Sister Marie-Henri Ralinoro was born on May 5, 1884, and died on May 21, 1973, in Antananarivo (Androhibe).
She took her vows on October 24, 1916, in Ambohipo (Antananarivo).
Justine Ralinoro, as mentioned above, was born on May 5, 1884, in a village near Ambohimanga. Her mother died, and she was raised by an aunt who sent her to the primary school in Faravohitra. She was baptized in 1897, and her thoughts turned to religious life at that time. Her family was so strongly against the idea that they threatened to hand her over to the police, and her father even resorted to keeping her captive. She took refuge with Father de Villèle (s.j.) and Mother Radegonde, a nun from the order of Saint Joseph of Cluny.
She entered the novitiate of Ambohipo in 1910. She was one of the first six postulants of that novitiate to receive an initiation to Christian and religious life, to direct apostleship in villages, and to all the types of work that are useful to a community. Prayer, learning, and practical work were their main activities. It was a hard life, but it bore fruit later.
After she took her vows in 1916, Sister Marie-Henri was ready to serve. She first taught a preschool class in Ambavahadimitafo, and then took over supervision of the sewing room in Ambohipo. In 1923, she went to the leprosarium of Marana, and for the next thirty-two years, carried out her ministry among her compatriots there. The leprosarium had been founded only twelve years earlier, and it was still utterly destitute. The sisters working there did not have access to any efficient treatment for leprosy. As the only Malagasy sister in the community, Sister Marie-Henri had great moral influence on the patients there, who were extremely grateful to her. Her solicitude, her compassion, and her charitable heart were all felt by those who were privileged to have her visit with them at their bedside. She was a humble servant to the suffering, and her country can be very proud of her.
Sister Marcienne Fabre
Bulletin de la Congrégation, No. 297, Vol. 21, p. 1870, December 1975.
The above article, reprinted here by permission, is drawn from Hommes et Destins: Dictionnaire biographique d’Outre-Mer [People and Destinies: Overseas Biographical Dictionary], vol. 3, published in 1977 by the Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer (15, Rue la Pérouse, 75116 Paris, France). All rights reserved.