Maria Nazra, a pious child rescued and raised in a Visitation Monastery

The Story of Maria Nazra, a rescued child,who lived and died in the Monastery of the Visitation of Valence, on December, 1855, about 14 years old.

From a Circular Letter:

Nazra and Companion Arrive at Monastery

At the beginning of November, 1850, the respectable Father Olivieri, so well known for his admirable work of redemption of the trafficked children of Africa,arrived in our city with five or six girls. As he sought to place them in some religious communities, our most honored Sister, the Superior, feeling her heart deeply moved with compassion, consented without much difficulty to receive two, who seemed to enter here with great pleasure. Everything in their eyes made them smile softly, and it was noticed that nothing struck them more than the oratories placed in various parts of the House. For several weeks they could not make their language understood, but being naturally very intelligent, they soon seized the most frequently used words, and they often heard them pronounced around them. In spite of the interior satisfaction they felt to find themselves in a house where they were shown affection and interest, a sad thought, however, preoccupied them and made them pass painful moments.

Her memories and Disposition

Nazra, who appeared to be the eldest of the two little girls, had a very modest and very gentle air. Once a witness to the most barbarous act, she had seen her poor mother expire before her eyes, a victim of the blows and mistreatments of a brutal and ruthless merchant. This memory, constantly present in her filial heart, gave to her character something melancholy..Their attraction was the passion of Our Lord, and every time the directress spoke on this subject, the poor girls were so impressed

Nazra could no longer eat, so much was her emotion. Often she was surprised, even before her baptism, when walking the stations of the Road of the Cross, staring at them steadily, with big tears that escaped her eyes. Brought to piety by natural inclination, nothing was more agreeable and sweeter to her than to hear of the good God, and her soul eagerly received and blessed all that was said to her of this good Jesus who had so much loved us,  when she began to be instructed, she longed for holy baptism, and she carried herself with the greatest generosity to all the practices of virtue suggested to her by her good Directress, in order to see the realization of her  desires.


May 29, 1851, was the fortunate day she had long called for all her wishes; the holy water of regeneration flowed on her brow and made her child of God. During the ceremony her recollection, her modest air, the sweetness of her look, struck all the persons who were present; it was evident that grace acted in her soul and flooded her with sweet and ineffable impressions. The name Maria which she received then, made her doubly happy; she loved the Blessed Virgin with all her heart.  For eight days our new Christian girls attended the Holy Mass with their white garments and a candle in their hands. For the pious Maria, the Mass should have lasted until the end of the day, and that time, no doubt, would not have seemed too long for her, if she had been able to pass it on her knees before God.

First Holy Communion

The grace of Baptism once received, she prepared herself for another who was to make her even happier. In May of the following year, she was admitted for the first time to the Holy Table. She had prepared herself with a sustained fervor, and during her retreat especially, she had been absorbed only in the thought of preparing her heart for the reception of this great Sacrament. But who will be able to say what happened in the soul of the child, when the God of heaven came to make His first entrance? He alone and his angels understood her; as for her, her emotion was so strong and so deep that she could hardly speak until the next day. Since that time, piety has only increased further.

A Pious Life

Since that time, her piety had only increased in importance, and she was seen from one communion to another, to work with more ardor and courage to correct her faults, and to profit from the instructions she received. . Every Sunday and feast day,she was allowed to commune, and this pure soul, who sought only to love and please God, experienced no more real pleasure than to unite with him by the Holy Eucharist. Having heard from her Teacher that the Virgins will everywhere follow the divine Angels in Heaven, she too  wanted to participate in this great favor, and like those happy Virgins whose destiny she wanted to share, she asked to devote her virginity to the Lord. She therefore obtained permission to make the vow of chastity, first from one confession to another, and later perpetually.  Her greatest desire was to be religious, and we have the certainty that she would have realized it if she had lived longer.

Our dear child understood so well the favor God had given her to call her  to the light of faith, and to the knowledge of the Catholic religion,.  How many times has she offered with a touching naivety to eat not much, to give bread to others.

Suffering and Death

But it is especially by the long and painful illness of our good little Maria, that touched us deeply by her patience and resignation.She did not fear death, but she waited for it.

As all symptoms of chest disease have become manifest,we tried everything that was thought necessary for the relief and preservation of our dear child. But the remedies could never operate a real good; she was a young plant, torn from the soil that had nurtured her, and she would have needed the heat of the African sun, to revive her and prevent her from perishing. Although already very unwell, she was still busy in the kitchen, and her greatest consolation was to serve our Sisters whenever she could, and always with the same sweetness, and the same good grace. Shehas been reduced in the last months of her life to the most pitiful state that can be imagined. Painful suffocation caused violent crises, each of which appeared to be the last.

It was December 4th that our dear little Maria fell asleep in the Lord to begin the endless day in the blessed eternity; her life pure and innocent, However, we ask for a remembrance before God for the repose of the soul of all our beloved ones.




Note: The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General has designated February 8 as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita.

2018 Prayer Service:

Leave a Response