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Our founder

Our founder

ST MARIA MICAELA 1809 - 1865

Rahab is part of the family of Sisters Adoratrices founded by Maria Micaela in 1856 in Madrid, Spain.

 

MARIA MICAELA

Micaela was a woman with a strong personality, great energy and passion.

In 1856 she responded with courage to a pressing need of her time, dedicating her life to caring for women who were marginalised by their involvement in prostitution, and women who had been sexually exploited, promoting their rights and dignity.

Since then, countless Sisters have followed her example, providing unconditional love and support to empower women all over the world.

 

EARLY LIFE AND VOCATION

Born on 1 January 1809 into an aristocratic family, the early years of Micaela’s life unfolded in the circles of the Spanish and French nobility,

attending social events and supporting charitable causes.

One day, on a charitable visit to Saint John of God Hospital, she met a young woman who had been deceived by her husband and forced into prostitution.

This encounter deeply challenged Micaela, and she went through an intense period of struggle as she questioned her comfortable and privileged life.

She eventually chose to leave her family, wealth and position so that she could dedicate herself to living with and caring for women

who found themselves in situations like that of the young woman she had encountered.

 

ESTABLISHING THE CONGREGATION

Inspired by the women she met, Micaela opened her first safe home for women in 1845.

Many women came for help and, uncovering a great need, Micaela worked tirelessly to open seven more homes amidst fierce opposition from a society

that did not understand or support what she was doing.

The difficulty of sustaining her mission led her to set up the Congregation of Sisters in 1865 to ensure its continuation and stability.

Micaela died nine years later, a Martyr of Charity, whilst caring for her Sisters and the women during a cholera epidemic.

 

LEGACY

Micaela was a passionate, radical woman ahead of her time.

Her life was not a simple or easy one, but having inherited her father’s fearless temperament and mother’s compassionate heart,

she endured many difficulties in her calling, drawing courage and strength from her deep Christian faith.

To this day, Micaela’s tenacity and pedagogy of love – acceptance, understanding, respect, forgiveness, patience and mercy –

continues to inspire people all over the world to continue the work she began so many years ago.

Rahab is one of the many ways the Sisters are continuing her legacy.

“The Sisters Adoratrices’ work is a noble and magnificent example of the fight against gender violence across borders. Thanks to Micaela, through successive generations women at risk of violence or insecurity have found those willing to help and accompany them on their way to liberation.”

His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, 2015

Feast day: 25 August

Resting place: Chapel of St Maria Micaela, Valencia, Spain

Canonisation: 4 March 1934 by Pope Pius XI

Micaela, c 1846 held by the Marquis of Casa Valdes
Micaela by order of Queen Isabel II
Micaela’s father, Don Miguel Desmaisières Flores, Brigadier General of the Army of the King of Spain
Micaela's mother, Dóna Bernarda López de Dicastillo y Olmeda, daughter of the Marquis of ‘los Llanos de Alguazas’ & Countess of Vega del Pozo

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