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The Life of Saint Virginia Centurione Bracelli

Articles | December 15, 2023 | by Catholics for Catholics

Virginia was born in Genoa, Italy, on April 2, 1587, into a wealthy family with strong religious beliefs. She desired to devote her life to serving God as a nun. Unfortunately, at the age of 15, she was pressured into an arranged marriage due to her social status and had two daughters.

Her husband, a heavy drinker and gambler, died only five years later. Virginia dedicated herself to raising her children and performing works of charity, which she devoted herself to entirely once her children had grown up. She spent her time caring for those who were sick, elderly, and abandoned.

In 1625, Virginia founded a refuge center in Genoa, which quickly became overwhelmed with those in need. She then rented an empty convent in 1631, where she cared for the sick with the help of other women and instructed them in the faith, in addition to their work. She built a church in honor of Our Lady of Refuge, and the women who worked with her in the hospital formed two congregations: the Sisters of Our Lady of Refuge on Mount Calvary and the Daughters of Our Lady on Mount Calvary.

Virginia retired from the administration of the orders and performed manual labor and begged for alms but was called back to administrative duties soon after. In the later years of her life, she began to receive visions and locutions. Virginia died in Genoa on December 15, 1651 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 18, 2003.

For the original article click here.


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