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Magdalena was born on March 1, 1774, into an ancient and prominent family of Verona, Italy. She was a descendant of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany outside whose Castle of Canossa Emperor Henry IV of Germany did penance in 1076, in submission to Pope St. Gregory VII who had excommunicated him.

Her father, the Marquis Octavius of Canossa, died in 1779, and her mother remarried leaving her children to be raised by relatives. Suffering keenly this abandonment by her earthly mother, Magdalena had recourse to the Virgin Mother, “I wept … before Mary, invoking her in tears and calling her by the name of ‘mamma!’ … little by little I placed myself in the heart of Mary.”

In 1791 she entered a Carmelite convent but returned home after eight months. The Order of Mount Carmel was not her calling.

As Magdalena matured, she assumed the title of Marchioness and became the head of the large household at their palace of Canossa, a leading lady of her time.

When the Napoleonic Wars broke out, the Canossa family took temporary refuge in Venice where Magdalena had a dream in which Our Lady showed her needy girls, poor children and sick people.

Upon their return, Magdalena began a work to assist the sick and the wounded, particularly girls and those left abandoned. On several occasions, the young Marchioness hosted the conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte who, impressed with her work, granted her an empty convent for her enterprise.

As other women joined Magdalena’s work, they became known as the “Canossians”. She was invited to open a house in Venice from which they went on to make foundations in Milan, Trent and Bergamo, and other places in northern Italy. But it was in Venice that the foundress drew up the rule for the new congregation, which she called the Daughters of Charity.

In 1828, the order was approved by Pope Leo XII.

Magdalena became poor with the poor, primarily concerned with the neglected of society, but went on to open schools and colleges as well, making special provision for the deaf and dumb.

Developing great powers of prayer and recollection despite her busy life, the saintly foundress attained high levels of contemplation. On several occasions she was found rapt in ecstasy and, at least once, was seen lifted from the ground.

In 1834 she was taken ill and died on April 10, 1835.

 


 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 9, 2020

If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your...

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July 9

 

If you persevere until death
in true devotion to Mary,
your salvation is certain.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

“Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!” exclaimed Fr...

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St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Augustine Zhao Rong, is one of a group of 120 Catholics, among many more who were martyred between the years 1648 and 1930 in China.

Having come to China through Syria in the seventh century, down through the centuries Christianity has in turn thrived or gone into hiding, contingent upon the relations of China with the outside world.

Of the 120 martyrs mentioned above, eighty-seven were Chinese, ranging in age from nine to seventy-two, and four of them were priests. Thirty-three were foreign-born, mostly priests or women religious. Though the missionaries and religious tried to distance themselves from foreign policies, the Chinese government did not differentiate and saw them all as westerners.

The martyrdoms of China are most moving, each person having died heroically though many of them suffered torture and cruel deaths. Fr. Francis Li, grandson of a Chinese martyr, describes his grandfather going to his death joyfully saying to his brother and son, “Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!”

Zhao Rong was a bailiff of a county jail. During the persecution of 1772, he was moved by the words of Fr. Martinus Moye to his fellow Catholic prisoners, and, ultimately converted. He later became a priest, and when in 1815 another persecution broke out, he was arrested and tortured, and being aged, died of the ill treatment.

The group of 120 martyrs celebrate today headed by St. Augustine Zhao Rong was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. N...

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A Young Man and His Lady Love

In twelfth century England, a group of young men had gathered and were bragging of their various feats, as young men have done since the beginning of time.

The lively conversation went from archery to sword fighting to horsemanship, each trying to outdo the accomplishments of the others.

Finally, the young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

Thomas of Canterbury meant the most holy Virgin as the object of his affection, but afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast. He did not want to offend his beloved Lady in any way.

Seeing all from her throne in heaven, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: "Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you."

The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, blood-red in color. Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England.

Many years later, he would indeed be persecuted by the king, and Thomas fled to the Cistercian monastery at Pontignac, in France.

Far from kith and kin, but never far from his Lady Love, he was attempting to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore and had ripped. Not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with special kindness, took the haircloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done.

After this, at the age of 50, he returned to Canterbury and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

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