Witnesses of harity, risking their life to the end in the mission
Our first sisters Clara of Grau, Francisca de las Llagas of Alcalá, Serafina of Benaguacil and the novice María de los Desamparados of Suera, who died infected with cholera while they were assisting sick people at the beginning of our history, were "martyrs of charity" giving up their life for the others and later, our Sisters Rosario of Soano, Serafina of Ochovi and Francisca Javier of Rafelbuñol, were "martyrs of faith" during the Spanish war. After them, other sisters, following the example of Jesus and other saints, did not fear to offer their own lives in order to take care of the life of the others.
In the month of November 1985, the Nevado del Ruiz, an apparently dormant Vulcan located in the Tolima region (Colombia), woke up from its slumber and, in a short time, erupted. Its lava, ash and mud, joined with the water, effect of its snow melted, and an avalanche of unimaginable proportions ran and buried forever the small town of Armero where we had one community and one school. Faced with the preannounced threat, the sisters decided not to leave the place but remain among their people and, at the time of danger, to welcome them in their house and School. However the river of mud speedily flowing from the mountain, wiped away everything: the small town of Armero became a cemetery where Sirter Bertalina Marín and the novice Nora Engrith were buried forever. Another sister, Julia Alba Saldarriaga, died later because of the wounds she suffered getting into contact with the burning mud. We consider them "victims of charity" as well as the sisters in Spain at the beginning of the Congregation.
Two years later, in July 1987, our Colombian sister Inés Arango, missionary among the indigenous tribes of the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, lost her life, together with the missionary Capuchin and Bishop Alejandro Labaka, from Spain. Driven by their great ardor to announce Christ, attempting to enter into contact with a tribe rather closed in its own culture and, in addition quite aggressive against companies that were invading their lands, the natives killed with spears the two missionaries. Bishop Labaka and Sr. Inés were not martyrs for the cause of faith but they were witnesses and messengers of God's love for the good of Tagaeri Indians.