Franciscan Saints


 

 

 

4th June

 

 

Sts Vincenta Gerosa and Mary Bartholomea Capitanio

 

Virgins, Third Order

 

Mary Bartholomea Capitanio

1807 - 1833

Feast day July 27

Born in Lovere (near Brescia), Lombardy, Italy, 1807; died July 26, 1833; canonized in 1950; feast day was July 27. Bartholomea Capitanio, together with Saint Vincentia Gerosa, founded the Institute of the Sisters of Charity (Suore della carità) of Lovere, their native town. Bartholomea was the daughter of a rough corn-factor, who was an alcoholic, and a virtuous mother who, together with the sisters of her convent school, taught the young girl to strive for Christian perfection.

Her parents forbade her to become a nun, so she took a vow of perpetual chastity and decided to devote herself to teaching. For that reason, she earned a diploma to teach elementary school. In this way she consecrated her life to the apostolate of the young, and organized a sodality of Saint Aloysius (Lovere is near his birthplace), which spread to other districts.

Despite her extreme youth, she was the prime force behind the creation of the Sisters of Charity during her lifetime. She saw the need to perpetuate the good that was being done through the sodality by creating a religious institute. She joined forces with (Catherine) Vincentia Gerosa, who was also moved by the state of ignorance and neglect in which so many people lived.

Although the two women were very different, they melded their talents well. Vincentia was already 40 when she got to know Bartholomea, and the latter was only 26 when she died. Catherine's main interest was in nursing the sick poor for whom she had already founded a hospital, taking on the heaviest burdens herself; while Bartholomea's interest was education. Nevertheless, it was a partnership of persons of remarkable determination and selflessness.

Their congregation was designed to teach the young and nurse the sick. Its rule is based on the principles of Saint Vincent de Paul. With the help of their bishop, who encouraged them from the beginning, the institute was approved by the pope in 1840, and their foundation, which has spread widely, now has 500 to 600 communities.

Bartholomea also achieved fame as a writer on spiritual subjects. She never spared herself, even when dying of consumption. Her endless correspondence and outside activities left her no time for leisure. Four months before her death, she finally obeyed her doctor's order to stop writing letters, but she was already too ill to be saved.

The women had been moved by the ignorance and neglect in which so many people lived, so their foundation was designed to teach the young and nurse the sick. When Bartolomea died in 1833, Vincentia succeeded her and under her guidance, the institute expanded widely

Vincenta Gerosa

1784 - 1847

Feast day June 4

Born in Lovere, Lombardy, Italy, 1784; died 1846; canonized 1950; feast day formerly on June 28. The first 40 years of Vincentia's life were quite ordinary. She was a homemaker. Then she came to know Saint Bartolomea Capitanio, the foundress of the Italian Sisters of Charity at Lovere in Lombardy.

 

 

 

Prayer of the Church

(Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost)

 

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thy people may shun

all contact with the devil, and with a pure mind follow Thee, the

only Good.

Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen

 

 

Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois

 

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