José María Rubio y Peralta
Feast Day: May 2 (memorial); May 4 (Proper Calendar of the Society of Jesus)
Canonized: May 4, 2003
Beatified: October 6, 1985
Venerated: January 12, 1984
Born in 1864 and raised in a large farm family in Spain, José entered the seminary in 1876 when he was only 12 years old. After ordination in 1887, he worked as a parish priest and was a professor at the seminary in Madrid.
After a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, José asked his bishop for permission to join the Society of Jesus. Becoming a Jesuit was something he had always wanted, but he delayed this dream for many years because as a young priest he took on the responsibility of caring for an elderly priest.
Father José took his first vows as a Jesuit when he was 44. He became known as the “Apostle of Madrid.” People came from great distances to celebrate the sacrament of Penance with him because of his compassion and healing words. He helped people to change their lives and to live for Christ.
He had a great love and concern for the poor and he preached often about our responsibility for our brothers and sisters. Many lay people came to Father José to ask how they could help. He guided them to open tuition-free schools, to nurse the sick, to find housing for needy families and jobs for the unemployed. Father José also provided for the spiritual needs of the poor by making the sacraments more available to them and by organizing missions where he preached about Jesus’ care for them.
At the center of the priest’s life and ministry was his love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He told the people he ministered with that prayer must always come first. He said that it is through prayer that we receive the strength to serve others.
He died in 1929, and the Church has honored Father José Rubio as a saint since 1985. Pope John Paul II praised him for following the example of Christ. José’s motto was, “Do what God wants and want what God does!” Like José, we can do what God wants by carrying on Christ’s work in the world. We can reach out to our brothers and sisters in need through prayer and action.
Connecting to Be My Disciples®
Grade 5, chapter 15