqa died. She was canonized on June 10, 2001, becoming Lebanon's first female canonized saint. SO EPIC!

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