St. Raphaela Mary is one of the Founders of the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Born on 1st March 1850, Raphaela was the youngest of seven children, and along with her sister, she entered religious life. In 1876, with the permission of the Bishop of Cordoba (Spain), they established a religious Community. They were very young but were strong in their faith and vision, and knew the path they wanted to follow, to adore the Blessed Sacrament every day and to live by the rules of St. Ignatius of Loyola, seeking God in all things. After moving to Madrid, the Community experienced a period of great growth, and they opened schools and new communities all over Spain. In 1887, the Congregation had official recognition from the Pope, and Raphaela Mary was appointed as Superior General of the Congregation. They took the official name “Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” invoking the devotion of Our Lady to the Lord.
The Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus came to Ireland for the first time in 1957. They first established a Community in Finglas and stayed there until 1996. They also established a house in Blackrock in 1966, and remained there until they were asked by the Archbishop of Dublin to take over the Primary and Secondary School in Stillorgan. In July 1971, the Handmaids became the Trustees of what were then known as St. Pilomena’s Primary School and Marillac Secondary School. IN 1977, with the Canonization of Raphaela Mary, the schools and campus were renamed.
St. Raphaela’s Primary and Secondary School in Stillorgan are the only schools under the Trusteeship of the Handmaids in Ireland today, but we are part of a family of schools closely connected to those within Atlantic Europe Province including, St. Christina’s in London https://www.saintchristinas.org.uk, the Institut de l’Alma in Paris, and Oporto http://www.colegioescravas.net
The Handmaids of the Sacred Heart have thriving Communities and Schools in over 20 countries.