Rafaela of the Passion Veintemilla
Augustinian Servant of God
Rafaela of the Passion Veintemilla (1836-1918), daughter of a prominent Ecuadorian family, after having been expelled from her native land, founded a new Augustinian community of women, the Augustinian Daughters of the Most Holy Savior.
She was born in Quito, Ecuador in 1836. Her mother died when Rafaela was three years old. Her father died when she was 19.
Rafaela wanted to become a nun. But when her brother, General Ignatius Veintemilla, became President of the Republic of Ecuador in 1878, he persuaded her to oversee the management of the presidential household.
While carrying out that role, Rafaela lived a life similar to that of a nun. She dedicated several hours a day to prayer and contemplation.
When a military coup in 1883 ousted her brother from the office of President, Rafaela was imprisoned for eight months. Finally, the entire Veintemilla family was expelled from Ecuador.
She went to live in Lima, Peru. There she continued to lead her life of piety and prayer. She was an active member of the Rosary Sodality of Saint Dominic Church there and eventually was elected President of that group.
Eustasio Esteban, an Augustinian, became her spiritual advisor in 1894. Under his guidance, Rafaela became aware of a calling to found a religious congregation dedicated to nourishing and instructing young girls in need of help and protection.
Thus, in 1895, in a modest apartment, she started the Augustinian Daughters of the Most Holy Savior. These sisters did not wear a traditional full religious habit. Instead, they all wore just a simple black dress with a crucifix pendant and a rosary hanging from the Augustinian cincture.
Rafaela died a holy death in 1918 in Lima. She was 82. She is buried at the convent of Our Lady of el Prado in that city.
The cause for her beatification and canonization began in 1987. The diocesan investigation was concluded in 1989. The Congregation of Saints recognized the validity of her cause in 1992. The Positio was formally submitted February 27, 2005. Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, oversees the progress of the cause.