Franciscan Saints




4th May



The Servants of God Paula and Gabriela Mezzavacchi

Virgins, Second Order


Right from her youth their mother had considered consecrating her life to God by entering a convent but compelled by her father wishes that she should marry. His choice was the noble John Baptist Mezzavacchi, who was a professor of law at the University of Bologna. After the wedding she visited the church as a bride and caste herself down on her knees before the altar saying:

“O Lord, since I have not been found worthy to serve Thee in the convent, I now already consecrate to Thee all the children that Thou wilt present to me.”


This pleased the Lord who accepted her sacrifice of two sons and two daughters. The elder son entered the Benedictine Order and became an Abbot while the younger son entered the Order of Friars Minor and became Provincial at Bologna, he died while Guardian of Mount Zion convent in Jerusalem. His brother saw how the Holy Angels bore his soul to heaven.

Paula and Gabriella, our saintly virgins, entered the convent of the Poor Clares at Ferrara, in which St. Catharine of Bologna was the novice mistress. When Catharine transferred to Bologna in order to found a new convent, she took Paula with her, she was the elder sister, and appointed her as mistress of novices because of her exceptional virtue.


 In this Office Paula guided the novices with passion, prudence, and great charity. She had her own unique way of ministering to her sick, tempted and anxious fellow sisters. A model of humility, meekness and mortification God decorated her with the gift of prophecy and opened to her the secrets of hearts. Paula died in the aroma of sanctity in 1492.


For nine years after Paula entered the convent her sister Gabriela had remained in the family home, the object of her parents love and tenderness. Gabriela now felt impelled by the Holy Spirit to follow her sister’s example and to enter the religious life herself. She overcame the difficulties in the way of this with an open and generous spirit and at Ferrara asked for the poor garb of the daughters of St. Clare.

Her growth in perfection matched the heroic beginning she had made until, abounding in merits; she slept blessedly in the Lord in the year 1493.






Prayer of the Church

(Feast of St. Monica)


O God, the comforter of the sorrowful and the salvation of

those who put their trust in Thee, who, in bringing about the

conversion of her son Augustine didst have merciful regard to the

loving tears of Blessed Monica, grant through their united

intercession that we may grieve over our sins and win grace and

pardon from Thee.

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



Paraphrased from: Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois (pp316-317)


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Last edited 13/09/2017 15:53 

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