Piedad de la Cruz Ortiz Real was born in Bocairente, Valencia, Spain, on 12th November 1842, being baptised as Tomasa.
On her First Communion she felt that God was calling her to sanctify her life. She used to say: "When I took my First Communion, I felt astonished and I sensed that God was calling me to have a live a religious life."
She completed her human and spiritual education at Colegio de Loreto de las Religiosas de la Sagrada Familia de Burdeos-Valencia. She wanted to enrol at that High School but her father obliged her to come back home. In spite of that, during that time she spent her days doing good to the children, the poor , the older and the sick people from her village, leading, at the same time, a life of piety and deep praying,
Some years later and, out of age, she joined the Carmelitas enclosed convent in Valencia. However, a kind of sickness made her come back with her family.
Confused by these events, she asked God to show her more clearly what He wanted from her life and where. «Yours, my Jesus, yours I want to be, but tell me where."
Later, and with the conviction that God was calling her to follow Him, she went to Barcelona. There, in the middle of her constant vocational search, she had an extraordinary experience, in which the Sacred Heart of Jesus told her: «Look at how men left me with their ingratitude. Can you help me carry this burden?" And she answered: «Lord, if you need a victim and you want me, here I am with you, Lord Jesús. y me quieres a mí, aquí estoy, Señor». Then, Jesús tells her: «Found, my daughter, and I hill always have mercy on you and your Congregation".
This experience left a definite trace in her vocation. There were no more doubts: God was asking her to create a new religious institution.
She wanted to help Christ to carry His Cross, the cross of the poor and the sick. Therefore, the river Segura floods, which in 1884 had destroyed the fields in Murcia and the shortage of religious Congregations in this area, made her feel oriented to those places in greater need. Because of this, one day, when she was accompanied by three religious students, she left Barcelona on her way to Puebla de Soto, one kilometre far away from Alcantarilla (Murcia) to found the first Terciary Religious Community of The Virgin of El Carmen.
Tomasa, — who took Piedad de la Cruz as her religious name, together with the other sisters and others that were coming in, devoted to the care of the sick and the orphan girls in a little hospital that she named "The Providence". The house soon was small and she had to open another one in Caudete.
At the beginning, when she decided to found, she asked the Sacred Herat of Jesús to do it in tribulation, as a sign that all of that CAME from God and it was not a personal invention. The Sacred Heart of Jesus granted her wish for sure… One day the sisters in Caudete arrived at Alcantarilla and they took the sisters away because the Institute had not got the diocesan approval yet, leaving Mother Piedad alone with Sor Alfonsa. Those were very painful days.
She asked for help to Bishop Bryand and Livermore, who sent her and her mate Alfonsa, to the Convent "Visitación de las Salesas Reales" in Orihuela to take a one-month religious training course and to project a new Foundation, taking Francisco de Sales as their spiritual guide. It was here where the Holy Spirit enlightened her intensely and, finally, on 8th September, 1890,a new Congregation was born: The Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesús.
Charism in no other than to approach the love and Providence of God to the poorest and simplest through the merciful Chist of Jesús open-armed in the Cross.
Piedad de la Cruz lived poorly and poor she died on 26th February, 1916. The people in the village said sadly: "A Saint has died!", " Our mother has died!".
On 21st March 2004, Pope John Paul II beatifies her in Rome.