Blessed Eusebia Palomino Yenes

Eusebia Palomino Yenes was born on 15 December 1899 in Cantalpino, Spain, one of four children to Agustin Palomino and Juana Yenes. Her father worked as a seasonal farmhand, and during winter months when there was no work, he was forced to travel to nearby villages to beg for food, with the little Eusebia at his side. Overjoyed to be in her father’s company, she was too young to understand his humiliation in asking for “a loaf of bread, for the love of God”.

When Eusebia was 8 years old, she made her first “encounter” with Jesus in the Eucharist and felt called to belong forever and completely to him. A short time later, she was forced to leave school and work to help the family. When she was 12 she went to Salamanca with her older sister and worked as a nanny. Her love for God continued to grow and was expressed so well through the care she gave to the children.

Every Sunday afternoon, Eusebia went to the Oratory at the “Sancti Spiritus” School run by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians; here she got to know the Sisters. Noting her maturity and responsibility, they asked if she could volunteer her time to help them. She was immediately available to begin her “mission” and helped the Sisters in the kitchen, collecting firewood, cleaning the school, accompanying the students and running errands. She was always ready to “give a hand” and to transmit a joyful and simple spirit of service to those around her.

Although Eusebia’s secret desire was to become a “Daughter of Mary”, she did not ask to enter the Congregation because she was afraid she would be refused due to lack of money, resources and education. On 5 August 1922 Eusebia began her novitiate and made her religious profession two years later, when she was transferred to the house of Valverde del Camino in southwestern Spain.

In the beginning of the 1930s, tensions and persecutions against the Catholic Church began in Spain, and Eusebia made herself “available” to help. This time, she offered herself as a victim to God for the salvation of Spain.

Her offer was accepted and in August 1932 a mysterious illness struck her. Doctors were unable to diagnose this disease which was causing the limbs of her body to wind up, turning her into a “ball of yarn”. Her asthma, which had always been “mild”, had now worsened and added to her suffering. Two years later she had a pale complexion and told her sisters to beg God to save Catalonia and to keep it safe. Eusebia died on 10 February 1935 and had predicted not long prior that the anti-religious sentiment would transcend to conflict – this happened not long after as the Spanish Civil War.

The echo of voices of the townspeople of Valverde could be heard following her departure:  “A saint has died”.

The beatification process commenced on 15 December 1981 after the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued the official “nihil obstat” and titled her as a Servant of God; the diocesan process opened in the Diocese of Huelva and Bishop Rafael González Moralejo oversaw the diocesan process from 12 April 1982 until 15 September 1984. The C.C.S. validated this process in Rome on 20 December 1985 and received the Positio from postulation officials in 1990. Theologians approved the cause on 14 May 1996 as did the C.C.S. on 5 November 1996 which later allowed for Pope John Paul II to confirm her heroic virtue and name her as Venerable on 17 December 1996.

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