Magdalene of Canossa
|St. Magdalene of Canossa, F.D.C.C.|
|Virgin and foundress|
|Born||March 1, 1774
Verona, Republic of Venice
|Died||April 10, 1835
Verona, Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, Austrian Empire
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church
(Canossian Daughters and Sons of Charity)
|Beatified||December 8, 1941 by Pope Pius XII|
|Canonized||October 2, 1988 by Pope John Paul II|
Magdalene was born on March 1, 1774, into an ancient and prominent Veronese family. Despite her living in a palace, however, she was not spared grief, as her father died in 1779 and her mother left her for a new marriage two years later. In 1791 she spent time in a Carmelite monastery but discerned that this was not her vocation.
After leaving the cloister, Magdalene saw a city in which the poor were suffering extreme poverty, which was only made worse by the social upheavals caused on the Italian peninsula by the invasions of the French Revolutionary Army and the opposing forces of the Austrian Empire, which eventually gained control of her native city. This situation provoked her desire to serve and witness to Christ through answering the needs of the unfortunate.
Using her inheritance, Magdalene began charitable work among the poor of the city. On April 1, 1828, she was given an abandoned monastery where she took in two poor girls from the slum of the San Zeno neighborhood of the city to care for them and provide them an education. On the following May 7, she moved out of her ancestral palace and moved into the monastery, now called the Convent of St. Joseph, where she was soon joined by other women, with whom she formed the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor.
The new congregation started to care for poor children and to service in the city's hospitals. As word of their work spread, they were requested to start new communities in other cities of the region. Soon there were convents of the Canossian Sisters established in Venice (1812), Milan (1816), Bergamo 1820 and Trent (1824). Magdalene drew up a Rule for the congregation, and it received formal approval by Pope Leo XII on December 23, 1828.
Sons of Charity
Magdalene desired to provide boys the same care her Daughters were providing to girls. To this end, she invited a Catholic priest, Francesco Luzzi, to open a small oratory adjacent to the Sisters' Convent of St. Lucy in Venice. He opened this house on May 23, 1831. In 1833, he was joined by two laymen, who later took over the work of the oratory when Luzzi left to become a Carmelite friar.
For nearly a century, the men's community consisted of only two or three lay brothers. They were given a religious habit in 1860 by the Patriarch of Venice and were given a Rule in 1897 by a subsequent patriarch. By 1923, however, the Superior of the Oratory declared the impossibility of the community's continuance, and placed the congregation into the hands of the patriarch. They were then joined to the work of a priest in Verona, Giovanni Calabria, who incorporated the small community into a foundation he had established, which included priests.
Death and veneration
Magdalene died in her native city on April 10, 1835, having seen the work of the Daughters spread out across the region and the establishment of the Sons.
Today the Canossian Daughters of Charity have communities serving the poor and bearing witness to the Catholic faith on every continent of the world. The Sons of Charity now work in Brazil, India and the Philippines, as well as in Italy.
Members who are proposed for sainthood
Here are the Canossian Daughters and Sons of Charity who are proposed for sainthood, This include:
- Servant of God Dalisay Lazaga
Dalisay Lazaga was born in Sta. Rosa, Laguna in the Philippines, on March 17, 1940. At eight years of age she loses both parents. The eldest sister takes care of her. Consequently from her early childhood she knows the suffering of a motherless child. She grows up to be a good and virtuous girl and is loved by everybody. At twenty years of age she obtains her degree and takes up the teaching profession with love and enthusiasm. In a short time she makes a name for herself as a teacher. She is an attractive girl and does not lack admirers, but she firmly refuses any proposal and opts for the consecrated life to which she has felt drawn since a tender age. Her choice does not please her family, who have cherished the idea of another kind of life for her. She wishes to follow the Charism of St. Magdalene of Canossa and on February 2nd 1966 she makes her first religious Profession in the Novitiate House of Oxley in Australia. On her home-coming she takes up again the demanding task of teaching and realizes an enviable, if short, earthly and spiritual career, carrying out her mission among the youth of the Canossian schools.
Then suddenly during November 1970, Sr. Dalisay’s health shows worrying symptoms; she has to undergo an exploratory operation.
The diagnosis is unmistakably fatal, giving her only three months of life; in fact she dies on January 30th 1971. She does not know the whole truth. With a great longing for life in her heart, she moves unaware towards death dreaming about the beauty of a life spent in bringing many souls to Christ. When she finds out the harsh reality, with an inspiring gentleness of spirit, she surrenders to God’s will, and, Our Lady dressed as a Queen, comes to welcome her.
Lazaga's cause was opened on June 28, 2012 by the Congregation for the Causes of saints.
- Venerable Fernanda Riva
She was venerated in June 28, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI for the decree of Heroic Virtues.
- Saint Josephine Bakhita
- Servant of God Teresa Pera
Her cause was opened for the decree for Heroic Virtues.
- Servant of God Luigia Grassi