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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.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 23, 2019

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine wil...

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September 23

 

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it,
especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Offering himself as a victim for the end of the war, Padre P...

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St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Francesco was born in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. His parents, Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa Di Nunzio, were peasant farmers, but they recognized their son was close to God. When he was only five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. It is said he often spoke with Our Lord, Our Lady and his guardian angel, who defended him against attacks by the devil. He joined the Capuchin Franciscans at the age of fifteen, and took the name Pio with his religious vows. After seven years of study he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.

During the same month he was ordained, Padre Pio was praying in the chapel when Our Lord and His Blessed Mother appeared and gave him the Stigmata. However, the wounds soon faded and then disappeared. “I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering,” Padre Pio told Our Lady, “but all in secret." Soon after, he experienced the first of his spiritual ecstasies.

Pio was in the military for a short time, but was discharged due to poor health. Upon his return to the monastery, he became a spiritual director. He had five rules for spiritual growth: weekly confession, daily Communion, spiritual reading, meditation, and examination of conscience. He often advised, "Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry."

In July of 1918, Padre Pio received the visible Stigmata, the five wounds of Christ (hands, feet and side), after offering himself as a victim for the end of the war. By 1933, the holy priest was recognized by the Church and by 1934 had attracted thousands of pilgrims that attended his masses and frequented his confessional.

On September 23, 1968, Padre Pio said his final Mass, renewed his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and died in his cell after suffering from grave physical decline. Before his death, Padre Pio orchestrated and oversaw the building of the “House for the Alleviation of Suffering,” a 350-bed medical and religious center.

He was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended the canonization ceremony.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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