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St. Clelia Barbieri is the youngest founder of a religious order in the entire history of the Catholic Church. However, of all the recently canonized saints, she is one of whom the least is known.

Clelia Mary Rachel was born in the small northern town of Budrie in Italy on February 13, 1847.

Her parents, Joseph Barbieri and Hyacinthia Nanetti, were a pious couple who lived a very modest life. Joseph Barbieri died in 1855, when Clelia was only nine years old; and soon after, the intelligent young girl had to find work to help support her family.

Pious and unusually devout from a very early age, Clelia found new depths of spirituality and zeal when she was confirmed in 1856. She was further renewed and strengthened in her faith two years later, as was then the custom, when she first received the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Clelia began to dedicate herself to the work of propagating the faith in her own parish, and shortly thereafter became a catechist. Her remarkable piety and humble dedication brought her to the attention of her parish priest, Fr. Gaetano Guidi, who began to see great potential in her. He urged her and her close friend, Teodora Baraldi, to undertake the education of the young girls of the parish whose families were too poor to have them otherwise educated.

They were soon joined by Orsola Donati who is considered along with Clelia to be one of the true founders of the Little Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows. This name was given them by the Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Lucinda Maria Parocchi, whose blessing and support they enjoyed from the outset of their vocations. The Archbishop also suggested that they put their congregation under the patronage of St. Francis of Poala. Clelia was twenty-one.

Though young in years, Clelia’s piety and devotion, especially to Christ present in the Blessed Eucharist, was profoundly deep. From her childhood, she had been drawn to prayer and the practice of the virtues and also the mortification of her body.

She was seen in ecstasy and often credited with the ability to read hearts. She became seriously ill shortly after the Congregation was established and for some time appeared close to death. Miraculously though, she recovered; but shortly thereafter she once more became ill. Clelia died on July 13, 1870, at twenty-three years old.

Clelia Barbieri was canonized in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, on August 9, 1989, by Pope John Paul II, who held her up as an example of how the Faith should be nourished, first in the family and then in the parish.

 


 

 

 

DAILY QUOTE for February 22, 2019

In times of desolation, God conceals Himself from us so that...

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February 22

 

In times of desolation,
God conceals Himself from us
so that we can discover for ourselves
what we are without Him.

St. Margaret of Cortona

  
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SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Margaret of Cortona

There Margaret found the broken body of her lover, dead for...

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St. Margaret of Cortona

Margaret was born in Laviano, a little town in Tuscany, to a farmer and his wife. When she was only seven, her mother died and her father remarried a hard and difficult woman, who spared no great love for the free-spirited girl.

Margaret ran away with a rich young man. For nine years she lived in sin, and during that time bore him a son. Her immoral relationship caused great scandal, and Margaret strove to convince him of marriage, but to no avail. One day, the man took his dog and went riding. When he did not return, Margaret became anxious. After some time, his dog returned and led her to a forest. There Margaret found the broken body of her lover, dead for some days, and took it as a sign from God to amend her life.

Then Margaret traveled to Cortona where she lived a life of prayer and penance near the Franciscan Friars. She devoted herself to caring for the sick, living off of alms, eating and sleeping little, and eventually took the habit of the third order of St. Francis. She sent her son to school in Arezzo, where he later entered the Franciscan Order.

During the twenty-nine years she lived as a penitent, Margaret often spoke with God. A result of her dedication to the sick is the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy, which she founded. She died at age fifty, and was proclaimed a saint immediately. The people of Cortona built a church in her honor, where her remains are housed. She was officially canonized in 1728.

WEEKLY STORY

Cause of Our Joy

We are well aware Our Lady is constantly working and spreadi...

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Cause of Our Joy

We are well aware Our Lady is constantly working and spreading her graces as we travel to homes with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. On a recent visit in south Texas, we were surprised to see Our Lady’s visit to one household as the culmination of a beautiful story of grace, nine months in the making.  

Our hosts had gathered friends and neighbors from their small town on a sunny afternoon to welcome the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. As the program progressed, the lady of the house asked to tell a story about a certain grace she had received.

Two years ago, her daughter had suffered a miscarriage in her first pregnancy, which had a devastating effect on the family. This past year, the same daughter again became pregnant.  However, rather than being a cause for rejoicing, the family was apprehensive due to what had happened previously. Our hostess then explained how she and her husband vowed to take a dozen roses at the beginning of each month of the pregnancy to Our Lady’s shrine at the local parish, asking the Queen of Heaven for a safe delivery.

The florist of the town, upon hearing the story, took great care to make an extra-beautiful bouquet in honor of our Blessed Mother.

For nine months, the couple was faithful in bringing the flowers and asking Our Lady’s powerful help. To their great surprise, the final time coincided with our visit with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Our hostess began to cry tears of joy in telling the story, so honored was she to have such a clear sign of the intercession of the Mother of God. She then told that the doctors all gave reports of a healthy pregnancy, and the child was due any day now. The last bouquet of roses, lovingly arranged by the town’s florist, was placed at the feet of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in thanksgiving for a healthy pregnancy and their soon to be newborn grandchild.

We later learned that a healthy boy was born two days after the visit. Not only did Our Lady grant new life to a family who was so eager to welcome it, but she also restored the hope and strengthened the faith of this family and all who were gathered to share their joy. This easily brought to mind one of the beautiful titles of Our Lady from the Litany of Loreto: Causa nostrae letitiae, Cause of Our Joy. May Our Lady bring to the fullness of joy all who invoke her with confidence.

By Ben Broussard

Become a Child Of Mary

We are well aware Our Lady is constantly working and spreading her graces as we travel to homes with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. On a recent visit in south Texas, we were surprised to see Our Lady’s visit to one household as the culmination of a beautiful story of grace, nine months in the making.

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