Mother, Widow, and Foundress of the “Blue Nuns” (1562-1617)
+ Victoria Fornari was born in Genoa, Italy, and married Angelo Strato when she was seventeen years old. The couple had six children.
+ After her husband’s death nine years later, Victoria wanted to marry again but a vision of the Virgin Mary inspired her to commit herself to life as a single mother, to chastity, prayer, and care for the poor.
+ After her children were grown, Victoria and some like-minded friends decided to become religious sisters and professed vows in 1605. This group formed the beginning of a new contemplative community, the Order of the Annunciation.
+ Victoria served her community—known for their dedication to contemplation and prayer, as well as their blue scapular, which earned them the name “Blue Nuns” or “Blue Annunciades”—until her death in 1617. She was beatified in 1828.
On this day, the church also honors the memory of Saint Christiana “the Slave.” Kidnapped and enslaved by the Iberi people in the area around the Caspian Sea, her real name has been lost to us; she is honored as “Christiania” because she refused to give up her faith. Through her influence, members of the Iberi royal family became Christians and asked the Emperor Constantine to send priests and missionaries to work among their people. She died sometime in the fourth century.
For prayer and reflection
“In solitude and silence, by listening to the word of God, participating in divine worship, personal asceticism, prayer, mortification and the communion of fraternal love, [contemplative religious] direct the whole of their lives and all their activities to the contemplation of God.”—Pope Saint John Paul II in Vita Consecrata
O God, who called your handmaid blessed Victoria to seek you before all else, grant that, serving you, through her example and intercession, with a pure and humble heart, we may come at last to your eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, 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 Nun)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.