Her name was Ofelia. She was born in Mexico and grew up in an orphanage there. In her early twenties she made her way to California, where she married and raised twelve children. She and her family lived in the Hispanic district of Sacramento, and though her home was small, the doors of her house and her heart were always wide open to anyone in need.

Besides her own children, Ofelia helped raise many hundreds of others—loving, teaching, and caring for them. She helped new arrivals from Mexico find jobs and get settled in her community.

A devout Catholic all of her life, she spent many evenings at her church preparing newcomers for catechism. Everyone knew they could find whatever kind of help they needed—food, friendship, comfort, guidance, inspiration—from Ofelia.

I met her because one of her daughters, Irene, became a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and moved to Ananda Village. She said to me a few times, “Oh, you should come meet my mother sometime.” So one day, Irene drove me and a few friends to Sacramento to meet Ofelia. Little did I know what awaited me.

A tiny woman met us at the door, with silver-white hair, soft olive skin, a radiant smile, and rich brown eyes that were filled with love for God. But what I noticed most were her boundless energy and total openness to everyone. We were all a part of her family, and she drew all of us in as though she’d known us forever.

Even while we were there, relatives, friends, and neighbors began dropping in. Wanting to feed them, she said to me (whom she’d known for less than an hour), “Go make some tortillas,” and pointed to a huge bag of masa harina, the kind of flour used for tortillas.

Feeling way over my head at this request, I said fumblingly, “But Ofelia, I’ve never made tortillas before.”

“Oh,” she replied, “it’s easy. I’ll show you.” And she did, and I made my first batch of tortillas to feed everyone. (They were all eaten, so I guess I didn’t fail completely.)

Over the years, Ofelia would often visit Irene and her husband, Nishtan, at Ananda Village. Twice during her stays she was blessed by a vision of Master. The first time was after she had fallen and broken her ankle. Because she needed to remain immobile, she stayed here with her daughter to recuperate.

Late one night Ofelia couldn’t sleep because of the throbbing pain. She had been trying to rest on a small window seat, using pillows to keep her ankle elevated. Praying to God for help, Ofelia suddenly saw Yogananda seated just beyond her elevated foot. Lovingly, he placed the hem of his robe over her ankle. Immediately the pain vanished, and over time her ankle healed.

The second time Master appeared to her was a longer encounter, during which they talked about many things. At the end, she asked him, “How often do you come here [to Ananda]?”

“I am always here,” he replied.

Ofelia passed away at home on May 12, 2019. Fittingly, it was Mother’s Day. Her house was filled with people who had been helped by her and loved her.

Throughout her life, she had repeated the prayer in Spanish, “Con Dios, por Dios, y para Dios,” meaning “With God, for God, and through the grace of God.” During her last months, as Irene cared for her, Ofelia told her to repeat those words before she did anything, so that she wouldn’t make mistakes.

“But,” Irene asked, “what if I say them, and still make mistakes?”

Ofelia replied with the simple faith that had filled her life. “If you say, ‘With God, for God, and through the grace of God’ before everything, there won’t be any mistakes.”

As one of Ofelia’s children, I share her wisdom and her love with you. Saints are found in unexpected places.

With joy,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. Such a beautiful and uplifting article, thank you very much Devi ji. Remember reading the encounter before, but only now knew who the person was. Aum ?

  2. Gripping story May her soul rest in peace and in heaven

  3. Thank you for these beautiful stories of Ofelia. I had met her a few times, and was very impressed with her love and devotion for God. She did God’s work on this earth, and will continue wherever she goes. She is an inspiration, and thank you for sharing it.

  4. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
    Wow! What a beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing. How blessed are we to part of this family and learn about the Saints and their experiences and with Master ?

  5. Very inspiring. I’ll try to repeat the prayer.
    To God
    For God
    By grace of God
    Before doing anything

  6. Thank you for sharing this very touching and moving story about one of the world’s unsung heroines. Well, she is now sung because of you. Sending condolences to Irene and her family.

  7. Simple and beautiful like this saint Ofela ! Will remember to say when in doubt”‘With God, for God, and through the grace of God’ Thank you Deviji for sharing this story.

  8. Heart-touchingly beautiful, Devi. Thank You. Love & Blessings, j

  9. Aum Guru
    Yes ,Those who live for god ,god take care of them though master .

  10. Thank you Devi, for these stories of Ofelia, I was fortunate enough to have her as a roommate on a trip to Laurdes and Fatima. She was a blessing to me and everyone on the trip, spreading her love of God and love of everyone wherever we went. She was truly a saint here on earth.

  11. Beautiful beautiful story. I had never heard of her. Special. Thank you for sharing?

  12. What a great Soul. Love and Blessings to her. She enriches now the Astral Spheres.

  13. I’d heard a version of this story years ago, and so appreciate hearing more about the life of Ofelia and her experience with Master. Thank you so much for sharing, Devi.

  14. Thank you for sharing this saintly soul’s story with us Deviji. Her eyes are so full of joy and Love. She must be One with Divine Mother now.
    With Swamiji’s Love and Light

  15. Wow!…What a Special Loving Story!!!…Loved it!…It’s the Abundant Radiant Love that Counts no matter what Path One Follows!!!
    Muchas Gracias, Mahalo, and Thanks,
    Stewart (Ed)

  16. Dear Devi ,
    Thank you for sharing this story. I was blessed in my very early years of my spiritual journey to work along side with her in the Amanda Community gardens in Seattle. She was visiting her daughter; Ester there. I knew from the minute I met her she was a saint spreading love and light to everyone. Irene has been a good friend and colleague at the LWS. She has always followed in her Mother’s footsteps.
    Aum, Aum. ?

  17. Thank you for sharing Ofelia with us. Her loving service to God is so inspiring.

  18. Beautiful.
    She is now WITH God.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  19. Wow what a powerful story, thank you for being guided to share. Aum aum aum

  20. That’s so wonderful…. if each one of us takes a leaf from Ofelia’s life the world would be all love & care

  21. What a joy to read this ,very inspiring. Thank you beloved sister ?

  22. excellent idea .. spread this to the world ,, so many saints in our midst .. … i buried my good friend , who herslf was a sanit as well … we need these reminders in this life !!!!! thank you for sharing !!!!

  23. Great Soul. Her prayer “With God, for God, and through the grace of God” reminds me the chant “From Joy I came, For Joy I live and in sacred Joy I melt again”

  24. Filled with joy reading this.. Thanks for sharing

  25. soo inspiring all the way she only gave and gave and gave WITH GOD ,FOR GOD ,AND WITH THE GRACE OF GOD AUM AUM AUM

  26. Heart touching.Feeling loved and blessed by her and you.
    Simple and most effective prayer.
    Will try to remember and repeat.
    Thank you.
    Jai Guru.

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