Blessed Piedad della Croce Ortiz Real
Bocairente, Valencia, Spain, November 12 ,1842 – February 26, 1916
The Spanish founder of the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Their charism is to love and serve the Heart of Jesus in the orphan girls, the younger workers, the sick, the abandoned elderly.
Roman Martyrology: At Alcantarilla near Murcia in Spain, blessed Piedad of the Cross (Tommasina) Ortiz Real, virgin, who for love of God zealously devoted herself to the education and catechesis of the poor and founded the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Piedad de la Cruz Ortiz Real, daughter of José and Tomasa, was born in Bocairente (Valencia) Spain, November 12, 1842, and was baptized the following day with the name of Tomasa. She was the fifth of eight siblings.
At school was distinguished for piety, constancy and talent in music, embroidery and in acting.
At Ten she had her First Communion. Looking back as she herself narrates her feelings: “When I received for the first time the Holy Communion, I was annihilated, and as I experienced Jesus calling me to religious life.” This encounter with Christ in the Eucharist marked her forever. Tomasa desired the Lord and lived for him.
She completed her human and spiritual formation in the College of the Loreto Sisters of the Holy Family of Burdeos in Valencia. When she asked to enter the novitiate of the Institute, her father, considering the political situation at the time and the young age of Tomasa, the forced her to return home.
Three aspects characterized this stage of her life in Bocairente: the spirit of piety and adoration, her dedication to doing good to poor children, the elderly and the sick and her commitment in giving a response to what she felt in her heart the day of her First Communion.
In the end, Tomasa, thought she would be unable to realize the dream of her life: to consecrate to the Lord in a convent of Carmelite nuns in Valencia. Infirmity forced her to leave the novitiate and return to her family home. Once ristabilitasi, tried again to enter a cloistered convent and still did the same.
From these events, Tomasa discovered that God never wanted her to do so. She asked him to show her clearly what was his will, and her prayer was this: “Yours, my Jesus, I want you to be, but tell me where.”
With the certainty of being called to a life of special consecration, but with the question of where God wanted her, Tomasa headed to Barcelona. There, after many difficulties, the Lord said to search for vocations Tomasa then had a profound mystical experience in which the Heart of Jesus, showing his bloodied left side, said: “Look how I have the men with their ingratitude , you will help me carry this cross? “. Tomasa said: “Lord, if you need a victim and I want, I am here, Lord.” Then, the Redeemer said: “Fonda, my daughter, that you and your congregation always stretch mercy.”
This experience was decisive for Tomasa, those such certainty that it never removed from her mind and her heart. From this moment, she understood that God asked her to create a new institute.
The question now was where to base it, where giving a positive response to the call of Christ to carry the cross of the poorest, those who have the least in this world. Bishop D. Jaime Catalá was the one who suggested to open their hearts to his confessor and to do what he meant. With this gesture, Tomasa, was submitted by the faith of the Church hierarchy to do the will of God
The flooding of the river Segura in 1884 that destroyed the fields of Murcia and the few religious congregations in this area, geared towards these places of greatest need.
In March, Tomasa, accompanied by three postulants, departed from Barcelona, to Puebla de Soto, one kilometer from Alcantarilla, to found there, with the permission of the Bishop of Cartagena-Murcia, the first Community of Tertiaries of the Virgin of Carmen.
The inhabitants of the areas of Murcia still had not recovered from the tragedy of the floods of 1884, when the cholera came. Tomasa – that in the meantime had taken the name of Piedad de la Cruz – and her daughters, were multiplying in assisting and orphan girls in a small hospital which she called “Providence.”
Other young people came, attracted by the way of life for those first Carmelites Tertiaries. The house became too small, they had to buy Alcantarilla. They also opened a new Community in Caudete … Everyone was thinking that, eventually, Tomasa had found the place to carry out her vocation.
Nevertheless … again the cross. It was a sign that she had requested to see that everything was God: “To base in tribulation” and the Heart of Jesus abundantly granted.
Although the Virgin Mary occupied a very important place in the hearts and lives of Tomasa, her charisma was centered in the Heart of Christ. And … God’s plans! There began to be tension between the Community of Alcantarilla Caudete and because the congregation had not yet diocesan approval.
In August, the Sisters of Caudete went to Alcantarilla and took the novices, leaving Mother Piedad alone with Sister Alphonsa. They were days of intense pain. The Founder, as always, took refuge in prayer, prostrating before the Christ of the Council and there were hours and hours nailed to his feet. Suffering, however, did not break her, because the boat of her life was well anchored in the Lord.
Once again, she appealed to the ecclesiastical hierarchy in search of guidance and light. It would be the Bishop Bryan y Livermore that would send Tomasa and her faithful companion, Sister Alphonsa, to the Convent of the Visitation of the Royal Salesiane Orihuela to a month of spiritual exercises and to design a new foundation, taking as a patron Saint Bishop. It was here that the Holy Spirit warmly lit Mother Piedadt, and filled the power of prophecy, and showed her charisma and the name of her congregation, which would be under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales.
And … came the hour of God was on September 8, 1890. Into the Church was born, after many difficulties and tribulations, the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a congregation where the Heart of Jesus wants to be loved, served and satisfied by injuries received by man. To love, serve and repair, see the face of the Lord in the orphan girls, the young workers in the sick, the elderly abandoned … and help to carry the cross.
He left his Charisma: Making sensitive before men, especially the poor, the provident Father’s love, manifested in the merciful Heart of Jesus between the open arms of the Cross.
Although the life of Mother Piedad has been surrendered to the world, she had not “fled” from the world, but was doing good and fighting evil. Witness to this were the many broken marriages or marriages about to break, so many young people that she went to look for in factories to form in Sunday school, children without a family who loved svisceratamente, people living alone, sick …
She lived poor and died poor, sitting on a chair, because “He – she said, indicating the Crucifix – died on the cross and I do not have to die on the bed, but on the floor.” She died with the crucifix between her lips and the peace of God on Saturday February 26, 1916.
People simply exclaimed with deep feeling: “She died a saint! Our mother is dead.”
On February 6, 1982 in the Diocese of Cartagena-Murcia the process of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God was opened.
On May 7, 1983 the process was moved to Rome, she obtained validation on February 3, 1984.
After an exhaustive study on the virtues practiced by Mother Piedad, July 1, 2000, at the Vatican, in the presence of His Holiness John Paul II, promulgated the decree on his heroic virtues and April 12, 2003 the decree on a miracle, giving the way for her beatification in Rome on March 21, 2004.
Source: Holy See