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January 6 

Saint of the day:
St. Raphaela Maria Porras

Patron Saint of Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Story of St. Raphaela Maria Porras:

Raphaela Mary Porras Ayllón was born on 1st March, 1850  in Pedro Abad, a small village in the province of Cordoba (Spain) to a well-to-do family. She grew up in a home where – as in so many others – feasting, noise, joy, and laughter coexisted with endurance, serenity, suffering and the acceptance of difficult situations; there work, effort, and necessity were intertwined with relaxation, tranquility and tenderness.


When her mother died, she and her sister Dolores decided that their world would no longer revolve around them. That world of poverty – which surrounded them and needed them – entered their lives.  The year was 1874, when they began their first steps in religious life, which would lead them to found the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart.


Raphaela Mary’s life would be full – in quantity and in quality. After putting down deep roots, solid foundations… her work would spread out like strong wings in space and time, while at the same time remaining on firm ground. She knew that she was a member of a very large family, the family of all the children of God, and throughout her entire life, nothing that affected these brothers and sisters of hers would seem irrelevant to her; she would do everything in her power that all might “know and love Him.”


She died in Rome on 6th January of 1925. After having traversed many roads, she has left us with a colorful landscape… in moments full of “sparks,” of color, of vivacity; yet there is also pain, suffering, and a monotony which must be contemplated in order to be fully appreciated. From there come these snippets that will inspire us to go further into her life:


“I belong completely to God. I know by experience how much He loves me and looks out for me. I place myself into the hands of my God with complete confidence, like a daughter in the arms of her mother. Seeing how small I am puts me in my element because I see all that God does in me and in whatever pertains to me, which is what I want.”


She believed that communion is the true way to the Kingdom, and she became, like Jesus, bread and wine even to the point of giving her life.


Raphaela Mary allowed herself to be “snared” by the love of God; she could not do otherwise than to respond with all her love at every moment.


“My Lord Jesus Christ is living in me, and so my entire being and all I do should reflect the life of Christ who lives in me… I must work to draw everyone to know Christ and to serve Him.’


Raphaela Mary kept her gaze on the Heart of Jesus, and He made her meek and humble.


“Only in Jesus, through Jesus and for Jesus, my entire life and my whole heart forever.”


Contemplating the world, she saw all men and women as children of God, and she wanted all to experience the love of God in their lives.









Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Rome, Italy

Via Marsala, 42, 00185 Roma RM, Italy

The incorrupt body of the Saint, venerated in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Via Piave, Rome




Polpettone alla Genovese (Meatless Meatloaf)


  • 2 large russet potatoes

  • 10 oz. (280g) green beans

  • 1/2 oz. (15g) dried porcini mushrooms

  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing and drizzling

  • 1/2 white onion, diced

  • Salt

  • Fresh black pepper

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 oz. (30g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or to taste

  • Marjoram leaves (fresh are preferred, but dried is fine)

  • Ground nutmeg

  • Breadcrumbs for topping



  1. Prep the vegetables by boiling the potatoes, skin on, until they are fork tender. Allow them to cool, peel them, and mash them in a large mixing bowl.

  2. Clean the green beans and boil until slightly tender—about 15 minutes. Drain and chop them.

  3. Soak the dried mushrooms for about 25 minutes. Drain them, chop them and set aside for later.

  4. Add the olive oil and onion into a skillet. Sauté over medium/high heat for a few minutes, until the onion is tender and slightly transparent. Stir in the chopped green beans and mushrooms, along with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Lower the heat to medium and continue to sauté for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them cool for 3-4 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, add the garlic, eggs and cheese into the potatoes. Mix thoroughly and season to taste with marjoram, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

  6. Preheat an oven to 395 degrees F (200 C).

  7. When the green beans/mushrooms have cooled a bit, mix them in with the potatoes.

  8. Brush a casserole dish (the size isn't particularly important, as long as it comfortably fits the mix) with a drop of olive oil. Lightly dust it with breadcrumbs and evenly spread the polpettone mixture inside. Use a fork to rake parallel lines across the surface of the polpettone.

  9. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil, sprinkle it with breadcrumbs, and bake the polpettone for 30-35 minutes, or until the surface becomes golden and slightly crispy. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

  10. Buon appetito!

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