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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 August 2, 2021

The state of grace is nothing other than purity, and it give...

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August 2

 

The state of grace is nothing other than purity,
and it gives heaven to those who clothe themselves in it.
Holiness, therefore, is simply the state of grace
purified, illuminated, beautified by the most perfect purity,
exempt not only from mortal sin but also from the smallest faults.
Purity will make saints of you!
Everything lies in this.

St. Peter Julian Eymard


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Eusebius of Vercelli

The Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up i...

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St. Eusebius of Vercelli

Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia where his father died a martyr. His mother took him and his sister to live in Rome where Eusebius eventually joined the clergy and was ordained a lector. He was sent to Vercelli and served the Church so well there that he was chosen as its bishop. He is the first bishop of Vercelli whose name was recorded.

In 354 he was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the Emperor Constantius to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian disputes. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arians would have their way. He refused to go along with the condemnation of Saint Athanasius, who’s  refusal to tolerate Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions. Eusebius insisted on Athanasius’ innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after Eusebius undertook a four-day hunger strike. They soon resumed their harassment.

His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to return to his see in Vercelli. He died in 371.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

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

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.