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St. Maria Micaela: History of the first house for women in situation of prostitution

20 April, 2023
St. Micaela: History of the first house for women in situation of prostitution

On April 21, 1845, St. Maria Micaela, foundress of the Sisters Adorers Slaves of the Blessed Sacrament and Charity, opened the first house for young girls and women in situations of prostitution and on the street.

This milestone was set in the first decades of the 19th century, when St. Maria Micaela began to visit the sick in the hospital of San Juan de Dios in Madrid (Spain). There she discovered the problems of exploitation, loneliness and helplessness in which many young girls and women living in prostitution found themselves.

In that hospital took place the first of the three moments that shaped Micaela’s life until she gave herself completely to Jesus the Eucharist and to women who suffered violence.  Specifically, during her visit to St. John of God on February 6, 1844, her eyes were opened when she learned the story of the one she called the “girl with the shawl”.

St. Maria Micaela herself narrates this encounter in detail in her autobiography: “this story and many others… from here was born my first inspiration to put up a house…”. At that moment, in fact, the first idea of opening a house to welcome these young women when they left the hospital and help them to rebuild their lives .

Thus, the following year, in 1845, Micaela founded the first house at 8 Dos Amigos Street in Madrid, together with her friend Ignacia Riso de Grande and a board of 7 ladies who were involved in the project, but especially thanks to the intercession of the Lord, who guided the steps of the saint.

During these first years in Madrid, it became necessary to change the location of this home, because, in spite of the difficulties, the work of the foundress was increasing. Thus, this home was moved to 19 Fomento Street, then to 14 Jardines Street, to 1 D. Pedro street and, finally, to 74 Atocha street.

In 1850, St. Maria Micaela took over full management of the home, stayed with the girls and took the name of Mother Sacramento. She sought the collaboration of teachers to help her in the education of “her girls”.

This way of living, based on Eucharistic adoration and dedication to helping the neediest women, had an impact on some of her teachers and other young women around her. As a result of all this, in 1856 the first group of women met and, with ecclesiastical approval, began to live this new charism of the Adorers, Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament and Charity, with St. Maria Micaela as their foundress. A charism of Adoration and Liberation.

Today, more than 165 years later, the Congregation is present in 25 countries in 4 different continents. Since then and until today, like St. Maria Micaela, the Sisters Adorers work offering alternatives and real opportunities to women who live in different situations of exclusion.