Rafka was born in Himlaya, in Matn District, on 29 June 1832, the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, and was baptised Boutrossieh (pronounced in Arabic as the feminine of Peter).When Boutrossieh was 14 years old, she decided to become a nun and went straight to the Convent of Our Lady of Liberation at Bikfaya.
On February 9, 1855, the Feast of St. Maron, Boutrossieh commenced her novitiate at the convent in Ghazir and chose the name Rafqa (Like her mother's name). In 1871, Rafqa decided to become a cloistered nun rather than a teaching Sister, and, after praying in the Church of St. George, made the decision to join the Baladita Order, the monastic order now named the Lebanese Maronite Order of St. Anthony, founded in 1695.
That same night, Rafqa dreamed of three men. One with a white beard, one dressed like a soldier and the third was an old man. She recounted "One of the men said to me, Become a nun in the Baladita Order. Rafqa decided to leave immediately for the Monastery of St. Simon in Al-Qarn.
On July 12, 1871, at the age of thirty-nine, Rafqa began her novitiate into the new monastery and then on August 25, 1873, she “professed her perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the spirit of the strict Rule of the Baladita Order.”
In 1897, Rafqa was one of six nuns sent to found the order's new Monastery of St. Joseph of Gerbata in Ma’ad, along with Mother Ursula Doumit, the superior, where Rafqa remained for the last 17 years of her life. It was here that her suffering increased.
Three days before her death, Rafqa said, “I am not afraid of death which I have waited for a long time. God will let me live through my death.” Then on March 23, 1914, four minutes after receiving final absolution and the plenary indulgence, she passed away.
On August 25, 1873, she “professed her perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the spirit of the strict Rule of the Baladita Order. The nuns followed a very rigid daily schedule throughout the year. Prayer and manual labor became the rule of their daily lives. The nuns planted and harvested vegetables and grain in the surrounding fields.
In 1885 Rafqa decided to go to the Church and started to pray ‘Why, O my God, have you distance yourself from me and have abandoned me. You have never visited me with sickness! Have you perhaps abandoned me?
Since then, Rafqa suffered for seventeen years as a blind paralytic. Only God knew how much she had to endure. Her pain was continuous night and day because of her desire to share in the passion of Jesus Christ. Yet none of her sisters heard her murmuring or complaining. She often thanks God for her suffering.
She always believed that the sickness she has is for the good of her soul and his glory. She also stated that the sickness accepted with patience and thanksgiving purifies the soul as the fire purifies God
Even in this state, Rafqa was able to crawl to the chapel on the feast of Corpus Christi to the amazement of all the sisters. When asked about this, Rafqa replied, “I don’t know. I asked God to help me and suddenly I felt myself slipping from the bed with my legs hanging down; I fell on the floor and crawled to the chapel.” Till her death Rafqa was always thankful for her special form of communion
Rafqa was always quiet and calm, smiling, enduring even the greatest pain with patience, hoping in the Lord who promised to increase the glory of his faithful servants in heaven. By her patience, she can be compared to the greatest of the saints.
During her life these following miracles has been observed
She crawled, miraculously, to the church on the feast day of the Blessed Sacrament.
She asked to see for an hour, and she enjoyed seeing the sisters and the monastery.
She saw the heavenly glory in a state of ecstasy and vision.
She chewed the Blessed Sacrament and stayed without eating for whole day.
Then after her death, thousands of miracles poured: cure from cancer, cure from paralyses, cure from kidney and stomach diseases, cure from head diseases, cure from blindness, muteness, insanity and bleeding. The news of her miracles spread, people came from everywhere to Rafqa's tomb, asking for some soil, in order to get the blessing of curing.
These are some samples of her miracles after her death
Her tomb shined with miraculous lights.
The miracle of Mother Ursula Doumit, 1914