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20th-century Italian laywoman beatified

September 09, 2013

Maria Bolognesi (1924-80), an Italian laywoman who devoted her life to the service of the poor and the sick, was beatified in Rovigo, a northeastern Italian city of 50,000, on September 7.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the beatification.

An illegitimate child, Blessed Maria Bolognesi grew up in abject poverty and had only a second-grade education. Vatican Radio described her father as abusive and her mother as blasphemous. She suffered demonic temptations, had profound mystical experiences, and devoted herself to the service of the poor, orphans, and the sick.

Blessed Maria Bolognesi “spent all of her life in service to others, especially the poor and sick, enduring great suffering in profound union with the passion of Christ,” Pope Francis said following his September 8 Angelus address. “We give thanks to God for her testimony to the Gospel!”


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