Sunday, October 28, 2018


 VENERABLE  MARY JANE WILSON  (SISTER MARY of ST. FRANCIS) was born on October 3rd 1840 in Hurryhur, Mysore, Karnataka, India of English parents.

She was orphaned in childhood and handed over to her aunt who gave her a proper education. Raised an Anglican she converted to Catholicism, joining the Church in France in 1873.

In 1881 she arrived in Madeira, Portugal where she worked as a nurse taking care of an Englishwoman. At the same time, she taught catechism to the local children, looked after the sick and supported education to the young by teaching youngsters across the island.

In 1884, she founded the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Victory who dedicated their lives to caring for children and the sick. During the destructive epidemic of 1907, the Franciscan Sisters worked by her side looking after the victims of smallpox. For this act of bravery she was awarded the"Torre e Espada" (Tower & Sword) by King D. Carlos.

In October 1910, with the republican revolution, the Congregation was extinguished and as a result, Sister Mary Jane Wilson  was expelled to England. After a year of exile she was able to return to Madeira where she gave new life to the congregation she had founded.

She died on October 18th 1916 in Câmara de Lobos due to natural causes at the age of 76.

She was also dubbed "Good Mother" due to her deep faith and caring of  the poor and the young. Enlightened by her example, the Congregation she founded now has sisters, not only in Madeira, but also in mainland Portugal and the Azores, Mozambique, England, Italy, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Philippines, Angola, India, Congo, Timor and Tanzania.

She was venerated on 9 October 9th 2013 by Pope Francis.   There is a lovely sculpture of Venerable Mary Jane by Luís Paixão in the Santa Cruz Municipal Garden, in Madeira.

BL. MARIA EUTHYMIA UFFING, one of eleven children,  was born in Halverde Germany  in 1914. At 18 months, she developed a form of rickets that stunted her growth and left her in poor health the rest of her life. Emma worked on her parents‘ farm as a child, and by her early teens began to feel a call to religious life.

She worked as an apprentice in house keeping management at the hospital in HopstenGermany, completing her studies in May 1933.  In 1933 she entered the Sister of the Congregation of Compassion  taking the name Euthymia. At the time of her vows she wrote her mother: "I found Him who my heart loves; I want to hold Him and never let Him go" (cf. Song 3,4).

She was assigned to work at Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Dinslaken. She graduated with distinction from the nursing program in 1939 and worked as nurse through World War II.

In 1943 she was assigned to nurse prisoners of war and foreign workers with infectious diseases. She worked tirelessly for her charges, caring for them, praying for them, and insuring they received the sacraments. She knew that the sick prisoners did not have to contend with physical sufferings alone. Through her warm sympathy and nearness, she instilled in them a feeling of being safe and at home. 

After the war she was given supervision of the huge laundry rooms of the Dinslaken hospital, her order’s mother-house, and the Saint Raphael Clinic in Münster, Germany; what little spare time she had was spent in prayer before the Eucharist. Many who knew her, asked her to intercede for them in her prayers. A serious form of cancer brought Bl. Euthymia to an untimely death after long weeks of illness. She died on the morning of 9 September 1955.

Her feast is September 9.

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