Benedictine Sister (1858-1926)
+ Janina Gabriel was born in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, in 1858. The daughter of a noble family, she received an excellent education. As a young woman she discerned a call to serve God as a Benedictine nun.
+ A member of the Benedictine monastery in Leopoli, where she was known as Sister Colomba, she conducted programs for the poor, especially for the benefit of young working girls.
+ In 1900, Colomba moved to Rome. Her spiritual director was the Dominican priest Blessed Hyacinth Cormier, and he guided her to start teaching catechism and caring for the sick in Rome’s Prati district. This work inspired Sister Colomba to establish a group of Benedictine oblates (lay affiliates) and, in 1908, she established a new branch of the Benedictine Order, the Benedictine Sisters of Charity.
+ During her life, Colomba saw the community grow and she established new hours throughout Italy, in Madagascar, and in Romania.
+ Blessed Colomba Gabriel died on September 24, 1926, and was beatified in 1993.
Blessed Hyacinth Cormier, the spiritual director of Blessed Colomba, was a member of the Dominican Order. A gifted teacher and spiritual guide, he was elected Master General of the Dominicans in 1904 and he oversaw the reform of the Angelcium, one of the Pontifical universities in Rome.
“On the path of suffering the Holy Spirit uprooted her from her homeland, led her to leave everything and begin all over.”—Pope Saint John Paul II at the beatification of Blessed Colomba
O God, by whose gift blessed Colomba persevered in imitating Christ, poor and lowly, grant us through her intercession that, faithfully walking in our own vocation, we may reach the perfection you have set before us in your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Religious)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.