Ludovica Albertoni

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For the sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, see Blessed Ludovica Albertoni.
Bl. Ludovica Albertoni, T.O.S.F.
The Blessed Ludovica Albertoni Distributing Alms.jpeg
The Blessed Ludovica Albertoni distributing Alms
(by Giovanni Battista Gaulli ca. 1670)
Born 1473[1]
Rome, Papal States
Died January 31, 1533[2]
Rome, Papal States
Venerated in Catholic Church
(Secular Franciscan Order)
Beatified January 28, 1671, St. Peter's Basilica by Pope Clement X
Major shrine Church of San Francesco a Ripa, Rome, Italy
Feast January 31

Ludovica Albertoni, T.O.S.F., sometimes known as Louisa Albertoni or Ludovica Albertoni Cetera, was a Roman noblewoman during the Renaissance, who, after the loss of her husband, dedicated her life to the service of the poor of the city. She has been beatified by the Catholic Church. Her feast day is January 31.

Albertoni was born into a wealthy and prominent family in the Roman nobility. From a young age, she strove to be a dedicated Christian and hoped to remain a virgin so that she could "cling only to Christ."[1] Despite this, her parents arranged her betrothal and, in humble obedience, she was married to the nobleman Giacomo della Cetera. Ludovica and her new spouse moved to Trastevere, where they raised three daughters. But in 1506, when she was just 33 years of age, her husband died.[1]

Not long after this loss, Albertoni joined the Third Order of St. Francis at the Franciscan Church of San Francesco a Ripa in Rome. As a tertiary, Ludovica spent her fortune and ultimately sacrificed her health caring for the poor. She was renowned for her religious ecstasies (including levitation), and became known as a miracle worker.[1]

Albertoni died of a fever on January 31, 1533, at the age of sixty. Some 140 years later, on January 28, 1671, she was beatified by Pope Clement X.[1] The cause for her canonization is still pending.

Albertoni is best commemorated through Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture, Beata Ludovica Albertoni (1672–74), housed in the Altieri Chapel in the Church of San Francesco a Ripa.[1] The recumbent statue captures Blessed Ludovica in her death throes, portraying her as suffering but also in the light of her religious ecstasies as she awaits union with God.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Perlove, Shelley Karen (1990). Bernini and the Idealization of Death: The Blessed Ludovica Albertoni and the Altieri Chapel. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-00684-6. 
  2. ^ Hibbard, Howard (1990). Bernini. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-013598-7.  (Original work published 1965)

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