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What the diary of a young saint will teach us

Sandra Sabattini

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Gelsomino Del Guercio - published on 11/02/21

Sandra Sabattini, who died in 1984 at just 22 years of age, revealed her heart in a diary she started at age 10.

Intense, vivid, powerful: the words that Sandra Sabattini wrote in her diary bring into focus the uncommon charisma of this young woman. She died prematurely, but she had already spread the fragrance of sanctity.

The Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Marcello Semeraro, beatified her on October 24, 2021, in Rimini at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Columba, after Pope Francis approved her cause.

Sandra Sabattini, who died in 1984 at just 22 years of age, is a spiritual daughter of Don Oreste Benzi, founder of the Pope John XXIII Community. Sandra dedicated her short life to helping the disabled and drug addicts.

Sandra Sabattini’s secret

What’s the secret of Sandra’s holiness? Don Benzi replied thus: “Her secret is contained and revealed in the beatitude proclaimed by Jesus: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’ (…). Sandra’s heart was clean because it was occupied only with the love of God and neighbor.”

Helping others from a young age

At the age of 13, Sandra Sabbatini was already serving the disabled, participating in the Pope John Paul XXIII Community. She learned right away that helping others can be arduous; “We broke our bones, but those are people I will never abandon,” she told her mother, as reported in Vatican News on Oct. 24.

Thoughts jotted down in her diary

Even before beginning that particular experience of service, Sandra had decided to record in a diary her thoughts about God, love and her neighbor. She began writing it in 1972, at the age of 10, and only stopped the day before her death in 1984.

Here are some of the most significant reflections and prayers written by Sandra Sabattini in her Diary, as found in “Sandra Sabbattini, Serva di Dio”:

“I choose you.”

I simply choose. For now I can only say this: I choose you. I believe that my choice, little by little as time goes by, is being consolidated. Now it’s time to accept all of Christ and radically change myself.

Lord, I feel that you’re giving me a hand to come closer, you’re giving me the strength to take a step forward.

“I am inconsistent”

Of course, I would like to accept you. First, however, I have to defeat myself, my pride, my falsehoods. I’m not humble and I don’t want to acknowledge it. I let myself be terribly conditioned by others. I’m afraid of what they may think of me. I’m incoherent, with a great desire to revolutionize the world, and then allowing myself to be subjected to it.

I thought I was alone and didn’t understand that you were with me. Thank you, Lord, for this world, for this life, for these people, for this joy, for a new spring that arises and that finds me still alive. Today with a pair of shoes and a saddlebag, if I could go around the world…

“An illusion”

Thank you, Lord, thank you for being there, because you are near me, because you put such wonderful people around me, because you put such fantastic sweetness in my heart.

I’m afraid that I’m living in a wonderful dream. I’m afraid that everything is an illusion, as things have always been in most cases (of course because of me): an illusion. But even if what I’m living is an illusion, You, Lord, are not an illusion. Your peace is not false, Your love is eternal, Your life is true.

“Only if my faith is true”

The choice of the poor Christ that now excites me is but in its infancy, and it is still easy, being incomplete because it is still bound; but when it is complete, remaining faithful to the choice will be hard …

Now I feel a great joy, a great desire to walk on this road, but when the initial impetus leaves, it will be a hard race. That’s why prayer is necessary, because only if my faith is really true will I be able to accomplish what You want from me, to which You have called me.

“Of whom will I be afraid?”

Among the last thoughts noted in Sandra Sabattini’s diary, there are two very significant ones that seem prophetic.

No, one cannot and must not abandon the struggle: the Lord is with me, of whom will I be afraid?

I want to love and cherish you every day, every moment of my life, even in the most absurd situations.

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