Naval Girbes, Josefa, Bl.

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Lay craftsperson, mystic, member of the Third Order Secular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Teresa of Jesus; b. Dec.11, 1820, Algemesi (near Valencia), Spain;d. Feb. 24, 1893, Algemesi. Following the death of her mother (1833), Josefa took over the running of her family's household. Five years later, she made a personal vow of perpetual chastity and became a Carmelite tertiary. To provide instruction for girls and young women, she started an embroidery workshop in her home (1850). While teaching them her art, she was able to evangelize her entourage. Josefa reinvigorated the spiritual life of those around her and actively encouraged vocations to religious life. In the course of her ministry to the terminally ill, Josefa display heroic courage during the cholera epidemic of 1885. She achieved mystical union with God at 55. Her mortal remains are enshrined in her parish church, Saint James in Algemesi. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II, Sept. 25, 1988.

Feast: Nov. 6 (Carmelites).

Bibliography: Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1988): 1092.

[k. i. rabenstein]