St. Ardina Malika Youssef (1992): Om al Ghalaba – the mother of the poor


Born in 1910 in Souhag, Om Abdel Sayed manifested spiritual maturity at an early age. She lost her mother early and her father was harsh on her. When she was 7 years old she used to ran away a far distance to pray. She trained herself at an early age to fast for all Coptic churches fasting. Even when her father would force her to eat meat or soup with meat to break her fast she never obeyed him in this matter. She always wanted to be a nun. But she did not succeed even though she put dust and sand on her eyes to be blind as her family told her that nuns are only for the blind and the crippled.

Ardina Malika Youssef - the Mother of the Poor.jpg

Her father forced her to marry an abusive and evil person when she was 14 years old.   She stayed for 40 months being hit by her husband with a fig branch full of thorns. While her body bleeds she was kneeling and praying to God to forgive her husband and that God will show him His way. God listened to her and on the last days of his life her husband went back to God. God gave her the date of his death which she prepared for even the coffin. She also told her husband that he’s going to heaven.

(Another recount is: This woman lived in an abusive relationship, and didn’t leave in spite of her husband’s violence. She instead implored God, in prayer, to forgive this man and save his soul. Ultimately, her husband left her for another woman. Many years later, he became sick and the other woman threw him out. He returned in shame to his wife, the Mother of the Poor. She accepted him gladly and nursed him bach to health. Despite it all, the man was still a bad husband and Father. It was only at the end of his life that the man repented of what he did.’)

Our God Jesus appeared to her to become His servant in His name and her service was noticed in the inner part of Egypt. She used to walk miles and miles on foot talking about Jesus. Jesus was walking in front of her always pointing out the houses needing to hear the word of God and service. In the 1950s she moved to Shopra, a suburb in Cairo where she served the Coptic organization for years. She used to serve with Father Akhnokh the parish priest of St Mina.

In Shobra with the fathers help she visited houses never been reached by the church before. She took care of the sick and people who live alone and have no one visiting them. In the early mornings she goes out to care for the sick physically and spiritually. She never worried about herself getting old and never worried how high the houses she visited were. Even though she was old her happiness came from caring for the sick and giving to the needy. 

One day she found a homeless person and invited him to her house to care for him. But unfortunately he passed away and she realized she will put herself into legal proceedings so she prayed until the man rose from the dead and went in his own wayOne day she asked God to stop the rain so she could help give communion to a sick person with the priest. With her prayer she brought eyesight to one and the cripple to walk. It was common knowledge that a lady who cannot conceive after visiting her conceives.

One day a lady missionary who was working with her to visit a sick person on the7th floor thought that the place was too high for her as she’s old but when they entered the building she disappeared and the missionary found her waiting for her in the room. The same thing happened going down the building. Her famous words were God cures (whatever is the person’s name) or God gives (whatever is the person’s name) what she needs. And when God listens to her and a miracle occurred she says God did not do it for me but because He loves the poor.


Stopping the rain

“If You don’t stop the rain, I won’t serve Your children anymore!” Father Enoch Samaan explains, “The righteous mother Idreena Youssef (known among the people as ‘the Mother of the Poor’) attended a Liturgy I officiated, and she was to accompany me as I bring the Holy Eucharist to the sick and bed-ridden. It was winter, and the rain was fierce. After the conclusion of the Liturgy, as I carried the Eucharist, we found the rain intensifying, so I told her, ‘Mother, let us sit and wait for the rain to calm down.’

She replied, ‘Father, is the rain going to control you? Isn’t Elijah just like us? In fact, you’re carrying the Body of the Lord and His Blood; you’re better than Elijah. Tell the Lord, ‘Stop the rain, I’m walking out with You!’ I looked to her and laughed, and answered, ‘You should tell Him.’ Indeed she did, and we began to walk out, and I said we would walk out according to her faith. As we took our first steps outside, the rain intensified to an astonishing degree, so I laughed and told her, ‘Mother Idreena, you’re going to drown us!’

I ran quickly back to the church, and she stood there in the rain, and I found her shouting, wagging her finger up to heaven, ‘Listen, my Beloved, if You don’t stop the rain, I won’t serve your children anymore!’ Immediately the sky was shut, and the sun emerged from behind the clouds. In joy, she turned to me and called out, ‘Father! Let’s go!”

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