Founder – Fr. Raimundo dos Anjos Beirao(1810-1878)
Fr. Raimundo dos Anjos Beirao, an apostolic missionary was born in Lisbon. A person with an open, joyful and integral spirit, right from young age gave a witness of His great love for God and for the neighbour, knowing to attend to all the poor and needy with profound simplicity, kindness and great trust in Divine Providence.
He was born in Lisbon, on March 8, 1810. He was ordained as a Priest of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi in 1833.
In the beginning of his Priestly Life, he started the Association of the Sons of SaintCajetan – boys whom he educated and who accompanied him in questing and distributing among the poor, the alms that were received. The contact with misery caused him to dream about starting a Religious Congregation that would minimize the suffering of the needy. Libânia do Carmo was the instrument that God provides him for the realization of this dream.
He died at the age of 68 in the Convent of Trinas, on July 13, 1878
Foundress – Blessed Maria Clara (1843-1899)
On June 15, 1843 Libânia do Carmo Galvão Mexia de Moura Telles e Albuquerque was born in Amadora, Portugal.
The Lord Jesus invited Libania, to follow him on the paths of detachment of the Franciscan life. She responded to this appeal, by joining a small and unknown group of Franciscan tertiaries, whom Fr. Raimundo dos Anjos Beirão supported with spiritual and material help. There, in a poor convent environment, Libania encountered the Christ of Francis and Clare of Assisi.
In 1869 she received the habit of the Capuchin order in the convent of São Patrício and assumed the name of “Maria Clara of the Child Jesus”.
Sr. Maria Clara was a woman of prayer, determination, kindness, humility, mercy and compassion. She gave herself totally and courageously, to make her life a gift of love, hope and comfort to all; especially to the sick, the elderly, the orphaned, the poor, the needy and the abandoned of society. While caring for their physical needs, she took care of their spiritual needs as well. Where there was someone in need of food, shelter, clothing, spiritual guidance, consolation or the Word of God, she reached out to them.
Her frequent exhortation, “Let us work with love and for love”, was a synthesis of her life. Charity was at the very core of her being. She was known as “A Sister to the poor – A face of the tenderness and mercy of God.”
She sent the first missionaries to Africa on 7 February 1883 and sent more to India on 24 May 1886
On December 1, 1899, Mother Maria Clara died. Her remains are in the crypt of the chapel of the Mother house in Lisbon, where many people still come to pray and ask her intercession. She was beatified on May 21, 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI, and her canonization process continues.