Saint Rafqa's Second Ordeal

“A while after my mother’s death, my father got remarried”

In 1847, When Boutrossiyé’s father brought her back from Damascus where she had spent four years working as a maid, she was fifteen years old. Her mother’s death which has hit hardly the little family and which has taken her by force out of her home, has also created in the husband’s heart a heavy cross of frustration, responsibility, fear and loneliness. Saber Al Rayess could not bear the separation, his widowhood gave him a deep feeling of isolation, he got married for the second time. His second wife gave birth to two daughters: Mary and Kafa.

An old house in the village of Himlaya, very similar to
Saint Rafqa's parental house

Young Boutrossiyé was shocked and suffered a lot from the new situation inside the family, but she excused her father and understood his difficulties and she respected her stepmother and helped her a lot.

But very soon the atmosphere in the family was disturbed once again. Saint Rafqa told her superior in 1912:”When I reached fifteen years, my stepmother wanted to marry me to her brother, and my maternal aunt wanted me for her son. The disagreement between the two women on my subject, has created a very negative atmosphere of dislike and enmity between them.” 

Boutrossiyé prayed without ceasing, and repeated constantly the psalm of David:”In you Lord I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness; Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.” (Psalm 30)

Nevertheless, this conflict pushed Boutrossiyé to withdraw herself to a convent, as she told her Superior in 1912:”One day I was coming back from the fountain with a jar of water, I heard my stepmother and my aunt arguing, they were insulting each other and exchanging harmful words because of me. Each of them wanted to marry me according to her wish. I was very impressed and deeply moved as I was the reason for this hostility. So I stayed on the sidelines and I asked God to deliver me from this embarrassment. Then afterwards I had the idea of joining the religious order.”

Saint Rafqa has suffered a lot, in her body and in her soul, but she never lost her sovereignty over herself. Life with its difficulties have tried her soul on many occasions, but the waves of temptation always broke up and vanished in front of her absolute trust in Divine Mercy, and she always prevailed.

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