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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 September 22, 2019

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember...

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September 22

 

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little.
Remember that he of whom you are speaking
is your brother, and as he is in the way of salvation,
God can make him a saint,
in spite of his present weakness.

St. Thomas of Villanova


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Thomas of Villanova

When the emperor discovered his secretary had written the na...

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St. Thomas of Villanova

Thomas was born in Castile, Spain in 1488. His family was not wealthy, but his father’s work as a miller allowed the family to be charitable and generous towards the poor. He was sent to school at the University of Alcala at the age of sixteen, where he threw himself enthusiastically into his studies and, ten years later, became professor of philosophy.

In 1516 he joined the Augustinian Friars at Salamanca and was ordained a priest two years later. He eventually became prior in several houses of the Augustinian Order, notably Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid. When Don Jorge, the Archbishop of Valencia, resigned, the emperor did not offer Thomas the see because he knew the high position would be a grievous trial for the humble friar-priest. Instead, the emperor nominated a religious of the Order of St. Jerome. However, when the emperor discovered his secretary had written the name of Brother Thomas of Villanova on the letter of nomination, he took it as a sign from God and appointed Thomas bishop. The year was 1545.

Thomas immediately began to restore the spiritual and material life of the archdiocese. He was deeply committed to the poor, established care for orphans and convinced the emperor to provide funds to organize priests for service among the converted Moors who had lapsed back into their old religion for lack of a shepherd.

Renowned for his personal charity, sanctity and austerities, Thomas was eventually consecrated archbishop. While he did not attend the sessions of the Council of Trent, he was an ardent supporter of the Reformation against the Lutheran heresy.

Thomas of Villanova died in 1555 of angina at the age of sixty-seven. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VII on November 1, 1658.

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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