January 29, 2018

St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti, Franciscan Saint

Saint Hyacintha of Mariscotti

Feast Day – January 30th 

Often, the stories of the saints inspire by showing us, not so much the holiness they eventually attained, but the very human obstacles they overcame to get there. Saint Hyacintha of Mariscotti is one such example; although indulging in a luxurious, spoiled existence — even in the midst of convent life — God found a way to soften her heart and reform her ways, so that it was her humility and penitential heart that eventually inspired those who lived with her.

Hyacintha was an Italian nun of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. She was born in 1585 near Viterbo, Italy, and entered the Convent of St. Benardine after her hopes for marriage did not come to pass. For ten years, however, she virtually ignored her vows, using her family’s wealth to provide herself with rich foods and luxurious clothes. It was only when a serious illness forced her confessor to bring Communion to her in her cell that he observed her manner of life; he advised her most strongly to cease what she was doing and cultivate a life of virtue instead. Inspired by his words, Hyacintha changed completely.

She was once asked her opinion of a nun renowned for her holiness. She answered, “First of all I should like to know how greatly she is detached from creatures, humble and free from self-will… The sort of people who most appeal to me are those who are despised, who are devoid of selflove and who have little sensible consolation. The cross, to suffer, to persevere bravely in spite of the lack of all sweetness and relish in prayer. This is the true sign of the spirit of God.”

By the time she died at age 55 in 1640, she had become a model of humble service to others and an inspiration to all. She was was beatified by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726 and canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII, who stated that through her selfless love she had, “converted more souls than many preachers of her time.” St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti's incorrupt remains are displayed for veneration in the church of the now-defunct monastery, bearing her name.

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