Novena Day 9
Blessed Josepha Naval Girbés (1820-1893)
“Prayer, prayer…pray for a while each day, and life will be easier and bearable. Learn to speak with God without words and, in this way, practice the prayer of meditation. Be faithful and reverent before the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.”
lessed Josepha Naval Girbés
Feast Day ~ November 6
Josepha was born in the small agricultural village of Algemesí, in the Valencia region of Spain in 1820, to a devout Catholic family, the eldest of five children. In addition to a basic education in reading and writing, Josepha learned to embroider, which became the means by which she would save souls for Christ by educating young girls and women.
After her mother’s death when she was 13, Josepha helped her father raise her younger siblings. For the next several years, she received spiritual direction from the parish priest and her love for Jesus and His Blessed Mother grew steadily. Through the influence of her spiritual director, her commitment to God flourished, and at age 18 she consecrated herself to the Lord with the vow of perpetual chastity. Josepha dedicated herself to holiness of life and of service to Church and neighbor. She formed an informal school in her own home, and invited young girls and women to take embroidery instruction. During the needlework classes, Josepha taught the girls and women how to pray, contemplation, the evangelical virtues and basic catechism. She read to them from the Bible and they engaged in spiritual conversations. She also prepared children for their First Holy Communion. Josepha eventually became a secular Carmelite, entering the Third Order Secular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Teresa of Jesus.
Due to a heart condition, Josepha’s health began to decline. She died in 1893 at the age of 72, and was buried in the brown tunic and white mantle of the Carmelite habit.
For those living in the secular world, Blessed Josepha is an especially wonderful role model because she herself lived in the secular world, and well understood its distractions and attachments. Despite these allurements, she chose to follow God’s will in all the ordinary circumstances of daily life. She loved God, cultivated a deep interior life, and showed her love for others by generously giving of herself. “Josepha Naval Girbés is an exceptional mistress of secular holiness; a model of Christian life in her heroic simplicity; a model of parish life. Her entire life proves how one can reach holiness in all states of life in a total consecration to God and in a selfless love for one’s brothers and sisters, even while living in the world.”¹
¹From the General Promoter of the Faith, Monsignor Petti, at the conclusion of the Theological Consultors’ examination