Clelia Barbieri

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Saint Clelia Barbieri
Clelia Barbieri.jpg
Born February 13th, 1847
Bologna, Italy
Died July 13th, 1870
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified October 2, 1968 by Pope Paul VI
Canonized April 9, 1989 by Pope John Paul II
Feast July 13
Patronage people ridiculed for their piety

Clelia Barbieri is an Italian saint in the Roman Catholic Church and founder of the Congregation of the Suore Minime dell'Addolorata (Sisters Minims of Our Lady of Sorrows). She is the youngest founder of a religious community in the history of the Catholic Church.[1]


Clelia was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1847 to Giacinta Nannetti and Giuseppe Barbieri, who were poor workers. She had a younger sister, Ernista, who was born in 1850. When her father died when she was just eight years old, she worked alongside her mother spinning hemp to support the family.[2] During this time, her mother and younger sister moved into a house near the parish church through the generosity of her uncle.[1] At an early age, Clelia began to spend her time in contemplative prayer. Despite her upbringing in relative poverty, Clelia was raised in a very religious household.

Clelia joined The Workers of Christian Catechism as an assistant teacher at the age of 14. She became such an inspirational leader in the community that the parish priest, Don Gaetano Guido, entrusted her with teaching and guiding young girls in Christian doctrine.[3] By the time she was 17, she rejected marriage offers, opting instead to lead a pious life.[3]

Clelia eventually founded a separate group, the Suore Minime dell'Addolorata May 1, 1868, when she was only 21. The group began to minister to the poor and sick in the community.

Two years after founding the congregation, Clelia Barbieri died of tuberculosis on July 13, 1870.

The religious order of Suore Minime dell'Addolorata continues to operate 35 community houses in Italy, India, Tanzania and Brasil. They were 296 at the end of year 2008.[1]

"The Voice"[edit]

After Clelia's death, an unusual and unexplained occurrence has often been reported in the various parishes she visited and houses in which her order is located. Her voice is often heard in readings and hymns.[4] The voice never speaks alone but is always heard as part of a group. Throughout the years, people from various backgrounds have reported hearing the voice which is described as "unlike any of this earth".[5] The first reported occurrence happened one year after her death when sisters of her congregation were in evening prayer.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Clelia Barbieri". Vatican City. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  2. ^ Ball, p. 52
  3. ^ a b Ball, p. 53
  4. ^ Cruz, p252
  5. ^ Cruz, p253
  6. ^ Ball, p 51


  • Ball, Ann (1998). Faces of Holiness: Modern Saints in Photos and Words. New York: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.  ISBN 0-87973-950-9
  • Cruz, Joan (1984). Relics. New York: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.  ISBN 0-87973-701-8

External Links[edit]