Franciscan Saints  

3rd October

The Servant of God Mary Magdalen Bentivoglio

Virgin, Second Order

            Mother Bentivoglio's Cause for Canonization was introduced on April 1, 1969.

The Servant of God, Mother Mary Magdalena Bentivoglio of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Foundress and Former Abbess of the Order of St. Clare of the Strict Observance of the First Rule in the United States of America, was born in Rome, Italy, on July 29, 1824.


Mary was a stubborn but pious child who enjoyed being at the Colosseum, imaging that she was living and dying alongside the ancient martyrs, she became a Poor Clare Nun of the Primitive Observance of San Damiano at the age of 30. She found the discipline difficult, perceived it, however, as a way to reach God, and practiced a strict observance to the Rule.


Mary Magdalena and her birth sister Costanza, were sent to the United States of America in 1875, to establish the Poor Clares there. Pope Pius IX had requested the Order's expansion to the United States, and a Franciscan Order in Minnesota asked for their presence. Before they left, Sister Mary Magdalen was named Abbess. Some clerics told them that they would fail, as contemplative life was not suited to Americans, but the Sisters pressed on, sometimes having to move several times before being allowed to settle in peace.


When they arrived in New York, though, they received a message that the Franciscans in Minnesota were expecting teaching sisters, not cloistered nuns.

 Mother Magdalen went to see Cardinal John McCloskey, who wasn't interested in having contemplative sisters, telling them that "their form of life was contrary to the spirit of the country." They tried Philadelphia, where initially Archbishop James Wood welcomed them. Though two months later, influenced by Cardinal McCloskey, he withdrew his approval.   They moved on to Cincinnati, but were rejected there, too, this time by Archbishop John Purcell.

 As Franciscan Father Pius J. Barth wrote in a chapter about Mother Magdalen in Joseph Tylanda's book, "Portraits in American Sanctity", the Bishops in those Dioceses "sought to recruit these cultured ladies as teachers, nurses, social workers and catechists, but these ministries were not part of the vocation of a Poor Clare."


At last, Archbishop Napoleon Perch� of New Orleans invited the Sisters there. They arrived in March 1877, and their first postulant joined them. But then the Franciscan Provincial who had been delegated authority over Mother Magdalen arrived and ordered the Sisters to leave New Orleans because they were too far from other Franciscan houses. He suggested Cleveland so the three Sisters moved there in August 1877. Their Convent was a converted cigar factory.


In January 1878, Carmelite Sisters from the Netherlands joined them. But the two communities didn't mix well, and the three Poor Clares returned to New Orleans. Then the Apostolic Vicar of Omaha, James O'Connor, invited them to Omaha, where the Creighton family offered them a home. They moved into their Monastery in 1882, and soon other postulants and sisters from an active religious community joined them.


In 1888, Mother Magdalen and Sister Constanza were denounced by an emotionally unstable Sister as guilty of irregular personal conduct, alcoholic intemperance, financial mismanagement and acting without due deference to the Bishop. There followed a 19-month ordeal that included three trials, in all of which the Sisters were found innocent, plus a formal investigation ordered by the Vatican before all charges were dropped.


When the Monastery of St. Clare developed in Evansville, Mother Magdalen and three other Sisters went there.  It was a difficult time for the Nuns, who were literally living for a time on bread and water. Sister Constanza died in 1902. Mother Magdalen died on August 18th 1905 at age 71, of natural causes. During the last half hour of her life witnesses say that her wall Crucifix gave off light which shone on her. Her body was found incorrupt when exhumed thirty years later.

Also Mother Mary Magdalena Bentivoglio at Saints sqpn

And Mary Magdalen Bentivoglio - from Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia


Prayer of the church

(Seventh Sunday after Pentecost)

O God, whose providence erreth not in its ordinances, we

humble beseech Thee to remove from us all that is harmful and

to grant us all that is profitable to us.

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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Last edited 13/09/2017 15:44
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