January 23 – Blessed Josephine Mary of Benigánim


We call to mind today the life and witness of an Augustinian nun of contemplative life. While initially we may wonder what she may have to say to us busy people of today’s world, her life grounded in faith, and devoted to prayerful recollection and generous, quiet service to others, calls to mind basic values of the Gospel that are important in every age and for all believers.

Josephine Teresa was born into a poor family at Benigánim (Valencia), Spain, on January 9, 1625. She entered the local Augustinian convent of the discalced observance of the Order as a lay sister, taking the name Josephine Mary of Saint Agnes. This convent had been founded in 1597 by the Archbishop of Valencia, Saint John of Ribera. All of Josephine’s religious life was marked by the workings of grace. While her demeanor was simple and humble and her efforts dedicated to the service of the community, she possessed a remarkable spirit of contemplation. Though her formal education was minimal, her gifts of counsel and theological understanding were very evident, to the extent that she was admitted among the choir sisters in 1663. Mother Agnes, as she was commonly known, died on January 21, 1692 and was beatified by Pope Leo XIII on February 26, 1888. Her remains are preserved in the Augustinian convent at Benigánim. 

Blessed Josephine exemplifies well the Augustinian values of humility and simplicity in the service of others. These, together with her attraction toward the interior life and her contemplative spirit are characteristics which recommend her to society today, in search of remedies for anxiety and the tensions of life.