Earlier this week, we celebrated a young woman saint, St. Bartholomea Capitanio. Raised in poverty with an alcoholic father, her mother tried her hardest to raise a holy, educated daughter. She felt called to the religious life, but her family didn’t allow her to follow her calling. So, she took a private vow of chastity, became a Third Order Franciscan and sought another way to serve.
Seeing how valuable her education had been, she earned her diploma and went to work teaching. She eventually joined forces with a much older woman, St. Vincenta Gerosa, who had dedicated her life to the sick and girls who had turned to sin (old code-word for “prostitutes”).
These women, with no assistance from an established religious order, started an orphanage, a school and a hospital. They started an order based on the principles of St. Vincent De Paul. Their order, Sisters of Charity of Lovere, was started only a year before St. Bartholomea died of tuberculosis at the age of 26.
“Here I am, most lovable Jesus: I have reached at last the longed-for moment of my sacrifice. Today, through the hands of Mary, I have the happiness to consecrate myself entirely and irrevocably to your glory and the service of my neighbour… I realise that I am unable, unworthy and incapable of anything, but if you wish it, you can make me do marvellous things… I no longer have anything of my own, I am entirely yours, and yours in the way that you love best…”
– St. Bartholomea Capitanio