Rome (Friday, May 13, 2016, Gaudium Press) Father Rafael Manuel Almansa Riano, a Franciscan priest from Colombia, lived his whole life inside the boundaries of the Church. He was born in a rectory where his parents resided and he died with a remarkable fame of holiness. Pope Francis signed the decree of recognition of his heroic virtues and declared him Venerable.
In Colombia he is simply known as Father Almansa and the faithful recognized in him his humble way of life as well as his charity and kindness for all. He served as a Chaplain in the Church of San Diego in Bogota, where he resided since 1897. In this important center of the well off society of Bogota he attended with his advice and pastoral care to many people of all social backgrounds.
Father Almansa loved to administrate the sacraments, in particular the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and he lived a radical life of evangelical poverty, which motivated him to sleep on a bed made out of stones, without the use of any pillows or blankets. In his youth he suffered religious persecution under the regime of Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera and had to take refuge in Pamplona, and north of Santander, while he was carrying out his studies to the priesthood.
It is estimated that as much as a hundred thousand people were present at his funeral in 1927, due to the fact that he was already well known as a holy man. The City Council offered a marble monument for his grave as a tribute to his memory. The Archdiocese of Bogota has contacted about 20 witnesses of possible miracles that occurred through the means of his intercession. Among these miracles is the one of a woman who delivered her daughter during a remarkably difficult birth.
With information from Alpha and Omega and “El Tiempo”