Rome (Italy). In line with the Synod on: Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment (Cf. Working Document nos. 213-214), in the month of July, we share the tenth study on the journey of accompaniment in the youth of Saints, Blesseds, Venerables, and Servants of God.

Lives given in the name of fraternal charity: Sr. Carmen Moreno and Sr. Amparo Carbonell

The title of our reflection recalls death, a key point of existence, that they had prepared for from their youth. Their lives given in the sign of fraternal charity are like ripe fruit of a solid tree of Christian virtues cultivated in the family and in the FMA Institute. As far as the family is concerned, I want to emphasize a particular aspect of our martyrs: the relationship with their sisters woven into the family environment and, as far as life in the Institute is concerned, the path of holiness lived in the tasks performed, one in the service of authority, the other as a female factotum.  Precisely through these services, both expressed their choice to live fraternal charity.

Sr. Carmen Moreno was born on August 24, 1885 in Villamartín (Spain, province of Cadiz) as the fourth child of wealthy farmers. She lost her father at the age of 7 and moved with her family to her grandparents’ house in Utrera, near Seville. Not far from their new home there were the Salesians who ran a large educational work. In them, and especially in Don Ernesto Oberti, mamma Fabiana with her five orphans found a father who helped them and comforted them. Contact with the Salesian environment made them sensitive to youth and helped them to discover the beauty of Christian life and the value of consecration to God.

Carmen and her older sister, Paz, were attracted by the life of the FMA known in Seville, during the years they lived at the boarding school, and decided to be part of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. Paz entered first and made her vows in Seville on August 28, 1903. Carmen followed her and made her consecration in Ecija five years later on October 22, 1908. Her mother expressed some resistance to Carmen’s decision, but eventually found the strength to grant her permission. A year after Carmen’s first profession, Paz consecrated herself to the Lord forever (September 5, 1909) and, in the same city, Carmen made her perpetual profession on September 20, 1914. We do not know the details of their relationship, but we can imagine with what affection Paz accompanied Carmen. From the biographical data, it appears that both were strong and decisive women who left an imprint of their spirit on the people who knew them.

Sr. Amparo Carbonell was born on 9 October 1893 in Alboraya (Spain, province of Valencia), into a poor family of farmers. At Baptism, her parents gave her the name of Maria de los Desamparados, entrusting her to the Virgin of the Disconsolate. That long name was immediately shortened according to current usage: the child was called Amparo. The Virgin of the Disconsolate will make her a consolation. The little girl grew up with her brothers and sisters, humble and obedient, even if her character did not spontaneously tend to be docile. Soon she collaborated in farm work, where she experienced the weight of sacrifice and the value of bread earned through sweat. Amparo was generous, capable of forgiveness, open to everything that led to knowing the Lord. She proved to have a generous, sensitive heart with a great thirst for God.

She met the FMA in Valencia, where she had moved for reasons of works, and she attended their school. Prayer gradually made her discover the voice of the Lord who was calling her.

Amparo began her formation period in Barcelona Sarriá on January 31, 1921.  She was distinguished by her modesty, simplicity, and generous dedication to all kinds of work. She was favored with a robust and fatigue resistant body. She made her first profession on August 5, 1923, but soon afterwards, her health collapsed: she was struck by an illness that weakened her and made her more fragile. What it failed to weaken was her determination not to spare herself in anything. She will continue to be outstanding for her serene, humble, and generous dedication to clean environments and to taking care of the gardens.


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