Benedictine Abbess (1606-1670)
+ Giovanna Maria was born in Asiago, Vicenza, Italy. Following her mother’s death when Giovanna Maria was only six, her father entrusted her to the Poor Clare nuns in Trent, who educated the girl.
+ At the age of 12, she informed her father of her intention to become a nun. Although he initially objected, her later gave his permission and she became a Benedict nun in Bessano in 1621.
+ Giovanna Maria received the first of a series of mystical experiences at the time of her religious profession in 1622.
+ Although she held numerous positions of leadership within her community—including novice mistress, prioress, and abbess—she was also harshly ridiculed for her spiritual gifts (which may have included the stigmata), which were dismissed by some as an effort to seek attention and, by others, as heretical.
+ In her spiritual teachings, Giovanna Maria taught that holiness consisted in simple, humble actions and, when she died on March 1, 1670, she was honored for her personal holiness.
+ Blessed Giovanna Maria was beatified in 1783.
For prayer and reflection
“Listen carefully, my child, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart… Every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”—The Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue:1, 4
On March 1, we also remember the bishop Saint David, patron saint of Wales. A tireless missionary and founder of churches and monasteries, Saint David died around the year 589 and he is one of the most celebrated saints of the British Isles.
O God, who declare that you abide in hearts that are pure, grant that through the intercession of the Virgin blessed Giovanna Maria we may be so fashioned by your grace, that we become a dwelling pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Virgins)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.