Oil Dedicated to St Rafka Lebanese (Maronite Nun)
St Rafka Lebanese (Maronite Nun) from A Blessed Call To Love, Ireland.
Saint Rafqa, also know as Saint Rebecca, was born in Hemlaya, Lebanon on June 29, 1832. She was the only child of her parents, Saber El-Choboq El-Rayess and Rafqa Gemayel. She was baptized on July 7, 1832 and named Boutroussieh.
Her parents were devout Christians and taught her daily prayers. By all accounts, her childhood was happy and simple, until she was just 7 years old and her mother, Rafqa (for whom she was named) died.
The death of her mother started a period of tribulation for Rafqa and her father, who soon experienced financial difficulties. Rafqa sent to work as a domestic servant for four years to help support the family. During that period, she worked in Damascus, away from her father.
In 1847, she returned to find that her father had remarried and his new wife desired that Rafqa marry her brother. At the same time, an aunt wanted to arrange a marriage between Rafqa and her cousin.
Rafqa left to decide what to do with herself, split between two potential suitors and under pressure from family to make two different choices. She turned to prayer and asked God to guide her. Her answer surprised everyone. Rafqa would marry neither man, but instead would devote her life to Jesus and become a nun.
Rafqa traveled to the convent of Our Lady of Deliverance in Bikfaya. She joined the Mariamettes, founded by Fr. Jospeh Gemayel.
According to legend, when she entered the convent and gazed upon the icon of Our Lady of Deliverance, she heard the voice of God tell her “You will become a nun.”
The Mother Superior of the convent accepted her immediately, without question. Shortly thereafter, her father and his new wife arrived to try to dissuade Rafqa from her God-chosen path. She refused to leave and remained devoted to her vocation.
She sent to Deir El Qamar to teach catechism. The town became the site of civil unrest and on one occasions he reportedly saved a child from murder by hiding him under her robes.