Bl. Juana Maria Condesa Lluch
January 16, Blessed


Born into a wealthy and pious family, she received a good secular and Christian education. Even as a child, Juana was devoted to the Holy Eucharist and Our Lady, and felt a call to serve. As she grew, she developed a deep prayer life, felt a call to religious life, and a need to help factory workers who lived in horrible, de-humanizing and life-shortening conditions of 19th century industrialization.

Cardinal Antolín Monescillo, archbishop of Valencia initially refused her permission to found a religious congregation, saying she was too young. But in1884 she received permission to open a shelter to provide material and spiritual assistance to factory workers and their families. Soon after she opened a school for their children, and other young women felt a call to help in the work. They formed the basis for theCongregation of the Handmaids of the Immaculate Conception, Protectress of Workers which she founded in Valencia, Spain. They are teachers, spiritual directors and protectors of thepoor, especially young working women. The Congregation received diocesan approval in 1892, temporary papal approval from Pope Pius XI on April 14, 1937, and definitive approval on January 27, 1947 from Pope Pius XII.

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