Blessed Victoria Rasoamanarivo, 1848-1894
Victoria Rasoamanarivo was born into a prominent family on the island of Madagascar, off the southeastern coast of Africa in 1848, and baptized into the faith at the age of fifteen. A year after her conversion, Victoria married a man who was an alcoholic. Through her patience, understanding, and compassion, she tried to help him overcome his addiction.
Victoria founded the Catholic Action movement in Madagascar. This organization, with branches around the world, focuses on improving the conditions of the people in the nations in which they are located. Madagascar, at that time, was a kingdom made up of many tribes. They all spoke different languages and had a wide variety of religious customs. Malagasy people were a mixture of many cultures because the island bridged southern Asia and southern Africa.
There were few priests on the island, so Victoria ministered to the people, teaching them about the blessings they would receive through acceptance of Jesus as Lord. She helped the poor and promoted the rights of women.
Following an accident in 1888, Victoria’s husband died. She baptized him as he lay dying. She continued her spiritual work among the Malagasy people until her death in 1894. Two years later, Madagascar became a French colony and more of its people converted to Catholicism.
During his visit to the Madagascar capital of Antananarivo on April 30, 1989, Saint Pope John Paul II beatified Victoria Rasoamanarivo.
Discuss: What are some of the blessings you have received because of your faith?
This island nation is located in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa (Mozambique). The primary languages of this country are French and Malagasy.
Madagascar (sometimes called the “eighth continent”) contains a unique mix of plants and animals, many found nowhere else in the world. In December 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami hit the east coast of Madagascar, destroying the infrastructure and leaving close to 1,000 people homeless.
Encourage the young people to go to CatholicReliefServices.org to see how to get involved with the people of Madagascar.