Anna Maria Taigi
|Born||28 May 1769|
Siena, Grand Duchy of Tuscany
|Died||9 June 1837 (aged 68)|
Rome, Papal States
|Resting place||San Crisogono, Rome, Italy|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||30 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV|
Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (29 May 1769 - 9 June 1837) - born Anna Maria Giannetti - was an Italian Roman Catholic professed member from the Secular Trinitarians. Taigi married Domenico Taigi who was a brash and impulsive individual though devoted to his wife who experienced a series of ecstasies during her life and was known to have heard the voices of God and Jesus Christ on several occasions. Taigi became a Secular Trinitarian after experiencing a sudden religious conversion in winter 1790 while at Saint Peter's Basilica and came into contact with a range of cardinals and luminaries which included Saint Vincenzo Strambi and Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget amongst others.
Childhood and education
Anna Maria Giannetti was born in Siena on 29 May 1769 as an only child to Luigi Giannetti and Maria Masi. She was baptized on 30 May 1769 in her local parish church in the names of "Anna Maria Gesualda Antonia Giannetti".
Her father served as a pharmacist in a small store he ran in Siena but lost his fortune and was obliged to seek work elsewhere in a move that saw Giannetti move to Rome with her parents in 1774; Luigi found a job as a household servant in Rome. It was in Rome that she attended a school that the Filippini Sisters managed and was there from 1774 until 1776. Once she completed her education she worked in several occupations to provide for her parents which included that of being a maid. While living in Rome she was often nicknamed as "Annette". She received her Confirmation in the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in 1780 and her First Communion in her parish church of San Francesco di Paola a little while later in 1782.
On 7 January 1789 she married the Milanese Domenico Taigi (1761-1850s) - a butler for the noble House of Chigi - in the church of San Marcello al Corso and the pair went on to have a total of seven children. Three of those children died as infants while the other four - two males and two females - lived on. Her children were:
- Camillo (died aged 42)
- Alessandro (died aged 35)
- Luigi (died at a year and a half old)
- Pietro (died two years and one month old)
- Maria (unmarried)
- Sofia (widow of the late Paolo Micali of Mantua and with six children)
When Sofia was set to be married she allowed for her fiancée Micali to frequent the house for two months prior to the marriage so the pair could meet but it would take place in Anna Maria and Domenico's presence. Her son Camillo was conscripted into the armed service at some point. When Sofia became widowed it was Taigi who allowed her to lodge at her home with her six children - her grandchildren - in tow.
Her husband could sometimes be ill-tempered and caustic but was devoted to his wife; it was also alleged that she had an adulterous affair with an older man. Her mother came to live with the family at one stage when she was widowed. On one particular occasion in winter 1790 she visited Saint Peter's Basilica with her husband leaning on his arm in an extravagant dress when the large throng saw her bump into the Servite priest Angelo Verandi in the piazza. Taigi went into the Confessio and felt a strong inspiration to renounce vanities she gave into; she cried to the priest: "Father; you have at your feet a great sinner" but the priest said: "Go away; you are not one of my penitents". But the priest relented and allowed her to confess and he absolved her and curtly slammed the slide shut. She then visited the church of San Marcello al Corso and went to the confessional where she met again Father Verandi. Sometime later she was in the church of San Andrea della Valle and before the Crucifix heard Jesus Christ: "What is your wish? To follow Jesus poor and naked and stripped of all, or to follow Him in His triumph and glory? Which do you choose?" and she replied: "I embrace the cross of my Jesus. I will carry it like Him in pain and ignominy. I await at His hands triumph and glory in the hereafter".
Taigi later became a professed member of the Secular Trinitarians in the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane on 26 December 1802. She also liked to visit hospitals and in particular liked to visit and aid patients at San Giacomo of the Incurables. Taigi also experienced a series of ecstasies and frequent visions in which she foresaw the future. Taigi also knew a range of individuals such as Cardinal Carlo Maria Pedicini whom she knew for three decades. On one occasion she went to sleep with a serene look on her face as her eyes drifted towards Heaven which led to her daughter Maria tearfully proclaiming: "Mamma is dead, Mamma is dead" to which Sophia corrected: "No! She is praying". This led to Domenico growling: "Be quiet; she's asleep. Let her alone, she had no sleep last night". Before she died she met with the first Bishop of Louisville Benedict Joseph Flaget and she praised him and the United States of America. Napoleon's mother Letizia Ramolino learned of her and even sought her spiritual advice. A spiritual advisor of hers was Monsignor Raffaele Natali - the secretary of Pope Pius VII - and another was Saint Vincenzo Strambi.
Taigi also came to be acquainted with Cardinals such as Luigi Ercolani and also with Monsignor Mastai - the future Pope Pius IX. Even Pope Pius VII often asked Monsignor Strambi of how Taigi was doing and would send his blessings to her. Pope Leo XII also held her in high esteem and the Venerable Giuseppe Bartolomeo Menocchio also knew her. Taigi herself composed a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Cardinal Pedicini took this to Pius VII who - in a rescript on 6 March 1809 - granted an indulgence of 100 days to those that recited it with a plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions. She had a staunch devotion to the following saints:
- Saint Joseph
- Saint Philip Neri
- Saint Francis of Paola
- Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
- Saint Felix of Valois
- Saint John of Matha
- Saint Filomena
She attended the 1825 Jubilee that Leo XII convoked. Taigi knew of the latter pope's ill health and before he died in 1829 she saw one morning the sun and prayed for him and heard a voice say: "Arise and pray. My Vicar is on the point of coming to render an account to Me". His successor Pope Pius VIII lived in the shadow of ill health and she also foresaw his death and so and prayed for his soul as she did with his predecessor; she had predicted the pontificate of Pius VIII would be a short one and ended up successfully foreseeing that Cardinal Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari would be elected as Pope Gregory XVI.
Before Pius VIII died, she and Monsignor Natali went to San Paolo fuori le Mura. When Cardinal Cappellari arrived, Taigi was in a small chapel which Natali tried to have her vacate for the cardinal, but she would not leave. Though Cappellari told Natali not to disturb her and went to kneel elsewhere in reflection, when she emerged she fixed her eyes on the cardinal. Natali asked her why she did this and she frankly responded: "That is the future pope".
Final year and death
On 20 May 1836 she went to San Paolo fuori le Mura and decided it would be the final time she underwent the visit to that church to which she confided to Natali who there celebrated Mass for the two before reflecting before the Crucifix there. On 24 October 1836 she fell so ill that she was confined to her bed and she was never to rise again. On 2 June 1837 her fever slightly declined but on 4 June she began to feel the fever again even greater and so on 5 June bid farewell to those who came to her bedside while on 6 June her condition rapidly declined. On 8 June she received the Extreme Unction.
Taigi died at 4:00am on 9 June 1837 after a period of illness after receiving the Viaticum and the Anointing of the Sick from the local curate. Pedicini sent a letter at once to Cardinal Carlo Odescalchi informing him of her death. Her remains were exposed until 11 June in the church of Santa Maria in Via Lata and was buried at Campo Verano where - on the orders of Gregory XVI - her remains were enclosed in a leaden sepulcher with seals affixed to it. Monsignor Natali asked for a death mask to be made before her burial and Cardinal Odescalchi ordered Natali to compile all documents so that Monsignor Luquet published a biographical account of her life. Cardonal Pedicini often visited her tomb while the Capuchin Cardinal Ludovico Micara always kept an image of her on his person. The Minim priest Venerable Bernardo Clausi said of her: "If she is not in Heaven, there is no room there for anybody". Saint Vincenzo Pallotti praised her after she died for her saintliness and life of holiness.
Her remains were transferred to San Crisogono on 18 August 1865 after it was discovered that she wanted to be buried there. In 1868 her remains were found intact though her clothes had decayed for the most part so was replaced. In 1920 her remains were found no longer incorrupt.
The beatification process opened in an informative process in 1852 in Rome that concluded sometime later and her spiritual works had to receive approval so that the cause could continue and that theologians could approve that her writings were orthodox in nature; an apostolic process was also held while both later received the validation from the Congregation of Rites. The official start to the cause came under Pope Pius IX on 8 January 1863 when she was titled as a Servant of God.
An antepreparatory congregation met to discuss the cause on 30 August 1904 while a preparatory committee did so as well on 27 June 1905 as did a general congregation on 30 January 1906. The confirmation of her heroic virtue on 4 March 1906 allowed for Pope Pius X to name her as Venerable.
Two miracles required for her beatification were investigated and validated before receiving the approval of an antepreparatory congregation on 27 July 1909 and that of a preparatory committee on 5 April 1910; a general congregation issued their approval sometime later on 3 December 1918. Pope Benedict XV approved the two miracles on 6 January 1919 and presided over Taigi's beatification on 30 May 1920 in Saint Peter's Basilica.
The current postulator assigned to the cause is the Rev. Javier Carnerero Peñalver.
A total of 30 witnesses were summoned to testify for the cause which included her two daughters as well as many cardinals and bishops. Her then-92 year-old husband also testified in favor and appeared with hunched shoulders and leaning on a walking stick.
- "Ven. Anna Maria Gesualda Antonia Taigi". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 1912. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
- "Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (1769-1837) - Wife, Mother and Mystic". Mystics of the Church. 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
- "Blessed Anne Marie Taigi". Saints SQPN. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
- "Blessed Anne Marie Taigi". EWTN. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
- "Blessed Anna Maria Taigi". Santi e Beati. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
- "Full text of "The life of the Venerable Anna Maria Taigi, the Roman matron"". Archive. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.