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Awakening of a Life
The intoxicating perfume of the orange blossoms, in the Huerta murciana, perhaps unseasonably filled the air on that 30 September, 1893, when the little Josefa Alhama Valera came into the world.
The first of nine siblings of very poor family, she was born in a shed in Siscar, in the district of Santomera, Murcia (Spain). She was baptized in the parish church dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary. Her father, Jose Antonio, was a farm laborer, with very little work, on a land at times exhausted by the sun of the Spanish Levant and with scarce irrigation in those days and at other time devastated by catastrophic floods that almost always left some human victim.
Josefa grew up, vivaciousand intelligent, playful and mischievous like all children. She was an alert, active girl, gifted with an innate and extraordinary piety. Her escapades were the typical ones, but already impregnated with the sweet perfume of holiness. At age seven and eight, she was taken to house of Santomera’s parish priest. There two sisters of the priest, Agnes and Mary, educated her.
When she was nine, impelled by a great desire to make her First Communion, at a time in which it was usually made at age twelve, one morning when Mass was being celebrated by a visiting priest, she took advantage of the occasion to “steal” Jesus. On that day she began an intimated relation with Him that was to last throughout her life.