Extraordinary plenary session to nominate Josefina Cortadella as Favorite Daughter

Josefina Cortadella, at the Man Mercedàries Talk and audiovisual

On Tuesday, April 26, an extraordinary plenary session will be held at Martorell Town Hall to name Missionary Josefina Cortadella i Archs as the Favorite Daughter of our town. Cortadella, 74, has been working for the benefit of the community in Angola for more than 30 years, and has also carried out important humanitarian work in our country for the benefit of the most vulnerable. The session will start at 8 pm and can be followed live on Ràdio Martorell 91.2 FM.

The Plenary Session must approve of Cortadella becoming a Favorite Daughter. A distinction that Jaume Muxart (2002) has already achieved in Martorell; Montserrat Campmany (2010), Màrius Garcia (2016) and Salvador Esteve (2021). To make this possible, one entity – the NGO Mans Mercedàries – had to make the proposal, and nine more entities had to support it.

The head of the NGO Mans Mercedàries, Montse Torras, points out that “we had the support of the nine entities, the alumni association of the La Mercè School, the La Mercè Basketball Club, Caritas Parroquial, the Arc de Sant Martí, the NGO Ocularis, the Gegants de Martorell, the Patronat de la Cavalcada de Reis, the Associació Catalunya Contra el Càncer a Martorell, the Penya Blanc-i-blava and the Penya Barcelonista ”.

Montse Torras, ONG Mans Mercedàries

The initiative alleges “its vocation of service, from Martorell to the world, making it a reference for many people and entities that, based on their example, have been involved in the fight against inequalities between countries “Rich” and impoverished countries to make Martorell a people more supportive and committed to peace and social justice.

He added that Cortadella continues to give talks and interviews to explain the reality of the African population, and that it raises funds to continue development cooperation projects, through Manos Mercedarias, to receive the support of families, businesses and companies in Martorell that they sponsor the children of Kudielela and to continue with the medical care in the dispensary, mainly of pregnant women, and with the training of thousands of children, adolescents and young people in the school of the Mission.

A whole life dedicated to solidarity and care for others

Josefina Cortadella i Archs is a mercenary missionary who has dedicated her life to working for the benefit of the community, both in Catalonia and in Africa, and who has been especially dedicated to caring for women and children in situations more vulnerable.

Born in Martorell on August 18, 1947, Josefina is the eldest of four siblings. She studied at the La Mercè school in Martorell -then popularly known as ‘Les Monges’, where her religious vocation was born, which led her to study the postulancy in Corella (Navarra) and the novitiate at the Institut de Religioses of Our Lady of La Mercè de Sant Gervasi (Barcelona), since 1968.

From a very young age, his spirit of service to the community became clear, actively participating in the JAC (Catalan Agricultural Youth) of the parish of Santa Maria de Martorell and in the pastoral care of La Mercè. She was also a volunteer teacher of handicrafts in the women’s section.

Boys and girls have always been the center of his vocation, and before entering the convent, he acted as a monitor in camps for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, here in Rellinars and Vallromanes. His experience led him to create, together with others, the Martorell-Montserrat Colonies, pioneers in leisure education activities and summer camps for children, adolescents and young people for about 50 years.

In 1971 she professed as a nun. He continued in the convent until 1974, while pursuing his high school and basic theological studies. From then until 1989 he moved to the community of El Polvorí, in Barcelona. He was ordained on October 12, 1976 and graduated as a social worker, while collaborating in the community nursery in this neighborhood.

Later (1978) he moved to the community of Estrellas Altas (Zona Franca), but continued to work at the Polvorí. From 1986, together with the Mercedarian parents, he began working to take in young people and women who were coming out of Wad-Ras prison.

In 1989 she joined the community of Les Roses in Sant Feliu de Llobregat, where she worked with women released from prison to help them reintegrate. He also joins the training team in Zaragoza and Valladolid.

In 1992, he asked to go to the Mercedarian missions and was sent to Angola, a country at war in 1975. There he will work to help people fleeing the conflict, feeding a malnourished and devastated population and caring for the wounded. After the war, in 2002, his community in the neighborhood of Villa Matilde (Malanje) set up an orphanage to take in children who had lost their families in the conflict.

Today, 30 years later, Josefina continues in Angola to lead the community of mercenary missionaries in Villa Matilde, in a congregation led by 5 sisters. The mission is the ‘Montserrat Vilanova Puertas’ School -where about 1,600 children and young people study until high school-; a small ‘Posto de Saude’ or medical dispensary; and the orphanage that cares for about thirty children in Kudielela (a word that in the Abantu language means “hope that is already fulfilled”). A center where hundreds of children have been cared for; giving them a home, food, medical care and studies. Many of the kudielelas have completed their university or professional studies.

Everyone who knows her describes her “as an extroverted person, vital and with a great organizational capacity; and it is loved and respected by all those who have worked there and that surround it ”.

Source: Web de notícies de l'Ajuntament de Martorell by martorelldigital.cat.

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