Blessed Maria Bartolomea Bagnesi

This weeks Saint of the Week is Blessed Maria Bartolomea Bagnesi, (1514-1577).  She was born into a wealthy family but generally neglected by her mother.  Maria was influenced by an older sister who was a Dominican nun, whom she spent a lot of time with, and aspired to follow into the religious life.  After the death of her mother when Maria was 18, Maria’s father instead decided to arrange a marriage for her.  This was so unsettling to Maria that she became bed ridden and despite her father’s best efforts to seek any and all possible treatments available, remained so for most of her life.  At the age of 34 Blessed Maria had a brief period of improved health that permitted her become a Third Order Dominican, but never did achieve her dream of becoming a nun. She tadded Bartholomea to her name in homage to the Apostle Bartholomew, to whom she had a special devotion.

Blessed Maria looked upon her sufferings as a way to unite herself to the Passion of Christ.  She began having mystical experiences that included talking with Angels, Saints and even devils, which, as you might imagine, caused quite a stir. In response to an accusation she was possessed by the devil she replied she, had seen him all right but he wasn’t a friend of hers!”  She was also observed levitating over her bed while experiencing her mystical visions.    The controversies caused her first confessor to abandon her.  But as is often true with those faithful to God, when one door closes, another opens.  Another priest who paid her a visit out of sheer curiosity stayed on as her confessor for the remaining 22 years of her life.

Blessed Maria had a penchant for animals, especially cats. Legend has it they paid no attention to the occupants of the birdcage at her bedside and one was said to bring her cheese when she wasn’t feeling well.

Blessed Maria was also deeply spiritual.  She obtained permission to have Mass said daily in her room.  As is often the case with mystics, once word began to spread about her visions her little room also became a destination for people seeking spiritual advice and counsel. 

Blessed Maria died of natural causes on May 28, 1577, was buried at the convent of St. Mary of the Angels in Florence Italy, and is among the incorruptible Holy Saints of the Church whose bodies remain miraculously preserved after death. 

Memorial:  May 28th

Patron of: Loss of parents, sick people, victims of abuse

Blessed Maria Bagnesi, pray for us!

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