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This Italian Girl May Soon Be Honored as a Child Saint and Mystic

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The Venerable Antonietta Meo could become the youngest saint ever canonized who is a confessor, not a martyr

Antonietta Meo was born in Rome on December 15, 1930, and died when she was only six years old, on July 3rd, 1937.

She might become the youngest confessor (non-martyr) saint ever canonized by the Catholic Church. What’s Antonietta’s story?

When she was only five years old, Nennolina (as nicknamed by her family) fell and injured her knee. After her knee wouldn’t heal, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. Her leg had to be amputated, and she was then fitted with an artificial leg. According to her biographers, she bore it all cheerfully.

Nennolina wrote more than one hundred extraordinary letters to Jesus and the Virgin Mary, which have gained her the reputation of a mystic among Catholic theologians because of their content. Written during her last months of life, the letters display understanding and actions that go way beyond those of an average child of her age. Some of the letters were addressed to Jesus (“Dear baby Jesus, you are holy, you are good. Help me, grant me your grace and give me back my leg. If you don’t want to, then may your will be done”), and some others described heavenly visions.

Nennolina insisted on writing a last letter to Jesus a few days before her death. In it, she asked Jesus to take care of everyone she loved, and asked for strength to endure the pain she was going through. The letter was unfinished, interrupted by the girl’s illness. The final words she wrote were, “Your little girl sends you a lot of kisses.”

She then told her mother that she was about to die: “In a few hours, I will die, but I will not suffer anymore, and you shouldn’t cry. I should have lived a few days longer, but Saint Therese of the Child Jesus said, ‘It’s enough!'” After the child’s death, her mother had a vision of Nennolina in glory, reassuring her that she was now in heaven.

Antonietta Meo’s relics are now in the Basilica Santa Croce, in Rome, where she was baptized and spent much of her time praying and meditating.

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